September 20, 2021
The technology which can be used in orthodontic treatment has progressed at an amazing pace since the first stainless steel braces were introduced in the 1950's. Today, there are much more sophisticated imaging techniques which can be used to pinpoint oral conditions and issues, and the types of braces themselves are far more diverse and different than they were in the past. Nowadays, the effectiveness of orthodontics and the patient comfort are at much higher levels, all thanks to some of the latest precision technology which has been developed.
Digital X-Rays and 3D imaging are much more detailed today than were X-Rays and imaging of the past, and this allows dentists to have a much clearer picture of the mouth and everything inside. There's also something to be said for the immediate availability of digital X-Rays, as opposed to having to wait for them to be developed. This can make the whole process more streamlined and quicker. New imagery can take a 360-degree look at the mouth and create 3D images of a patient's teeth, all while exposing the patient to considerably less radiation.
Something like lingual braces have been made much more effective by robotic wire-bending technology, coupled with CAD/CAM. When used with a digital scanner it can be much easier to emplace wires and brackets in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. This specialty was once limited to dental professionals who had practiced the technique often, and had made it one of their featured services. Now, with the emergence of wire-bending technology, it can literally be performed by any skilled orthodontist who has the equipment on hand.
These aligners have literally changed the business of orthodontists forever, because they have made it much easier for appearance-conscious individuals to have their teeth straightened without having a mouth full of metal. The old metal braces, brackets, and wires have all been banished in the Invisalign system, and only clear plastic aligners are used in their place. These aligners are practically invisible in the mouth, and can be removed at meal times and for brushing and flossing, thereby making them much more comfortable for the wearer.
These types of braces are primarily used to improve the appearance of a person's smile, not necessarily to re-position and correct teeth which are grossly misaligned in the mouth. The big appeal of six-month smile braces is that they only need to be worn for approximately six months, rather than the traditional two years required by metal braces, or even the 18 months necessary for Invisalign. Like Invisalign, they are clear plastic aligners which can be removed from the mouth when necessary.
These kinds of wires have proven to be more effective than stainless steel wires in a system of braces, because they respond better to the heat inside the mouth. This allows them to tighten better when braces are installed, resulting in fewer appointments for a patient, because less tightening is needed. Nickel or copper-titanium wires are capable of bending and tightening in response to oral temperatures, which means they are more natural inside the mouth, and that requires less intervention by the orthodontist.