It wasn’t too long ago when patients wanting to straighten their teeth had to wear bulky, old-fashioned braces for a long time. Ever since the Invisalign transformed orthodontic treatment in 1999, advanced technology has continued to improve the patient experience. Here are some of the most exciting innovations in orthodontics in recent years.
While this technology had already been proliferating for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic made virtual consults an essential tool to help patients start treatment safely. While not a complete replacement for in-person exams, patients can get treatment recommendations and a quote for each option simply by securely sending photos of their teeth to an orthodontist.
Virtual consults continue to be a convenient, no-pressure way to learn about the treatments available for you or your child. There is no need to schedule an appointment, and many practices offer them for free. In most cases, you can also opt to meet with the orthodontist virtually if you have any questions about the information. Once you decide you want to start treatment, you’ll schedule an in-person appointment to get x-rays and digital images taken.
The Invisalign Clear Aligner System is already convenient, and the recent innovation of Dental Monitoring makes this treatment option even more appealing. While Invisalign offers the freedom of being able to eat your favorite foods while you straighten your teeth, you will still need to make it to your checkup appointments.
However, with Dental Monitoring, you can reduce the number of times you need to see your orthodontist in person. The app allows you to complete some of your checkups virtually by sending photos of your teeth to your orthodontist, who will let you know if you are ready to move on to your next set of trays.
Innovative technology is now being used to improve every stage of the orthodontic process, including the initial exam. In order to fully assess a patient interested in orthodontic treatment, orthodontists need to gather impressions of the patient’s teeth.
The old method of gathering impressions involved using an unpleasant putty material the patient would have to keep in their mouth for about five minutes. Oftentimes, the person giving the exam would have to redo the impressions due to the difficulty of having a patient keep their jaws still long enough without gagging.
Now, orthodontists prefer the iTero scanner. Instead of any putty being used, orthodontists can complete a digital scan of the jaw that takes about one minute and delivers real-time images. Not only is this process quicker and more pleasant, it is also more accurate.
For patients who need braces to get their best smile, custom braces have come to the rescue. Using cutting-edge 3D printing technology, custom braces provide a precise fit for patients, resulting in superior comfort and better results. The custom fit also means this form of braces is able to move teeth more efficiently, resulting in a reduced need for checkups and a shorter treatment time. The reduced number of checkups, along with the shorter appointment times, offsets the price of the new technology, meaning custom braces cost no more than conventional braces.
To learn more about the latest orthodontic technology being used at our office and to see if orthodontic treatment is right for you, contact Milnor Orthodontics today!