I’ve been a practicing orthodontist for three decades and have helped more than 15,000 patients achieve beautiful smiles. Over the course of my career, the field of orthodontia has changed dramatically. New technologies are constantly making it faster and easier to create smiles that are both aesthetic and healthy.
The field of modern orthodontia has been innovating since the very beginning. Let’s look at a few of the technologies that have emerged in the last century.
While primitive orthodontic technologies have been found dating back thousands of years, our modern orthodontic techniques were being developed and fine-tuned in the early 1900s. Edward H. Angle is widely considered the “father of modern orthodontics,” and his research, leadership, and techniques separated orthodontia from dentistry.
Angle defined malocclusion, or the misalignment of the bite, and developed appliances for correction. In 1916, he introduced the first bracket system for moving teeth, a treatment method which continued to be developed and refined for the next few decades. Self-ligating braces, or braces that don’t require an elastic to attach the wire to the bracket, were introduced as early as 1935, though the technology we use today wasn’t patented until the 1990s.
In the 1970s, dental adhesives were developed, allowing brackets to be adhered directly to teeth rather than using wire to wrap each tooth. This, along with many other new materials and technologies, greatly increased the precision, comfort, and affordability of orthodontic treatment, and the field of orthodontia quickly expanded. Lingual braces, which are braces that are adhered to the backs of teeth, were also introduced during this decade.
While lingual braces achieved an “invisible” option, the industry continued to find new solutions for more discreet treatment methods. In the 1980s, ceramic (clear or tooth-colored) brackets were developed as an alternative to metal braces. One of today’s most popular choices for discreet orthodontic treatment, Invisalign, was invented in 1997 by Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth.
As you can see, we still use many of these technologies to treat patients today. There are so many different choices for orthodontic treatment because orthodontia is a field that is constantly improving and innovating. New technologies don’t replace older technologies completely; rather, they give patients the freedom to choose the method that’s best for their needs.
At my practice, Depew Orthodontics, we incorporate cutting-edge tech into patient treatment to give them the best possible results. Some of the advanced technologies we utilize include:
- 3-D imaging- Cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) allows us to see 3-D views of the teeth and roots, and the bones of the mouth.
- Intraoral scanners- These allow us to create digital impressions of teeth using a “magic wand.” That means no goop necessary to get impressions!
- 3-D printers- We use 3D printing to create models, retainers, and tooth aligners.
- Smile design software- This software helps us create precise treatment plans and shows patients how their teeth will move over the course of their treatment.
These combined with the orthodontic treatments that have been developed over the last century provide patients with the best results possible. Don’t settle for outdated orthodontics – find an orthodontist that harnesses the power of cutting edge technology to give you the smile you’ve always wanted.