Are you imagining a fortune teller with a headscarf and large hoop earrings circling her hands around a cloudy globe while reciting dental incantations? I wish my information had the same mystique, but I think you will find it interesting, nevertheless!
Instead, picture yourself going to see an orthodontist to consult about a concern you have about your/your children's smile. You wonder what will that future smile look like. How will your teeth fit together?
Fortunately, with the advent of digital technology, it is possible to "capture" a computerized 3-dimensional image of your teeth. The image is accurate to a fraction of a millimeter, and can be viewed from all imaginable angles. Then, using sophisticated software, the teeth can be repositioned in ways that occur during orthodontic treatment to produce a highly accurate 3-D image of how the final smile alignment and bite will appear.
This technology is currently available for treatment of patients wearing fixed braces, or removable braces (such as Invisalign). For patients who require or chose to wear braces, a technology known as Suresmile is used to create such treatment simulations. The beauty of this technology lies not only in the ability to envision a future outcome of treatment, but for the orthodontist, the ability to try out several computerized treatment options to see how the final result will look. More complicated orthodontic problems are best handled this way to give the doctor and patient the confidence to know that the best of all possible plans have been worked out on the computer before recommending treatment to his/her patient. This also helps the orthodontist collaborate with your general dentist in visualizing your treatment possibilities. This is especially valuable in cases where additional cosmetic dentistry needs to follow your orthodontic care.
Suresmile technology allows the orthodontist to record an image of the teeth (once braces are on) and then set their final alignment using the computer. Then, the software instructs a robot to create a custom made series of orthodontic wires that gently and precisely move your teeth to their final target destinations. This has been shown to reduce treatment time by 30%! Teeth aren't moving faster; they are moving more accurately.
For patients who have Invisalign treatment, the orthodontist can direct the simulation of treatment by ordering the creation of a sequence of aligners designed to move your teeth just a little bit at a time. Viewing it on a computer is like viewing time lapsed photography. (See Feb. 1's Blog for more information on Invisalign.
For more information on how today's digital technology can provide a valuable pretreatment simulation for you and otherwise contribute to state of the art orthodontic treatment, visit my website (www.braceace.com) for more information on Suresmile and Invisalign Treatment.
For questions and comments, please respond to this post. Your feedback is always welcome!