Accelerated orthodontic treatment
A typical Orthodontic treatment (e.g. Dental brace), takes 12-36 months but often takes longer than predicted. The treatment time depends on the distances the teeth need to be moved, the type of brackets used and the style of care offered by the dentist.
Self-ligating brackets are a more complex attachment that accelerates treatment and reduces discomfort. The simple selection of this style of bracket can reduce treatment times by approximately 30% but due to the higher cost of this technology they are not used as much as one would expect. Another way to reduce treatment time is to reduce the size of the teeth by gently polishing the surfaces to reduce the width of the individual teeth, as opposed to the previously common choice of extracting teeth when space was required. Combining all the techniques available to reduce treatment time has been trademarked as "High Speed Braces".
In straight-wire treatment the orthodontist or dentist bonds braces on the teeth and aligns them with a special wire. As the treatment advances the dentist or orthodontist changes the wire from flexible to more rigid, finally aligning the teeth to a very firm arch form.
In many cases fine tuning and adjustments near the end of the treatment are made using wire bending or changing the location of brackets (re-bonding). The minor corrections are referred to as "finishing" techniques and vary with the cosmetic and bite philosophy of the practitioner. "Cosmetic" orthodontics may correct significant aesthetic concerns quite rapidly, sometimes within a few months.
An extreme form of accelerated orthodontics involves the surgical loosening of the individual teeth and the associated bone. The braces then actually relocate the individual tooth-bone units and completes the treatment in the shortest time possible.
Some companies claim to speed up the treatment using a computer system to plan the location of the brackets on each tooth. This can also be achieved without the use of a computer if the practitioner is experienced in the process of bracket placement. Due to individual tooth variations it is impossible to completely delegate this task to a computer model.
Another important factor that can help speed treatment is the choice of dental appliances, including the possible consideration of TAD's (temporary anchorage devices). The advances in orthodontics are helping to reduce treatment time and eliminate the need for the unsightly headgear appliances that have been used in the past.