“Good things come to those who wait” or maybe not thanks to the recent emergence of auxiliary products and minor surgical procedures used to shorten orthodontic treatment time.
One main issue in choosing to straighten your smile with braces or Invisalign is the time commitment needed to finish orthodontic treatment. This can sometimes lead patients, (especially adults) to avoid treatment altogether, or opt for a “quick fix” like implants or veneers. However, these options are not the optimal choice for most patients and can cost tens of thousands of dollars compared to a braces or Invisalign treatment plan option.
There are many factors that contribute to the rate of tooth movement in orthodontics. Environment, genetics, type of treatment, type of malocclusion, and patient compliance are just a few. The rate of tooth movement is controlled by the rate of bone resorption and repair, which is in turn controlled by osteoclast activity, which is the bone regeneration on the cellular level. The biologic response to orthodontic forces imposed by brackets and wires or Invisalign trays initiate bone remodeling on the cellular level , which then result in orthodontic tooth movement.
Auxiliary devices are a simple, complimentary, removable and non-invasive appliance that patients wear in the mouth every day. It applies gentle pulsating forces to the dentition and accelerates tooth movement by stimulating a biological response of bone.
The micro-pulses encourage bone growth and cellular turnover in the remodeling process, therefore increasing the speed in which a tooth moves and responds to the forces being placed. Clinical studies show that the “type” of treatment between metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, self-ligating brackets or clear aligner treatment has no effect on the speed of treatment when used with an auxiliary device.
Two major competitors in today’s market for accelerated orthodontics are Propel’s VPro5 and OrthoAccel’s Acceledent systems. They both offer easy to use, gentle micro-pulse technology which the patient “wears” for 5-20 minutes per day depending on which device you choose.
Because the teeth will shift quickly, one drawback for braces patients are more frequent visits for adjustments. Invisalign patients simply switch out their set of aligner for a new one more frequently and don’t require more visits to the orthodontist.
Clinical studies show that treatment time is increased by 30% to 50% or more by using accelerated orthodontic devices. The science applies to both youth and adults however, may be more enticing for adults to us an adjunct to their treatment since the rate of tooth movement for adults is slow compared to adolescents because their metabolism is much slower.
Pain is a common side effect of orthodontic treatment. It is a complex experience that involves multiple variants and is influenced by individual “pain tolerance,” and other factors such as age, gender, and amount of force applied. As a surprising and welcome side-effect to using micro-pulse devices along with braces treatment is a significant decrease in the pain associated with orthodontic treatment. Studies have shown that vibration effectively reduces pain originating from teeth or the surrounding tissues.
A risk associated with orthodontic treatment in general is root resorption. Very minor to severe root resorption can be an unavoidable consequence of orthodontic treatment. This can be related to genetic predisposition and orthodontic mechanical factors. Low-intensity pulsed treatment has shown a significantly less total volume of resorption in patients compared to control group.
Osteogenic orthodontics is the creation of micro-osteoperforations (very small dimples) made in the cortical plate (outside edge of the bone surrounding the teeth) using a surgical-grade, stainless steel driver (about the size of a small screwdriver). It is an outpatient procedure provided at our regular orthodontic visit. This dental displacement method reduces the time needed to permanently move teeth into optimal position.
Cortectomy procedures are well-documented and results in significant acceleration of treatment outcomes which are often produced in 6-9 months as opposed to the control group of 18-24 months (on average,) without the use of cortical perforation therapy.
There is very little discomfort or recovery time for the patient and is fairly non-invasive. There are one to three dimples created around the teeth to be activated. The result is a complex set of cellular events similar to micro-pulse therapy, but on steroids; figuratively speaking.
If this accelerated orthodontic technology convinces you to get braces or Invisalign for you or your child, then it might be worth the investment! Getting braces or Invisalign treatment and correcting your bite and alignment has a lifelong impact on self-esteem and dental health.
Recent results of micro-pulse treatment in our own practice here in Spokane, Washington: