Braces have gone high tech - July 7, 2017

Braces have gone high tech

Just like the music industry has gone digital, so, too, has the dental field. But unlike music, where playing vinyl records still may be alluring for some, there is no reason to go back to old dental technology.

I take pride in staying at the forefront of technology, as it translates to many advantages for my patients.

My iTero Element intraoral scanner enables me to take a 3D digital scan of the patient's teeth and bite, make adjustments in real time and transmit the file digitally for processing. I use it mostly to send scans to Invisalign to make custom aligner trays. Instead of a two-step process, where you have to take an impression of the mouth and then scan the impression, I can do it now in one step, which results in a better fit of the aligners. 

In addition to using it for Invisalign, I use it to make other appliances as well. And since I also have a 3D printer, I can scan the mouth and have a digital record rather than taking an impression and reproducing the mouth in plaster. In my practice, I also have a portable Trios scanner and Sirona Omnicam, so we are set up to be as digital as possible. As a result, when I do an initial exam, I have models to show patients and parents, so they can see immediately where the teeth are worn down, how the teeth fit and if there are mismatched teeth. I also can do immediate simulation using the iTero scanner to show patients what their teeth would look like if they were straighter. This way the patient participates more in designing how the their smile will look by showing, for example, how they would look with a wider smile. 

With digital dental technology, it makes it easier to share information and easier to manipulate the treatment plan, as well as helping to educate patients. As a beta developer for some of these companies, a manufacturer consultant and guest lecturer at dental conferences, I am well versed in the latest technology, which translates into the best care for my patients.