Based on current trends in the orthodontics industry, we can make some predictions about where braces and other appliances are headed. Already in the last decade, braces, retainers, veneers, and more have become cheaper, lighter, more versatile, and easier to customize. For doctors, it makes treatments easier and makes them available to more people. For patients, it makes the entire process of receiving orthodontic treatment quicker and less painful.
Read on to learn about the current trends in orthodontics technology and where braces are heading in the next decade.
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The Power of Imaging
One of the major differences in braces technology is new imaging techniques and the conveniences they provide. One such technique is the use of cone-beam CT scans in orthodontic offices. These scans used to be incredibly advanced technology, unavailable to normal clinics. Orthodontists used conventional 2D X-rays instead to examine a patient’s teeth.
These X-rays only provided limited information about a patient’s oral structures. This gave doctors a limited ability to correct them.
With new scans, orthodontists can scan a patient’s head from multiple angles, capturing not only the teeth but the bones, ligaments, and even soft tissues in full 3D. The scans provide far more information, which in turn allows doctors to provide treatments more closely tailored to an individual patient’s needs.
In the future, this technology will become even more advanced and readily available, further personalizing each patient’s treatment to the needs of their unique oral structures.
Advances in Materials
Material advances have changed the way braces are built and used. In many ways, braces are no longer the appliances they used to be. They are now lighter and more effective thanks to advances in metal, plastic, and molding technologies.
Some of the biggest advancements have been in ceramics. Ceramic braces are now just as effective as conventional metal ones. They aren’t as cheap, but they provide a discreet treatment option, complete with color customization.
The metals used in conventional braces have developed in strength and effectiveness into the modern nickel and copper-titanium models. These metals bend naturally, adapt to temperature differences, and give doctors more control over their patients’ treatments.
Invisalign represents perhaps the most far-reaching advancement in orthodontic materials as it has provided patients with a whole new way to receive braces. Invisalign appliances, made from medical-grade acrylic molded to fit a patient’s teeth, provide discrete replacements for braces. They can be removed to eat or drink and have the allure of being nearly invisible the rest of the time.
Invisalign treatments are still pricier than conventional braces, but they are cheaper now than ever before. In the future, Invisalign will likely become even more affordable and advanced, allowing more patients to opt-in for a more convenient treatment option.
In addition to advances in current braces technology, orthodontics will likely see brand new technologies emerge in the next decade that make treatments even easier.
Metal appliances will likely continue to be phased out in favor of all-plastic and acrylic appliances. Clear braces will likely become the norm based on what we’ve already seen. Teens, businesspeople, and more have pushed for clear braces and made Invisalign the multi-billion-dollar investment that it is today. So it’s likely that all braces will be clear at a certain point, before possibly being replaced altogether by a new advancement.
This could take the form of technology that allows orthodontists to create a teeth-straightening program pre-emptively. This means they may be able to use infrared or laser technology to influence the growing process at the root or in the structure of the bones themselves. These new machines may allow doctors to straighten teeth before they come in crooked to begin with.
Those who can afford these treatments will experience fewer cavities and less risk of gum diseases throughout their lives. They will be younger patients than the current average, which is extending on the age scale in both directions. Not only is the industry likely to see younger patients as technologies develop that help them correct teeth as they come in, but more adults than ever have been seeking braces later in life.
As braces become even more affordable and discreet, the number of adults seeking treatment will likely continue to increase. Technologies won’t be the only thing advancing – patients will be advancing too!
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering braces, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.Schedule Appointment