HOW IMPORTANT/POPULAR ARE CLEAR BRACES AND ALIGNERS?
"Both traditional brackets and wires, as an orthodontic treatment option, as well as the removable clear aligner option play important roles in orthodontics. Regarding the time-tested brackets and wires, no longer does it have to be an all-metal setup. Materials science has improved the manufacturing of clear ceramic brackets where the actual brackets can be made as small and comfortable as regular metal brackets while still being adequately strong enough to withstand the rigors of tooth movement. These brackets don't stain or change colors.
Brush and floss to remove plaque, and they'll remain virtually invisible and quite pleasant. They're so advanced, we offer this option as the best for those interested in obtaining excellent esthetic and functional results. The clear, traditional method is still the most efficient and cost-effective way to get the best results. These brackets are the esthetic answer to what clear aligners are trying to be: invisible.
Clear aligners have their place as well. This treatment is popular for those not interested in fighting the clean-up battle, and are responsible enough to actually wear aligners of their own free will and choice (about 22 hours per day).
Having an actual specialist in orthodontics to create and carry out the plan will ensure better results because the principles of esthetics and sound tooth movement don’t change just because it’s not braces. After a digital scan of the teeth, specialized software is used to align teeth virtually using sound biomechanical principles of tooth movement. With good treatment planning and a dedication to excellence, clear aligners can work quite nicely."
WHAT IMPROVEMENTS ARE BEING MADE IN DENTAL IMPLANTS?
"Dental implants are used for a variety of purposes in dentistry such as to support a replacement tooth or a full set of teeth. They're also used as an anchor device to support orthodontic tooth movement. Some are even designed to be removed after use for orthodontics. Refinements in the implant design properties are ever-improving.
What's important is that implants are chosen by the team based on the implant company’s research-verified quality of materials and availability of prosthetic options to restore teeth in different ways. As a prosthodontist, I work with specialists in that area to place implants where I need them according to the treatment plan. I then design and place teeth supported by implants."
WHAT STRIDES ARE IN DENTAL 3D PRINTING?
"3D printing is the modern way to create teeth models used for preparing restorations such as crowns, custom brackets and wires, or clear aligners. After creating a high-resolution intraoral scan of the teeth, the prosthetic teeth or appliances can be designed and printed in various materials. Advances are in the availability of better software to design, such as by allowing visualizations of a smile design.
Other improvements are in the speed and accuracy of the printed models. We use this technology in our practice in conjunction with the labs that fabricate components designed for each patient. Lingual, or tongue-side orthodontic treatment, for example, is based on 3D scanning and modeling."
WHAT ROLE DO MINIMALLY INVASIVE TECHNIQUES PLAY IN YOUR PRACTICE?
"We educate patients constantly about elements of pleasing smiles: 1) Teeth are in the right place within the framework of lips; 2) Gum lines are symmetrical, even, firm and expose the full length of the crown for best proportion; and 3) White teeth. Achieving all of this can be 'minimally invasive.' Orthodontics should be considered to get teeth in the right position. Next, any cleanup of un-esthetic gums should be addressed; this could require minor laser contouring, which is painless for the most part. Lastly, tooth whitening can really make the smile pop."
WHAT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE-DRIVEN TECHNIQUES OR DIAGNOSTICS WILL SHAPE FUTURE ORTHODONTICS?
"During our complimentary orthodontic exam, I evaluate patients' smiles and take a number of teeth measurements. I dictate a rather cryptic code of numbers and obscure words to my treatment coordinator who puts them in the computer. I often joke with patients that with all of that code, the computer will now tell me what to do.
It turns out it really isn’t a joke after all. There are promising applications for AI in orthodontics, particularly in time savings. AI in daily clinical routines can be used as a quality-control procedure. It will probably not, however, be able to replace the artistic component and professional experience of human experts."
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF ORTHODONTICS LOOK LIKE, ESPECIALLY IN PERSONALIZED TREATMENT PLANS?
"The future of orthodontics is in using modern tools to diagnose and treatment plan orthodontic care. These ever-improving tools allow for the upfront designing of more accurate appliances such as custom brackets and robotically bent wires, and better software and materials for aligning teeth with clear aligners. All of this improves patients' treatment experiences. Better tools allow for faster treatment in a shorter period of time, with more precise outcomes."
WHAT ELSE SHOULD LIFESTYLE READERS KNOW?
"Although treatment times are reduced and results are better, there's much more to it than that. If you get through braces or a complex treatment plan, and all you got was straight teeth, then I'd have to say we've failed. We want to educate you, get to know you, and be friends. We really listen to each patient's concerns, and closely look at teeth and smiles so we don’t miss anything. We want patients' experience with us to be money, time and effort well-spent."
3595 S. Custer Road #200, McKinney
IS ORTHODONTICS FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES?
"It’s nice to get the job done early in life to reap the benefits of functionally well-aligned teeth and fantastic smiles. But it's not too late if you didn’t have the chance as a youngster.
In many adult cases, it’s best to have orthodontics first as part of a comprehensive plan to replace missing teeth. Most adults have some wear on their teeth, which detracts from a youthful smile.
Orthodontics, in conjunction with a well-conceived restorative plan, can create a smile that turns the clock back 20 years. We’ve treated people from 8 years old to 80 plus years."