Technology and Its Role in Orthodontics

When people think about technology, braces is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. Technology has driven many developments in our lifetime so far, from smartphones to augmented reality. But, did you also know technology has been playing a role in improving orthodontic treatments?

Technology plays a role in the braces treatment process right from the beginning during the patient assessment. Traditionally, a physical impression is taken of your teeth to create a mould. This was a process that many patients did not like, as it was uncomfortable and unpleasant. Fortunately, orthodontists can now improve the patient experience with the iTero Scanner. The iTero Scanner has a small camera built in that takes hundreds of pictures of your teeth. The software then produces a digital 3D impression of your mouth and teeth using these pictures, eliminating the need for a mould! This allows orthodontists to more accurately examine your teeth and identify the necessary treatment. More importantly, it creates a stress-free process for patients!

To address the literal pain point of braces, laser therapy has been adapted to minimize the pain that is frequently associated with orthodontic treatment. When your braces get tightened at each appointment, you tend to feel general soreness in your mouth. That’s because your teeth are being moved into a new direction. While this pain is a sign of being closer to perfect alignment, the pain itself is not enjoyable. Painkillers, such as Ibuprofen, are commonly used to manage discomfort, but can also slow down your teeth’s movement and prolong the treatment. A new alternative to pain management is Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT). LLLT has been used in the medical field for decades to reduce pain and promote healing. It uses low emitting lasers that is applied directly onto the area of discomfort, and has no systemic side effect to your body. LLLT can be used in conjunction with the initial appliance placement and regular adjustment appointments throughout the whole braces treatment; a 5-10 minutes sessions is all it takes to effectively reduce the pain and discomfort!

When you take a step back and think about what the goal of braces are, it’s to move teeth into a straight and healthy alignment. We talked about the science behind braces and how the bone changes around your teeth to allow for tooth movement. Building on that, devices like PropelVPro5 and Propel Excellerator have entered the market to offer accelerated orthodontic treatments. These tools work by increasing the blood flow and stimulating the turnover of the bone around your teeth. Studies have proven these procedures can significantly reduce treatment time and encourage certain movements that would otherwise be too difficult to achieve without these tools.

Thanks to these new options, you can think of braces as wearable technology. The treatment process is now more effective and efficient than we ever thought possible, making your braces experience that much better!

Dr Wang

Dr. Wang, DDS, MSc, FRCD(C)


Orthodontic specialist, founder of PacificWest Dental Group. Helping people get the perfect smile since 1994!

Dr Kevin

Dr. Kevin Lee, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)


Specialist in Orthodontics, UBC alumni. Love helping patients get a beautiful smile. Part-time clinical instructor at UBC. 

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