The future of cosmetic orthodontics

The term ‘cosmetic orthodontics’ covers 98 per cent of cases a GP will face when asked by patients about orthodontic options. The vast majority are adults who just want straight teeth. They present to you as having either crooked teeth, spacing between the teeth, protruding teeth, or perhaps an overbite.

Our solution to that problem is Smilefast. The Smilefast system is a short-term cosmetic orthodontic system for adults which involves clear braces and clear aesthetic wires which are worn for about six to nine months to significantly improve the alignment of the teeth.

It is designed to break down the barriers we normally have for conventional orthodontic therapy, which are time, appearance, and cost. In six to nine months, we can align the teeth very efficiently. The key is we use clear brackets and wires, which perform very efficient tooth movements. The cost is about 70 per cent or less of the cost of a two-year, traditional treatment with a specialist orthodontist.

What options are available for cosmetic orthodontics?

It’s different to other aligner products in the market such as the mouthguard system used by Invisalign, or the Inman Aligner (which are two popular aligner systems on the market).

Other therapies offer a wonderful aesthetic product. However, the types of tooth movement that can be achieved is not always predictable or comprehensive. It’s very difficult sometimes to extrude, tip, and rotate certain teeth, which creates real issues with the predictability of the tooth movement.

The treatment time can last two to three years because of the problems with the predictability of the tooth movement, and the cost is usually significantly greater than a short-term orthodontic system.

The Inman Aligner, for example, is very basic and can only move the four front teeth either backwards and forwards. It can do some minimal twisting but it’s quite limited in its movement. It’s very bulky, and therefore very uncomfortable for the patients. It’s a pre-prosthetic appliance; you can achieve some movements, but you’re still going to need the veneers on the teeth afterwards.

What can’t be treated with short-term orthodontics?

So, the real question is, what cases can’t a GP treat with the Smilefast system? It’s best for our doctors to avoid treating the really difficult cases, at least in the early stages. An example might be Class III malocclusions, where the lower teeth are in front of the upper teeth, or if they have what we call an anterior open bite where there’s no overlap of the upper and lower teeth.

In the advanced stages of Smilefast training, we touch on which type of Class III patients or which type of open bite patients one can treat. The Smilefast system also provides you with the tools to treat most of those patients as well, but it’s not the type of problem you can tackle immediately after the two-day training.

Beyond the basics

In the more advanced training, you can learn how to position brackets differently; how you can use different elastics to help correct problems; and the different types of wires that can be utilised in order to deal with more  complex cases.

The philosophy behind the degree of training and support is critical because we want to make sure the doctors feel comfortable in treating their cases. The tools are only as good as the practitioner wielding them, and if you want to get the most out of the system for your patients, it makes sense to learn the ropes.

We are there basically to hold their hand, at each visit if necessary. Through our online portal, the doctor can load any photographs of each visit. They can also load notes and we would reply and respond at each visit. We’re also there to call on the telephone at any time, and we offer in-house office consultations as well.