Orthodontic Technology: The Basics, Types, and Recent Advances

by | April 11, 2023

From traditional metal braces to clear aligners, the orthodontic industry has undergone a transformational journey. With more advanced treatment technology, the industry offers a better, faster, and more convenient experience for both patients and professionals alike.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of orthodontics, exploring the various treatment options available and the latest orthodontic technology trends that are reshaping the industry.

So, buckle up and get ready to explore the cutting-edge world of orthodontic technology!

What is Orthodontic Technology?

Orthodontic technology is a type of dental technology used to design dental appliances that help correct dental, bite, and jaw problems. Such problems are usually caused by various factors, like irregularly placed teeth, disproportionate jaw alignment, and poor oral habits.

The good news?

Orthodontic treatment can help fix these issues and prevent more serious dental problems from developing.

Next, let’s explore some of the main types of orthodontic technology available today.

6 Types of Modern Orthodontic Technology

Here are several types of modern orthodontic technology:

1. Braces

While braces have been around for almost 300 years, they are constantly improving, with new types of braces emerging on the market.

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal braces consist of metal brackets attached to each tooth. All brackets are connected with a wire. When the teeth need adjustment, the wire is tightened. This applies pressure to the teeth and moves them into the correct position gradually.

Fun fact: Did you know NASA originally created the wires used in such braces?

While these braces are very effective and used for various orthodontic problems, they’re quite noticeable and may not be the best option for more self-conscious patients.

Thank goodness for alternative brace options!

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are just as effective as traditional braces.

The downside?

They’re less durable, so often, they’re used in combination with metal braces. However, ceramic braces remain a popular option among patients who want a more discreet solution since their color blends with the color of their teeth.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth, facing your tongue. This makes them invisible from the front, so they’re another great option for patients who want discreet treatment.

The not-so-obvious disadvantage?

They’re more difficult to clean and may take longer to get used to.

2. Clear Aligners

This latest braces technology is increasing in popularity as it is a great alternative to braces. In 2022, its market size reached USD 6.29 billion and is expected to grow to over USD 46.3 billion by 2030.

So if you’re not ready to commit to braces, aligners are a great go-to option.

Their biggest advantage? They’re almost invisible when you wear them, so no one will even notice (unless they stare)!

Aligners are custom-made, clear plastic trays that are worn over the teeth. These plastic trays help move the teeth into the correct position over time. Orthodontists usually give patients a few sets of aligners to make gradual adjustments to the position of their teeth.

Clear aligners are also easy to remove, making them a convenient option for many patients who can’t get used to braces (as they often make brushing their teeth and eating some specific foods harder).

3. Digital Scanners & Impressions

Digital scanning allows orthodontists to create precise impressions of a patient’s teeth.

It’s also more convenient for both patients and orthodontists as it provides more accurate diagnosis, treatment planning, and progress monitoring.

Through digital scanners, professionals can produce retainers and aligners directly from their office, reducing the wait time and improving the collaboration between professionals as all scans are digitally transferred.

4. 3D Technology

While 3D technology is not new in the orthodontics world, it was not as accessible until recent years. This technology, in particular CBCT (cone beam computerized tomography), sterophotogrametry or 3D surface imaging systems, helps create custom orthodontic devices with more precision and faster delivery times.

3D scanning and imaging software also help create a more accurate image of your gums, teeth, and jaws, helping specialists evaluate better your dental needs.

5. Lasers

Lasers can be used on both soft and hard tissues (depending on the laser wavelength).

For example, intraoral lasers are used to contour the gum tissue to its right position, improving its appearance. As gums can sometimes cover erupting teeth, some lasers can also be used to enhance the accuracy of bracket placement.

Some other advantages of this technology include:

  • Better treatment efficacy
  • Alleviated orthodontic pain
  • Higher orthodontic treatment success

6. Digital Radiography

Radiographs have been used in the industry for decades to assess and diagnose orthodontic problems.

Digital radiography and 3D radiography help to:

  • Improve image processing
  • Reduce radiation
  • Provide more accurate assessment of various dental problems

(sources: worldcat.org, sciencedirect.com)

11 Latest Orthodontic Technology Advances in 2023

The orthodontic industry is developing rapidly. With a market size of USD 7.77 billion in 2022, the sector is projected to grow to USD 26.35 billion by 2029.

Orthodontic technology has rapidly advanced in recent years, and 2023 is no exception. Here are some of the new orthodontic technology advances to look out for:

1. Digital X-rays

The latest advancements in digital X-rays allow orthodontists to get a more detailed image of the structure of your teeth and mouth.

It also helps orthodontists review the image almost instantly so they can explain better to their patients their dental situation.

2. 3D Dental Imaging with CBCT

One of the latest trends in 3D imaging is the application of cone beam CT scanners. These scanners provide a detailed 360-degree overview of a patient’s jaw and oral structure. With such a precise scan, orthodontists can create custom braces for their patients, addressing their problems more efficiently.

This technology has become so advanced that it can detect cancerous formations and other dental conditions that would otherwise not be detected with regular x-rays.

3. Dental Monitoring with AI

Nobody likes waiting at the dentist’s office. It costs a lot of time, nerves, and money. But monitoring your treatment progress doesn’t have to be as painful, at least not anymore!

In 2023, AI technology can help you do your dental monitoring remotely. That’s right!

Some advanced AI-based solutions allow you to scan your mouth with your phone and send the images to your orthodontist.

4. Itero Scanners

Itero scanners allow orthodontists to scan a patient’s mouth in a matter of minutes. Besides being quick and easy, this scanning method is also completely pain-free.

Once the scan is complete, doctors can immediately send it to their lab so the braces, retainers, and aligners can be manufactured faster and more precisely.

5. Nickel and Copper-Titanium Wires

An increasing number of orthodontists have started to use nickel and copper-titanium wires instead of metal ones. That’s because these wires respond faster to the heat in the mouth and tighten better when the teeth shift naturally.

6. Self-ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are a new braces technology that uses a sliding mechanism to hold the wire in place, eliminating the need for elastic ties. Such braces are more comfortable and allow for more efficient tooth movement and fewer appointments for adjustments.

They’re also less visible than traditional braces, so they’re suitable for patients who want a more aesthetic treatment option.

7. Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)

Temporary anchorage devices are mini-screws made of titanium. They’re usually used in oral surgeries, but recently orthodontists have started using them to help anchor and shift more stubborn teeth.

Installing TADs is quick and pain-free. Once the teeth are aligned, TADs can be easily removed.

8. Robotic Wire Bending Technology

Robotic wire bending technology has become more advanced in recent years. In combination with CAD/CAM scanners, it can now create more precise wiring for lingual braces.

9. 4D Technology in Aligner Manufacturing

In the past year, studies found that 4D aligners can successfully correct the position of your teeth. 4D aligners are created using 3D printer technology and shape memory polymers.

What makes 4D aligners better than regular clear aligners?

The material they’re made of shows promise as a more environmentally friendly alternative to clear aligners and decreases the price of aligner treatment.

10. Custom Smile Design Software

Advanced software now helps orthodontists deliver the perfect smile customized to their patient’s facial structure.

The smile design software uses 3D images and dental impressions to show patients what their smile would look like based on their chosen treatment. It also helps orthodontists customize the treatment plan for each patient based on their individual needs and specifics.

11. Accelerated Orthodontics

Your patients want beautiful straight teeth but don’t have the patience for it?

Faster treatment is becoming a reality in 2023!

Accelerated orthodontics is a newer treatment approach that uses advanced technology (e.g., micro-osteoperforations and high-frequency vibration) to speed up the movement of teeth.

This technology can significantly reduce treatment time and is a good option for patients with busy schedules or those who want to see results faster.

Orthodontic Technology Advancements Summarized

Orthodontic technology has progressed tremendously in recent years, offering patients a wide range of treatment options to choose from.

The latest orthodontic technology advancements have taken orthodontic treatment to a whole new level of precision and efficiency. With 4D aligners, itero scanners, and accelerated orthodontics, patients can enjoy faster and more personalized treatment plans.

Whether you’re a patient or a practitioner, it’s an exciting time to be part of the world of orthodontics, with advanced technology and innovation paving the way for a brighter, healthier smile.

And if you’re an orthodontist searching for a cutting-edge software solution for your orthodontics practice, Scopic is here to help! We create modern, HIPAA-compliant software to bring your business to the next level. Contact us to learn how we can create custom orthodontic software tailored to your specific needs.

If you would like to start a project, feel free to contact us today.
You may also like
Have more questions?

Talk to us about what you’re looking for. We’ll share our knowledge and guide you on your journey.