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Straight Teeth Fast!

By Dr Elissa Freer

Have you noticed that everyone is in a hurry these days? Most people are time poor and want instant service and fast results. It is natural then that fast orthodontic treatments sound very appealing. But is so called “fast orthodontics” a reality?

There has been lots of marketing and sales hype for devices and treatments to reduce the duration of orthodontic treatment. Some of these include vibrational devices, special low friction braces and even small surgical perforations of bone. It pays to be sceptical of quick-fix marketing claims as these are likely to do little more than relieve you of your hard-earned money. Fortunately, orthodontists - who spend an extra 3 years of full-time supervised university training on top of their dentistry degree, are experts in the biology of tooth movement. The process of tooth movement starts at a cellular level in response to pressure on the teeth from braces, plates or aligners. Time is needed to initiate the cascade of biological processes that must occur for teeth to move initially and also time to respond physiologically to each adjustment as treatment progresses. There are optimal forces for tooth movement to occur and lighter forces can produce the most efficient rate of tooth movement. Certain conditions and medications can increase or decrease the rate of tooth movement, so it is important to let your orthodontist know if you are taking any medications and also if you are pregnant.

In short, quick treatment times in orthodontics (for example 6 months) may be sufficient to align the teeth but are unlikely to address any bite issues. Your orthodontist can discuss with you your treatment alternatives of comprehensive, intermediate or shorter courses of orthodontic treatment and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can make an informed choice that suits you.