Invisible braces make teeth realignment comfortable
Published : 2013-02-21 19:56
Updated : 2013-02-21 19:56
Incognito, the latest development in lingual aligners, allows patients to straighten their teeth with minimum discomfort.
Unlike conventional braces, aligners are fitted on the back of the patient’s teeth, which makes them virtually invisible from the outside. For this reason, lingual aligners are favored by those who do not want their appearance to be altered by a visible metal device attached to their teeth.
For Incognito, doctors use computer aided design and manufacturing to make a 3-D image of the patient’s teeth arrangement. The image is sent to 3M Unitek in Germany, which creates a set of customized hidden aligners for the patient.
Conventional mass-produced aligners come in one size and shape. Thus, they tend not to fit the user’s teeth very well and require adhesive to be affixed properly. In addition, each bracket for an individual tooth is large, which hinders the patient’s diction and makes it difficult to brush one’s teeth well.
On the other hand, custom-made Incognito braces are modeled after the owner’s teeth. Therefore, each bracket is broader and thinner, and fits the contours of each tooth, which allows it to stay on properly. The bracket hook is also only one-third the size of a conventional hook, and does not interfere with the patient’s pronunciation or brushing. The aligners are made of gold, which reduces irritation in the mouth. For these reasons, experts say that Incognito is widely preferred among celebrities, teachers, announcers and working individuals in their 30s and 40s, for whom appearance and fluent communication are important.
According to Dr. Hur Jae-sik, an orthodontist at the S-Plant Dental Hospital in Seoul, Incognito braces must be set by an experienced expert.
“Incognito can realign most malocclusion in a shorter period of time. However, it is still a very new technology that requires specific treatment plans and projections, so it is important that patients find an experienced Incognito Certified Orthodontist,” says the doctor, who himself holds an IncognitoTM certification.
Invisalign is another aesthetic method of straightening teeth. Invisalign is a custom-made, transparent plastic mouthpiece produced by Align Technology, Inc., a global medical device company in the United States. To make each mouthpiece, the orthodontist analyzes the shape and potential movement of the patient’s teeth using a special program called Clincheck. The data is used to produce aligners in the U.S.
When a patient wears the aligners, they gradually and gently shift the teeth into place, based on the precise movements the doctor has prescribed. As the device is a removable mouthpiece, it does not include any brackets to attach nor wires to tighten. To keep up with the teeth movement, the doctor administers a new mouthpiece every two weeks.
Being made of virtually transparent plastic, Invisalign causes little discomfort to the wearer, unlike conventional metal brackets. As aligners are easily removed, eating and brushing are also unproblematic.
For adults, treatment time typically takes a year, though the period differs among patients. For teens, treatment time is comparable to conventional braces, but improvements are noticed much more quickly as there are no metal brackets covering the teeth. Experts concur that for timely outcome, the patient must wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day.
Like Incognito, Invisalign must be prepared by an experienced orthodontist, added Dr. Hur.
“Adults favor Invisalign as it can be taken in and out, but the doctor needs to make exact treatment plans and accurately project the movement of the teeth. Therefore, the process should be administered by a certified Invisalign expert,” said the Seoul National University and University of the Pacific alum Dr. Hur, who has been certified by Invisalign and holds a U.S. orthodontics qualification.
Dr. Hur also speaks fluent English, and regularly provides medical treatment to international clients.
By Lee Sang-ju (firstname.lastname@example.org)