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The Current Orthodontic Topics You Should Know

Jun 22, 2008
iBraces, developed by LingualCare, are invisible braces that are made of customized metal brackets placed behind the teeth, instead of in front of teeth as in regular braces. Each bracket is custom-made from impressions of your teeth, which are then scanned into a computer and CAD/CAM models are made. What's great about iBraces are that they cannot be seen, do not get in the way of your speech, need fewer visits to your orthodontist and take a shorter treatment time. It's also perfect for athletes and musicians who play wind instruments. Costs fall within the $8,000 to $10,000 range and can be prohibitive. Consult your orthodontist for the best options for you.

Wisdom teeth, commonly called third molars, are the last of the permanent teeth to come out around one's late teens or early 20s. They are at the back of the mouth, which is why they often become impacted. Impacted teeth are teeth that cannot be pushed out from the gums and are therefore do not emerge or in dental lingo, are unerupted. Because of overcrowding in the jaw, impacted teeth and become tilted and displaced, though it stays completely or partially embedded in the gums. Many people have impacted wisdom teeth, but are not aware of it when it does not cause pain.

When debris and bacteria are trapped between the crown of the wisdom tooth and the gum, the peridontal tissues become infected, leading to periconitis. This is evidenced by swelling and pain of the cheek and lymph nodes, fever and bad breath. Dental caries may also develop because of the plaque buildup in the area between the around the impacted tooth, which is difficult to clean. The root of the adjacent tooth may also be affected and cysts may also develop. If any of these occur, the impacted wisdom tooth should be pulled out before any orthodontic treatment, radiotherapy or jawbone reconstruction surgery. Extraction is usually surgical because of the position of the teeth. In many cases, all four wisdom teeth are removed. This may be done all at once, or by pairs, either the bottom and upper halves or by side.

Eruption Guidance Appliances are molded polyurethane devices intended to guide teeth into the right positions as they erupt, typically in patients 8 to 12 years old. They can be effective in the short term for patients to whom they are recommended by orthodontists, when worn correctly. However, as the Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO) warns, it is not yet clear whether these are effective in the long-term and that such appliances will not necessarily eliminate the need for braces later. The ASO says that Eruption Guidance Appliances cannot treat all orthodontic problems and that braces are still more effective.

Can you imagine sensors like this in each of your teeth? If all goes as planned, that is how the braces of the future will be like. The Institute of Microsystem Technology (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg has been developing smart brackets to address the need for monitoring movement of teeth. Smart brackets are orthodontic brackets with a microchip fitted with stress sensors that measure the forces applied to the bracket. Researchers have been working on the size of the stress sensor chip and its wireless energy and data transmission capabilities so that it can applied to the patient.
About the Author
Jon Caldwell is a professional content manager. Much of his articles can be found at http://latestorthodontics.com
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