During my last 20 years in orthodontics, one thing is true – technology has changed the way I organize my life and my patients’ treatment. We are now years deep into the digital age and its significant impact on our lives. But digital technology, like any other advancement in society, should be used for more than the sheer joy of trying something new. It should enhance our lives and make us more productive – with fewer variables to hamper our day-to-day existence. With that said, the extent to which technology helps us is only limited by the imagination and discipline of its user.
It is a tool, not a toy!
This same expectation holds true for the use of digital technology in lingual orthodontic (hidden braces) treatment.
In my world of lingual orthodontic treatment, we have used intraoral scans of our patients’ teeth for a number of years. By transferring those scanned files for use in CAD-CAM (computer-aided design or computer-aided manufacturing) software systems for customized tooth alignment and brace placement set-ups, we can more accurately place your lingual braces in optimized positions for each tooth. This gives us a better probability of more consistent results in a shorter treatment time. These advanced systems cannot, however, replace the orthodontic specialist’s need to properly diagnosis and a develop a treatment plan with the patient, to achieve the optimized result. Nor, can the systems replace the expertise needed during treatment to navigate the individual physiological hurdles we see during orthodontic care.
We are, after all, caring for humans, not machines.
Thus, like a road trip, we can have a well-planned journey from start to the destination but must be prepared to deal with detours along the way.
When I assess whether a new technology is something I should introduce into my practice, I always begin by asking if it will provide a significant benefit to my patients’ experience. This digital technology is very much like a race car. It has all the potential to win a race but it still requires a skilled driver to manage its use. Make sure to check the credentials and results of the driver, and don’t get too smitten with the technology on its own.
Call or email us today to see this and other differences that we provide our patients at Team Orthodontics. Reach out to our Ahwatukee orthodontist office or our Gilbert orthodontist office and we’ll do our best to help you out with all your orthodontic needs.
Written by Dr. Ken Danyluk, Orthodontist at Team Orthodontics