The new face of orthodontics

30 November 2023

Stuart Clark discusses integrating new technologies into your workflow.

Stuart Clark discusses integrating new technologies into your workflow.

Modern orthodontics has witnessed a revival – patients are more widely saying ‘yes’ to treatment, no longer put off by the common misconceptions surrounding treatment.

The development and finessing of digital technologies and systems have made the orthodontic field more dynamic – and treatment possibilities more diverse. Complications are always a possibility, but modern advancements have aided in reducing the risks, making treatment much more straightforward. Digital imaging modalities, for example, promote clarity, precision, and patient safety and satisfaction – clinicians can deliver extraordinary outcomes to their patients supported by state-of-the-art systems.

A booming field

Many clinicians deliver orthodontics in their dental practice, as this treatment option has become vastly popular among the population. A survey by the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) found that, among its members, 80 per cent saw an increase in private adult treatment compared to the previous year. The figures highlighted that these patients are often female and between the ages of 26-40 – but male orthodontic patients are on the rise, and many children/teenagers still undergo orthodontic treatment (around 200,000 NHS patients in England and Wales each year).

As such, clinicians are likely to encounter many different patient needs and requirements, so a tailored approach is required to ensure only the most optimal outcome is achieved each time. Modern systems and equipment, such as cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scanners, facilitate more successful treatment due to their design, which favours improved diagnostics, clarity and precision. It is worth considering how such investments could enhance your orthodontic workflow, helping you boost case acceptance, successful outcomes, and practice profitability.

A new and improved workflow

Compared to a computerised tomography (CT) scan, research has found that the images produced by a CBCT are sharper, which aids in gaining a comprehensive craniofacial picture. Perhaps one of the most common indications for the use of a CBCT scan is in the case of impactions, whereby CBCT scans allow clinicians to visualise the impacted area in 3D, in addition to evaluating the roots of the impacted tooth and those of the neighbouring teeth. Similarly, the risk of reduced alveolar bone density can be limited: both CT and CBCT scans are used to evaluate changes in bone density, although the latter emits a lower dose of radiation. Researchers have noted that due to this, CBCT scanners can be “used for continually monitoring a patient’s condition during orthodontic treatment”.

Paediatric patients are especially sensitive to radiation, due to their smaller size and so the use of CBCT should always be considered and justified. Recent findings noted that the most common use of CBCT scanning in paediatric patients was for localisation of unerupted teeth in the anterior maxilla and also the detection of root resorption; utilising a reduced field-of-view has been postulated as a means of facilitating radiation safety when treating younger patients.

Modern CBCT scanner models have options for multiple FOVs, which allow clinicians to treat younger patients without a high radiation dosage. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable. This is a guiding principle for radiation safety, comprising of three basic protective measures: time, distance and shielding. Following this guidance can help clinicians reduce the dose of the scanner and thus provide orthodontic treatment that is safe and effective.

Choosing the right product for your practice

CBCT scanners have become more widely adopted in practice, so the models available vary in ability. It is important that when investing in a system, you must choose the model that suits the needs of your practice and will offer you the capabilities that will best complement your workflow. For instance, the Axeos 2D/3D specialist system, from Clark Dental, is their top of the range CBCT system, with the largest FOV options on the market. With the 3D Low Dose mode, clinicians can scan with remarkably high visibility, even at a low radiation dose, for a wide range of indications, including orthodontics. Clinicians can also invest in the Orthophos S unit, with multiple volume sizes and dose options and safe patient positioning. Both systems are based on the ALARA principles – so, you can safely treat patients with innovative technology.

CBCT scanners are one such example of a high-grade system that has transformed how dental treatment is delivered – they are an investment that enables safe treatment while maximising clinical outcomes. Orthodontic treatment will continue to be in high demand, whether due to functional or aesthetic reasons. Patient needs are constantly changing, and their expectations are higher than ever before – when supported by quality systems that blend seamlessly into your dental practice and workflow, you can meet and exceed all expectations.


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