SureSmile® technology is a method of orthodontic treatment, where a robot customizes your archwire to adjust the force that your braces apply to your teeth. In most cases, it is the orthodontist that manually bends it. Once the wire is inserted, your teeth will move accurately into their desired positions.
How Is SureSmile® Different?
Other orthodontic methods rely on X-rays and plaster molds, as are used in traditional braces. When designing a treatment plan for traditional braces, the orthodontist develops a treatment plan using two-dimensional images and a model of the teeth made from dental impressions.
Your orthodontist then applies the brackets and wires to your teeth, after which your progression is frequently checked. These frequent checks are essential for correct fine-tuning to ensure that your teeth end up in their ideal locations. The orthodontist will manually bend and reshape the archwires to facilitate proper tooth movement.
SureSmile® employs a 3D computer monitoring system that takes more precise pictures of your teeth, allowing your orthodontist to plan the most efficient series of movements. In fact, the precision is improved so significantly that the number of necessary visits to the orthodontist is greatly reduced.
How SureSmile® Works
SureSmile® works in three general steps. While that may seem simple, it is actually a very complex process. It is designed to unfold in a patient-specific manner that improves the experience in braces and will most quickly lead to the perfect smile you have always wanted.
The scanning procedure is the beginning of your SureSmile® treatment. SureSmile creates a 3D computer model of your teeth with the OraScanner (a handheld, scanning device) and, or Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT).
This type of scan allows your orthodontist to better analyze the orientation and position of your teeth and their roots. Every angle inside your mouth becomes visible. This alerts the orthodontist to any potential issues with bone, teeth, nerves and soft tissue.
The ability to view these different angles are only present when taking a 3D X-ray/ CBCT. 2D rays (panoramic and cephalometric X-rays) limit the number of views available for treatment planning. This is why a 3D X-ray is vital for the accuracy and precision needed when treatment planning a SureSmile® case.
SureSmile® provides a virtual simulation that your doctor can use to plan your treatment with the utmost accuracy, and show you exactly how your teeth will progress throughout treatment. You’ll know exactly what outcome to expect, which can ease a lot of the anxiety you may naturally be feeling about this process.
Robots Go To Work
Once your treatment plan is determined, SureSmile® technology directs a robot to bend a shape memory alloy archwire to your customized prescription. Shape Memory Alloy archwires are made by heating metal to more than 1000°F during the robotic customization process. These “smart” wires retain your individual prescription and are activated by your own body heat.
Faster Treatment Time
SureSmile® patients spend less time in treatment—with SureSmile working up to 34% faster than traditional braces! They also make fewer visits to their orthodontist. A benefit any patient will appreciate.
You may have heard, correctly, that there is no way to truly accelerate tooth movement. Doing so either means that your teeth will not be perfectly placed, or, even worse, that a dangerous level of force could permanently damage your teeth or gums.
So how is that SureSmile® can promise that many of its patients will wear braces for a shorter-than-average treatment time? The answer is—efficiency.
SureSmile® does NOT actually move teeth faster than those treated by traditional brackets and wires. The reason you do not need to wear them as long is that the robotic technology can plan the shortest and most accurate path of tooth movement. The robots’ capabilities simply exceed those of the human hand. (Their accuracy is at 1/10 of a millimeter. Not even the most skilled surgeon could beat that.)
Patients receiving treatment with SureSmile® often report less pain and discomfort than do traditional orthodontic patients. Because most of the soreness comes from an adjustment to the wires, the fewer adjustments that SureSmile requires often leads to a more comfortable overall experience in braces. Most patients report that, when quickly returning to an efficient hygiene routine, care of the teeth and gums is easier as well.
Is My Orthodontist Involved?
While the robotic technology allows for more efficient tooth movement than any hand-crafted archwire, it is not on automatic pilot.
It is important to note that your orthodontist is still very much involved. They will still oversee your care while using this method of treatment.The SureSmile® software also allows your orthodontist to continually evaluate your treatment and make adjustments if necessary.
Additionally, the software helps your clinician to see a better, more complete picture of your mouth and to use the technology to map your treatment.
In fact, the material from which the archwires are made isn’t all that new. Orthodontists were not previously able to shape archwires as precisely because of the high temperature required for bending the alloy. Robotic hands are able to bend the hot material into customized prescriptions.
Is SureSmile® for Everyone?
Most patients will be candidates for SureSmile®. However, we can never guarantee that any one method of treatment will be ideal for anyone. It’s important to schedule a consultation at one of our nine convenient locations around Baltimore in order for one of our orthodontists to assess your clinical objectives and individualized treatment needs.
Also, the cost of treatment can depend on the complexity and unique circumstances of your case, this also will allow the opportunity to assess cost factors and receive a price estimate which is customized to your financial needs by one of our treatment coordinators. At your $25 consultation, you will also know what your insurance will pay towards treatment (if applicable), and learn more about what treatment looks like at our office.
At Orthodontic Associates, we are often are presented with new products and treatment methods, and must carefully evaluate their merit and potential benefit to patients. Because we have treated many cases with SureSmile®, we trust that it is a viable alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment, and encourage patients to consult with one of our professionals about this treatment method.