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Posted: 3:02 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7, 2011

Dentists now using 3D imaging to reduce time in braces

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It seems I spent my whole youth wearing braces. Yuck! There may be a better way for future generations with teeth that need to be straightened.

I read a recent story in The Washington Post about a breakthrough technology in orthodontics. This new technology allows a dentist to use 3D imaging of a patient's mouth when installing braces.

The technology, being sold under the trade name Sure Smile, can reduce the time spent in braces by 40%. If you just have mild straightening issues, you might save only 30% of the time that would otherwise be required.

Only several hundred dentists across the country are trained in the use of Sure Smile at this point. So the cost of the care is about 10% more than it would be with traditional braces. Visit the website above to find a Sure Smile trained dentist near you.

As I mentioned, I spent most of my youth smiling at people through shiny braces. And I grew up in the era of headgear and those rubber bands that attached from the top to the bottom!

One final thought. I'd better start preparing for the Clark Stinks posts. Anytime I talk about this kind of stuff, I get a big pushback from dentists saying I'm out of my league and not qualified to discuss these issues. They're right. I’m a layperson and can only understand this stuff as a layperson. But I welcome the idea of continuous improvement coming to the field of orthodontics thanks to new technology.

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