When I got into my twenties, things with my teeth went horribly awry,” says Hampden resident Elizabeth Dickinson, whose misaligned bite led her to be fixed with a mouth full of metal this past October.
Dickinson, 42, wears trademarked Damon System braces, “tie-less” brackets that eliminate the need for rubber bands to affix the brace to the wire. The brand touts benefits like the faster movement of teeth, less friction and less pain. But don’t get it twisted, says Dickinson—they’re still braces.
“Hopefully, this time next year, they’ll be off,” she says, adding that the regular adjustment of her braces each five weeks leaves her aching temporarily.
More high-tech news to chew on: The FDA has approved AcceleDent, a mouth guard with a vibrating attachment, designed to work in concert with existing braces.
Using the device for 20 minutes a day has been clinically proven to move teeth up to 50 percent faster, and can make treatment more comfortable for those, like Dickinson, sensitive to tooth pain.
The patient bites down on the hands-free device as it sends micro-pulses of specifically calibrated and targeted vibrations directly to the teeth, essentially jiggling them along their orthodontic track and speeding up their movement.
“We’ve been treating a 15-year-old patient for six months with AcceleDent, and now he only has nine more to go,” says Dr. Mary C. Trahar, a Maryland-area orthodontist.
Fifteen months is a far cry from the days of yore when teens and adults faced years of (often achy) brace face.
One hygienist in Cockeysville, who wished to remain anonymous, advises patients to wait a decade before biting on any newly FDA-approved “miracle.”
“Also,” opines Dickinson, who considered a device similar to AcceleDent: “Never underestimate how annoying 20 daily minutes of head rattling could be!”
Published in the April 2016 issue of STYLE.