Can robots make orthodontic treatment more personal and precise even if those robots are thousands of miles away?
As the UK’s first orthodontic practice dedicated to lingual braces, we have treated around 250 patients in the past few years, and we’ve happily used the Suresmile software during that time. (We’ve written about it before too!). You may be interested to know that my clinic is one of only three in the world dedicated to using Suresmile for lingual braces.
How does it work?
Suresmile works by using robots to bend wires based on precise prescriptions sent by dentists to Suresmile HQ. Those headquarters are based in Houston, Texas, and Berlin, Germany, respectively. These prescriptions are precise down to a fraction of a millimetre, as treatment is planned based on 3D scans that are utilised by the software. I build up the 3D digital image of a patient’s teeth by using a small optical scanner that is just about the size of an electric toothbrush. Assisted by a mirror, the scanner takes thousands of pictures in just a few seconds, creating a digital record of the teeth. These are then integrated with x-rays and photos so that every dental detail is tracked.
Predicting the future
With digital technology, I can get so much detail that just wasn’t available in the past – from the moment treatment starts, I know how the teeth will move and what will happen at each stage. And I think that patients appreciate this software too, because I can explain to them exactly how brackets and wires will work, and the patient can more accurately visualise the smile that they will have at the end of their treatment. This gives the patient a great opportunity to truly play a part in the planning of their treatment.
Because of this unprecedented sharing of knowledge, it’s not uncommon for patients to ask for small variations as their treatment comes to a close. But this isn’t a problem. Being able to design custom made wires gives me the ability to finesse those final tooth movements to achieve exactly what the patient (or their referring dentist) want. The digital software gives me control, freedom and flexibility.
We’ve come a long way
A few weeks ago I was happy to host an event in our office to show off how the Suresmile robots do their magic. I hope that by sharing this information, more people recognize how far technology in dentistry has brought us. It really is a new world, and I’m happy to be a part of it.