Accelerated orthodontics refers to a specialized dental process in which dentists work in conjunction with orthodontists and periodontists to achieve the results of traditional braces, but in a much shorter time. This is often accomplished by either contouring teeth to make them smaller, surgically altering the gums and bone, thus allowing other teeth to move into place more quickly, or both.
The advantage of accelerated orthodontics, especially for adults, is that desired changes in the shape and position of teeth can be accomplished in three to eight months, as opposed to the one to three years usually required for traditional braces. As with traditional orthodontics, several types of braces may be used once the teeth have been prepared for them using the specialized accelerated orthodontics techniques:
- Ceramic braces – Made of composite resin, these braces are strong and resistant to stains, and have the advantage of blending in with your natural teeth.
- Lingual braces – This type of braces are placed behind the teeth, and thus are often preferred by adults who don’t want to be seen as wearing braces.
- Metal braces – Made of metal, these braces are the strongest, and thus able to handle the pressures of even the most aggressive accelerated orthodontics. The drawback, of course, is that they are also the most visible.
Accelerated orthodontics is only practiced by dentists, orthodontists, and periodontists who have completed post graduate training in this specialty. The cost of accelerated orthodontics is thus about the same as traditional braces, because of the need for several of these specialists during the initial procedures.
What can you expect if you get accelerated orthodontics?
Accelerated orthodontics, if you are a candidate for it, starts with an in-depth analysis by a specialist trained in these procedures. Then the braces are applied. About a week later, oral surgery is performed to modify the gums and bones of the jaw to facilitate teeth moving to their new positions most quickly. This surgery is generally performed under local anesthesia, and causes about the same level of discomfort as a professional dental cleaning.
After the surgery has been completed, some patients feel an “itching” sensation for a time, because their teeth are moving more quickly than with traditional braces. As with any braces, periodic followup visits are required to measure progress and tighten elastic bands if used. Similar to standard orthodontics, you may need to wear a retainer for some time after treatment is completed, to make sure that your teeth stay in the proper positions.