Accelerated Orthodontics: Can You Get Your Braces Off Faster?
Just about everyone desires straight teeth, for health, self-confidence, and many other reasons. However, most people aren’t sure it’s worth the pain, discomfort, and risk of traditional orthodontics. Accelerated orthodontics treatment is faster, discomfort doesn’t last as long, and the risk is reduced.
Key Takeaways: Accelerated Orthodontics
- Accelerated orthodontics are intended to speed up traditional methods.
- Orthodontic treatment can increase the risk of cavities, infection, and more.
- Shortening treatment duration reduces the risk of orthodontic treatment.
- Accelerated techniques include both surgical and non-surgical techniques.
- Non-surgical techniques include micro-vibration, electrical current, medications, and more.
- Surgical treatments ‘damage’ bone around teeth for accelerated tooth movement.
- More evidence is needed to show a benefit from accelerated orthodontics.
What Are Accelerated Orthodontics?
Accelerated orthodontics demonstrates a range of techniques to shorten orthodontic treatment time. Treatments like traditional braces use slow and continual application of mechanical pressure to pull crooked teeth into the correct place. The pressure to move, called orthodontic force, is resisted by the bone surrounding the tooth, with extremely slow tooth movement as the result.
The process requires bone to separate before the tooth and regrow behind it, as orthodontic forces trigger a variety of biological processes. Accelerated orthodontics uses both surgical and non-surgical techniques with the goal of accelerated tooth movement.
Slow and Steady Takes Forever
Accelerated orthodontics solves a number of problems that can be caused by undergoing active orthodontic therapy. Having straight teeth can offer several advantages, both in health and life generally.
Not only do straighter teeth make it easier to maintain dental health, but it will also improve facial aesthetics. However, the treatment can cause problems like cavities and infections.
Accelerated orthodontics reduces those risks. One common method is micro-vibration, which is essentially shaking your teeth into place . One of the more aggressive options involves something called the regional acceleratory phenomenon (RAP).
RAP involves oral surgery. The biologic process resulting from bone damage speeds breaking down of damaged tissue and rebuilding of healthy bone. In the midst of that bone remodeling, it’s easier for teeth to move. Therefore, by ‘damaging’ jaw bone in specific ways, the wound healing pattern will speed orthodontic treatment.
There is some question whether these techniques make a significant difference to treatment duration. They are generally recent developments and more study on their effectiveness is required .
Types of Accelerated Orthodontics
Most techniques in accelerated orthodontics are designed to speed existing orthodontic treatment. Similar treatments may be available to traditional orthodontic patients, with treatment duration being the difference. Therefore, accelerated orthodontics also includes surgical and non-surgical methods.
Non-surgical options are less invasive, so it’s possible patients at your local practice undergo accelerated orthodontics already. Surgical options may require an oral surgeon already familiar with accelerated methods.
Some methods of accelerating orthodontic forces include periodontal oral surgery. These are not major surgical procedures and require no more than local anesthesia. Some involve incisions to the gums and the bone beneath, requiring the input of a gum specialist. Both upper and lower jaws may be targeted. Common methods include:
- Micro-osteoperforations (MOPs): A minimally invasive option, small holes are made alongside target teeth using screws.
- Piezocision: Incisions down to the bone are made into the gums, followed by further small cuts in the bone by piezocision for maximal surgical precision.
- Corticotomies: Like piezocision, but a flap of gum tissue is lifted away to allow selective vertical scratching on the jaw bone, as well as using additional bone graft material to create spacers.
One major disadvantage of these surgical options is that activated tooth-supporting bone only allows for faster movement briefly, at most a few months. At that point, the no-longer-activated bone surrounding targeted teeth has to be treated again.
Even minor oral surgery may seem extreme to shorten orthodontics treatment. Luckily, not every accelerated orthodontics option includes scalpels. Some may not even require a trip to the orthodontist’s office. The best results occur when employing advanced orthodontics combined with traditional clinical procedures. Other non-surgical options include:
- Low-intensity laser treatment.
- Direct electrical currents.
- Limited orthodontics.
One common method of coming across orthodontics accelerated is micro-vibration. AcceleDent is one popular brand among several similar devices. This method of moving teeth involves combining orthodontic force with different forms of vibration to shorten treatment time. Evidence for the method’s effectiveness is mixed.
One of the most commonly used tools in traditional orthodontics is braces. While there are several varieties, traditional braces use brackets bonded to teeth and stiff wires to push and pull teeth into position. Wearing braces may be used with other techniques to shorten treatment duration, or might be used on their own in an approach called limited orthodontics.
With that approach, shorter treatment times are achieved through two general approaches:
- Deleting some aspects of a more complete treatment.
- Ending treatment sooner in the process.
Techniques are generally limited to what can be done with an in-office procedure. Of course, a limited approach only addresses issues that can be solved with basic orthodonture.
Wearing braces can be embarrassing as it’s hard to miss a mouth full of metal. Ceramic braces use tooth-colored brackets and translucent wires to make them harder to spot . They have a similar treatment duration.
Lingual braces are fixed to the inside of teeth instead of the outside. They can be ceramic or metal, and are used most often with the lower, front teeth.
Treatment time for metal braces can vary depending on the severity of malocclusion, the aggressiveness of the treatment, and a variety of other factors. Minor malocclusions of upper and lower jaws might be corrected in about 17 months .
What Are the Benefits of Accelerated Orthodontics?
As the name implies, the benefits of accelerated orthodontics are generally due to shorter treatment duration. Not only does that reduce the discomfort of orthodontic treatments, but it also reduces the risk of side effects.
Orthodontic treatment can often increase the risk of cavities and infections . Braces and other appliances create small holes that are hard to clean properly. As a result, bacteria multiply, leading to enamel erosion, gum disease, and more. Simply having an appliance in your mouth for a shorter period reduces the odds of all those problems.
One thing to note is that accelerated orthodontics is not a braces alternative, as these techniques speed up the effects of traditional orthodontics. You’ll still need to wear braces to straighten teeth.
Are Accelerated Orthodontics Safe?
The safety of accelerated orthodontics depends on the methods used. Limited orthodontics, for example, comes only with the standard risks. Some medications may have dangerous side effects . However, methods like vibration, laser treatment, and electric current all have a relatively low risk.
Surgical techniques obviously come with greater risks. Surgical accelerated orthodontic treatment takes aggressive steps to speed tooth movement, with associated risks of pain, infection, reaction to drugs, etc.
Alternatives to Accelerated Orthodontics
One alternative to accelerated orthodontics is clear aligners, sometimes called fast braces. A form of limited orthodontics, they are a braces alternative that don’t require an orthodontist appointment.
Find out more about our favorite clear aligners in our Byte Aligners review.
Here are some simple answers to common questions on accelerated orthodontics.
There are a range of techniques that may have differing effects, so it’s difficult to give an accurate time frame. In fact, these techniques may not make a significant difference.
Clear aligner treatment, sometimes called fast braces, is advertised to be much cheaper than traditional braces, between $1800 and $2200. While it may seem expensive, it’s a fraction of traditional braces cost.
Fast braces can make a difference, particularly for minor malocclusions. If you have a more serious issue, you may have to wear braces to address it. Find out more in our AlignerCo review.
The idea behind accelerated orthodontics is great. Shorter treatments mean discomfort doesn’t last as long and risk is reduced. However, it’s important to weigh risks and advantages. The recovery from some treatments may not be worth shortening treatment by a month or two.
- Aljabaa, Aljazi, et al. “Effects of Vibrational Devices on Orthodontic Tooth Movement: A Systematic Review.” American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Mosby, 24 Nov. 2018, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889540618306978.
- Miles, P. “Accelerated Orthodontic Treatment ‐ What’s the Evidence?” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 14 Mar. 2017, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/adj.12477.
- Swartz, Michael L. “Ceramic Brackets.” JCO Online, Feb. 1988, https://www.jco-online.com/archive/1988/02/82-ceramic-brackets/.
- Buschang, Peter H., et al. “Comparative Time Efficiency of Aligner Therapy and Conventional Edgewise Braces.” The Angle Orthodontist, Allen Press, 1 May 2014, https://meridian.allenpress.com/angle-orthodontist/article/84/3/391/58505/Comparative-time-efficiency-of-aligner-therapy-and.
- Hadler-Olsen, Sigurd, et al. “The Incidence of Caries and White Spot Lesions in Orthodontically Treated Adolescents with a Comprehensive Caries Prophylactic Regimen.” Academic.oup.com, Oct. 2012, https://academic.oup.com/ejo/article/34/5/633/550033.
- Shenava, Shailesh, et al. Accelerated Orthodontics – A Review. Feb. 2014, http://asnanportal.com/images/Orthodontics/Accelerated_Orthodontics.pdf.