Big changes in orthodontic technology do not happen often. In the early days, to move teeth effectively, stainless steel bands were cemented on individual teeth. This causes much pain as separating procedures for individual teeth need to be done before the bands can be fitted. Heavy stainless steel wires were used to move teeth which exert high force. This also causes much pain. Almost 50% of the tooth is covered by the metal band and it looks rather ugly. Patients have been called “Metal Mouth”.
The first revolution in modern day orthodontics started in the mid 1970s when direct bonded brackets were first introduced. These brackets were bonded directly to teeth without using ugly metal bands. Pain was eliminated when bonding was used as no separating procedures were needed. However, due to the weak bonding material available, bonded brackets were not use for the molar teeth. Cemented metal bands were still used on molar teeth.
The second revolution in modern day orthodontics happened in the late 1970s. Memory elastic wires made of nickel titanium were introduced. This technology was borrowed from NASA where such wires were used in the making of satellites. These memory wires were able to move teeth for months without changing. They exert light force and cause less pain.
During the period 1980s and 1990s great improvement in orthodontic technology was not seen. However, there were two improvements. Bonding materials were improved and the molar teeth can now be bonded instead of using the metal band. The elastic nickel titanium wire has gone super elastic. These super elastics wires can move teeth over a much longer period and they exert very light forces.
Since the beginning of 2000, there has been a tremendous change in orthodontic technology. It was a big leap forward. It began with the introduction of a completely new type of bracket. These braces (Damon Brackets) offers low force and low friction technology. With the combine use of these new brackets with super elastic nickel titanium wires and modern bonding materials, teeth can be moved much faster and with much reduced pain. Many cases where removal of teeth was once needed, they can now be treated without removal of teeth. A full and wider “Hollywood Smile” can be achieved in a much shorter time. An interesting feature of these brackets is they are made of half metal and half composite material. They look much better than metal brackets.