What might the future of orthodontics look like? 

The field of orthodontics is constantly evolving, and advancements in technology, tools and treatment options are providing a positive insight as to what’s to come. 

So, what might the future of orthodontics look like? And what can you, as patients and parents, expect? Read on to find out about some of the possibilities.  

What does the future of orthodontics look like?   

While we can’t predict the future, there are some orthodontic practices that are likely to be a feature in the years to come – like a greater reliance on technology, artificial intelligence and better, more personalised treatment options.  

Technology has already enabled orthodontists to provide patients with more efficient, accurate and holistic treatment – something that will only increase as time continues and advancements develop.  

But before we jump into what orthodontics might look like in the future, it’s important to look back at how far we’ve come.  

What is the history of orthodontics?  

As an industry, we’ve taken some big steps since braces were first invented in the 1800s – from 3D scans to clear aligner treatment.  

But did you know, forms of orthodontic treatment like braces have been around for millennia – as far back as the ancient Romans, Egyptians and Greek? However, modern braces weren’t invented until 1819 when Frenchman Christophe-Francois Delabarre designed a precursor to the typical metal devices we know today. 

Clear aligners are an even more recent feature, first becoming available in the year 2000. There’s more on the history of orthodontics on our website. 

What orthodontic technology already exists?   

There’s already lots of orthodontic technology out there – helping perfect patient smiles and ensure the best treatment is established. Some of the most common technology currently used by orthodontists includes:  

  • 3D scanning and printing – uses light to accurately scan and reproduce a copy of your teeth and jaws.  
  • 3D X-rays – beams clear and detailed images of your teeth and jaws back to a computer system where they can be assessed and manipulated to create a patient-specific course of treatment. 
  • Virtual monitoring – conducted over a computer or smartphone, using video conferencing or specific apps.  This is becoming more and more common across the orthodontics profession and is enabling orthodontists to check in on a patients’ progress remotely, in between in-person consultations. 

For more information, check out this article about how technology has changed orthodontics.  

How will this technology advance in the future?   

Like most technology, ongoing updates and developments in engineering and manufacturing practises mean future advancements aren’t just likely, they’re inevitable.  

And with an ever-growing base of scientific research, there’s a constant stream of information to advance the way orthodontists work, what the industry best practise is and the way in which such technology is used.  

But while technology and automation will help with precision and efficiency, it won’t replace the value of a trained, specialist orthodontist, who can think critically and consider a patient’s exact needs, as well their wants.  

Will orthodontic treatment be quicker?  

Yes! Orthodontic treatment is becoming quicker, easier and less invasive. The evolution of technology is enabling orthodontists to provide treatment for patients in a safe and timely manner. And this will only get better in years to come – making for more efficient treatment and recovery timeframes.  

Will orthodontic treatment be cheaper?   

Most likely. As orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligner treatment, becomes even more precise, it’s likely some of the associated costs will become less.  

This will, in part, be thanks to advancements in technology which will help streamline everything from diagnosis to the manufacturing of implants and devices. This means you’ll get what you need, in the most efficient way.   

Is treatment changing or advancing?  

Orthodontic treatment is changing and advancing at a rapid pace. With lots of ongoing research into industry best practise, peer-reviewed studies and other findings providing orthodontists with expert insight and analysis into the most effective ways to treat patients. 

This, together with investments in technology, will ensure there are lots of exciting, consumer-benefitting changes to come in the future. 

What about virtual monitoring and appointments?  

Virtual monitoring and online appointments have become commonplace across much of the medical industry thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. And the good news is, they’re here to stay. While a virtual appointment will never replace an in-person adjustment, or the quality of a physical consultation, they can be a great way for your orthodontist to keep up to date with your treatment or provide instructions, if needed.  

The capability of virtual monitoring, including things like purpose-built apps for orthodontics, is also likely to become more advanced in the future and allow for better surveillance – a win for you, and your orthodontist.  

So, there you have it! There’s lots of exciting things to look forward to when it comes to the future of orthodontic treatment. And while it can be a big and sometimes daunting investment, orthodontic treatment can help give you or your child a happy, healthy smile and the confidence they need to.   

And remember, whatever your needs, it’s best to consult a trusted, specialist orthodontist who can help determine the best course of treatment. For more information, you can visit our Cost Hub or search for your specialist orthodontist here.   

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