SureSmile is a type of braces used by orthodontists to straighten teeth. With SureSmile the orthodontist combines 3-D imaging, treatment planning software and a robot to create the wires. The technique is reported in ORTHODONTICS The Art and Practice of Dentofacial Enhancement to decrease the time required to complete orthodontic treatment by 34% and increase the precision of the results.
The orthodontists first take digital images of a patient’s mouth and teeth using either a white light scanner or cone beam computed tomography (CBCT). The 3D scanner transforms physical teeth into virtual teeth. The virtual model enables the orthodontist to visualize teeth not only from the front as with conventional orthodontics, but from all angles seeing roots, gums, things they never would have seen before without the imaging and software. Then as described on the Science Channel, with the software tools the orthodontist takes the teeth and individually aligns them into the proper position. Dr. Michael B. Stewart an orthodontist at Atlanta Orthodontic Specialists explained on Good Morning America that “[Orthodontists] have more control over how these teeth are moved than [they] ever had before.”
Once the orthodontist has virtually designed the smile and bite, SureSmile software plans the most efficient and direct route for moving teeth into the proper place and sends this information to a robot that bends and shapes the wires specifically for that patient. The wire with all of the custom bends is then sent back to the orthodontist ready to place on the patient.
- The treatment time is faster.While a tooth will move at the same rate regardless of the method used, the SureSmile system moves a tooth to its target position in the most efficient path due to the software’s ability to calculate concurrent tooth movements and the robot’s ability to bend the wire precisely to generate the prescribed movement.
- The patient only has 1-2 wire changes compared to many wire changes and/or adjustments with conventional braces. Unlike conventional treatment where the orthodontist manually bends a series of straight wires using pliers to move the teeth one-by-one into position, with SureSmile all the bends to move teeth are made in a niti (nickel titanium) shape-memory wire and when it is placed into the patient’s mouth—their body temperature activates those permanent bends to move teeth directly into place. The end result has a more precise result.
- SureSmile produces more precise results than traditional braces because of the software planning and the robot. Dr. Sammy Thabet of Germantown, MD, explains on CNN Health Minute with Sanjay Gupta, MD, “The [treatment planning software] is accurate to 1/10th of a millimeter. The robots are able to reproduce the accuracy with the wires, and that is something I cannot do by hand.”
- The initial scan is accurate to within 50 µm, and linear error is minimized to less than 0.1 mm per tooth. The creation of the archwires is accurate to within 1 mm, and 1˚. The bracket placement is accurate to within 25 µm, and in vivo bracket placement is accurate to within 1 mm.