SureSmile is a new type of brace that makes use of recent technological developments. These include three-dimensional imaging techniques in the design of the braces and software that plans the course of treatment. In addition, the wires in SureSmile braces are manufactured to the orthodontist’s custom specifications by a robot. SureSmile braces also received a significant update in 2012.
The design of SureSmile braces begins a computed tomography scan that uses white light or a cone beam. This CT scan provides a three-dimensional model that allows the orthodontist to view the teeth from any desired angle. This is a dramatic improvement over a two-dimensional image that only provides a view from one angle.
The orthodontist designs the desired bite and smile for the patient from the CT scan. The SureSmile software then calculates the most efficient treatment plan for achieving this placement of the patient’s teeth. This software plans the placement of each tooth to an accuracy of 0.1 millimeter. The software also sends the treatment plan to a manufacturing facility, allowing a robot to make braces in the proper shape. The manufacturing facility then sends the braces to the orthodontist.
The primary advantage of SureSmile braces over traditional braces is that SureSmile braces move the teeth more efficiently. Teeth typically move at the rate of about 1 millimeter per month with either method, but the greater efficiency of SureSmile braces means they requires less time, usually about 40 percent of the treatment time for traditional braces.
SureSmile braces typically require only one or two wire changes. This is much less than traditional braces, which require the orthodontist to bend the wires into place with pliers. The wires in SureSmile braces are made from a nickel-titanium alloy known as memory metal. This alloy bends in response to the patient’s body heat, which positions the teeth more precisely than ordinary metal wire.
The latest version of the SureSmile software is 6.0, which was released in March 2012. This version has the most significant changes since it received FDA approval in 2000. Previous versions required orthodontists to estimate the effect of the treatment on the positions of the tooth roots. SureSmile 6.0 now allows orthodontists to see the positions of the tooth roots within their sockets. This version also provides orthodontists with interactive data models, giving them a greater ability to work with oral surgeons on restorative procedures.