Braces get a boost
A team of orthodontists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio hopes to speed up and improve orthodontic treatment using a new device called the AcceleDent.
Dubravko Pavlin, D.M.D., M.S.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Orthodontics at the Health Science Center, worked with a team of investigators from OrthoAccel Technologies Inc. of Houston to help develop the device.
His colleagues Ravikumar Anthony, B.D.S., M.D.S., M.S., clinical instructor of orthodontics, and Peter Gakunga, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., assistant professor of orthodontics at the Health Science Center, are now incorporating the device in an investigational study at the university.
Dr. Anthony is the lead investigator of this study, which is the largest study of its kind launched this spring.
Brent Tarver, vice president for clinical affairs and technology development at OrthoAccel, is optimistic about the research potential.
"We are excited about this particular investigation because we expect it could lead to U.S. regulatory approval," Tarver said.
"We're taking this same concept and applying it to the orthodontic process," Dr. Pavlin said. "Teeth are surrounded by alveolar bone and are held in place by periodontal ligaments and gum tissue. These respond to applied orthodontic force, which allows for movement of the teeth through the bone. We believe the application of cyclic loading (controlled vibrations) will not only increase the rate of tooth movement, but will also create a solid foundation of bone and adjacent tissues in the mouth and result in more stable outcomes for orthodontic treatment. This approach would allow us to treat patients using either standard metal braces or the plastic removable braces called Invisalign, and to treat more complicated cases with more stable outcomes."
The AcceleDent device, which could significantly shorten orthodontic treatment, will be available on a limited basis in the United Kingdom in late 2009. Representatives at OrthoAccel predict the AcceleDent will be marketed in the United States in late 2010.
To learn more about the study or services provided by the Orthodontic Clinic at the UT Health Science Center Dental School, call (210) 567-0072.
Top Image: OrthoAccel's latest model of the AcceleDent is expected to be marketed in the U.S. in late 2010. Dr. Dubravko Pavlin, associate professor of orthodontics, worked with a national team of investigators to help develop the device.
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