Dr. Van Haywood is a nationally known expert on tooth whitening currently on the faculty at the College of Dental Medicine, University of Georgia. With over 20 years of experience both in research and clinically on patients, his opinions with respect to which products and techniques work best should be of interest to those considering tooth whitening. Before beginning any such procedure, he recommends a complete dental exam by a dentist complete with radiographs (x-rays) so a diagnosis of the cause of discoloration can be made and pathology ruled out.
While most people have heard that dental implants can be used to permanently replace missing teeth, another emerging and related class of implants known as Tempoary Anchorage Devices (TAD's) have made their way into orthodontic technology. These devices are essentially lag screws, which can be placed in suitable bone almost anywhere in the jaws on a temporary basis for the purpose of providing a stable point (anchorage) against which teeth can be moved in a particular direction during orthodontic treatment.
Ziman Orthodontics is skeptical of new technologies that focus more on marketing ploys than on actual, stable, high quality results. Insignia, for example, provides customized brackets and wires instead of standardized materials. Dr. David Sarver is an author of several orthodontic textbooks, an adjunct professor in Orthodontics at the University of North Carolina and Chapel Hill, and is in private practice in Alabama. He has "seen no data proving [Insignia] greatly reduces treatment time." Increased efficiency and speed of treatment are sometimes cited as being among the benefits of such digital technology. Dr. Sarver "lament[s] the recent emphasis on speed of treatment over quality" and while he has data in his office that does "reflect less average treatment time," he has "not really analyzed it statistically" and is therefore "reluctant to say that treatment time has been reduced." Dr. Sarver is selective in which case types are recommended for Insignia therapy, acknowledges its higher cost, and is generally supportive of its use as a marketing tool directed towards dentists and patients desiring an individualized rather than a "one size fits all" approach.
Having attended their seminar presentation, here are my impressions of this potentially game changing technology: -Using digital recreations of the teeth with the braces placed and transmitting it over the Internet to their lab, robots shape the wires to be placed in the braces in such a way as to achieve the doctors prescription for the position of each tooth. This methodology is said to produce extremely accurate results, expedite and thereby shorten the duration of treatment and potentially decrease discomfort and root resorption sometimes associated with conventional braces. Only internal company data is available to date analyzing patient outcomes which purport to support these claims. We heard two practitioners with a great deal of clinical experience support these claims. It is important to note that to the best of my knowledge, controlled studies in an academic environment have not been published to support their claims. Further, the data has not been segregated by case type and therefore on an individual basis, may not be predictive of the outcome with reference to the claims made about this technique.