How many times do you think I have heard that sigh? Sometimes it is a soon as the next appointment after getting braces installed, but sooner or later it is a guarantee comment even though we do our best to closely predict the best case scenario treatment time. If the time isn’t flying by, then apparently I’m the only one having fun.
We have written before on “hurry up orthodontics” regarding Propel, an interesting phenomenon of manual micro bone perforations between teeth to help them move faster. We numb the gums to where nothing is felt but pressure as I penetrate the gum with a very sharp hand drill to make tiny holes in the bone between teeth. It is an additional cost of a minimum $200 because the expendable equipment cost exactly that, but the procedure has made a difference with difficult tooth movements and shaving a few months off treatment. With an impending wedding or class reunion there is hope for finishing early.
A less invasive technology making orthodontic news is pulse vibration frequency technology. Sensitivity to specific ranges of vibration cause biological responses including reducing pain enhancing tooth movement and adding retention stability. Oddly, there is controversy over whether high frequency or low frequency vibrations give the best response, but there will always be controversy in scientific experiments designed to sell profitable products. There were a lot of light bulbs invented before one lit up the room long enough to read the newspaper.
Two vibration devices are currently available, one low the other high frequency, each claiming testimonials which so much of the public relies on for decision making these days instead of insisting on independent arm’s length controlled studies. One must be used for 20 continuous minutes daily and the other 5 minutes so like all things orthodontic patient compliance and cooperation dictate success. Pulse vibration may benefit teeth as it does sore muscles, aches and pains. The devices are bought separately from the orthodontic fee, not cheap and as with all things medically done to our body, there are responders and non-responders.
I grew up where the quarterback took time to make sure everybody in the huddle knew their assignments and routes before we lined up on offense. To hurry up just got you tired quicker in a game that always lasted 60 minutes. It is hard to know whether our teeth would rather move fast or slow or do we have fast teeth and slow teeth?
I don’t know how much longer- As Yogi Berra so accurately predicted: ‘It aint over till it’s over”