While mothers and kids often dread the appointment with the orthodontist to install braces, much of this comes from the belief that they are uncomfortable or painful. Admittedly, this was true when modern tooth-straightening devices were first developed in the 19th century. Even over the last decade, advances in orthodontics have made orthodontic appliances more comfortable and reduced the number of necessary adjustments.
One of the most interesting orthodontic advances actually comes from NASA.
NASA has contributed to advances in many consumer products thanks to its space research, including memory foam mattresses, radial tires, and LED lights. Their research has also improved the comfort of orthodontics. After orthodontic appliances are installed, they require routine adjustments to the wires to make sure teeth are moving correctly and to correct kinks in the wires. These adjustments can cause mouth tenderness for a day or so and they can be challenging to fit into a busy schedule.
Thanks to specially designed wires made from NASA material, fewer adjustment visits are necessary. The technology behind these wires came about when researchers at NASA found themselves in need of a material that could withstand intense heat during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. While attempting to make this material, scientists combined nickel and titanium to create Nitrinol, a very flexible material with flexibility activated by exposure to heat.
These wires are actually activated by a patient’s body heat and adjust in the mouth rather than requiring manual adjustments every month. The space-age wires can even maintain their pre-set shape to move teeth to the correct alignment. With Nitinol, orthodontic wires can shift teeth and move them without kinking or binding like regular wires for fewer adjustments and more comfort.
Schedule an Appointment Today
In Minnesota, you can schedule an appointment at McDermott Orthodontics to learn more about Damon, metal or clear braces. Dr. Michael MeDermott provides treatments for his patients at these locations:
• Delano – 763-972-4444
• Brainerd – 218-829-1630
• Pequot Lakes – 218-568-5600
• Baxter – 218-829-1630
Our orthodontist can also create customized Invisalign aligners for teenagers or adults, and a treatment with modern orthodontic devices is easier and more comfortable than wearing a flat piece of metal that is fastened to your teeth with thread.
Orthodontic Fact #7: Some dental wires used in dental braces are activated by body heat and were developed by NASA.
708 Elm Ave. E.
Dr. Michael McDermott earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He followed his undergraduate degrees with a doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with highest distinction.
Dr. Mike then furthered his dental education by earning a masters and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of St. Louis in Missouri.