The FDA has recently approved a device that has been tested for the last few years at my residency program in San Antonio called AcceleDent. AcceleDent works through the application of pulsating, low magnitude forces (cyclic forces) to the dentition and surrounding bone as a means of accelerating orthodontic tooth movement through enhanced bone remodeling. Teeth move as bone is resorbed in the direction the roots are moving and built behind the roots after the movement. The forces the AcceleDent device apply to the teeth are very low in magnitude and do not cause any discomfort. We have known for years that teeth move faster in younger patients because their bone biology adapts more quickly to the forces being placed on the teeth, so this system is just a new way to cause any patient's response to orthodontic forces quicken.
Here is a picture of the device:
The current recommendations are to bite into the mouthpiece 20 minutes per day while in orthodontic treatment. This can be easily accomplished while doing normal daily activities like watching TV, reading, or surfing the internet.
I fully believe in the strong scientific evidence supporting the device's effectiveness coming out because fields such as orthopedic medicine have been using similar methods for decades to heal bone fractures faster, for example. I plan to offer it to patients at Avery Orthodontics but the current price point may result in it being used by adult patients for the most part until the pricing may drop (it costs about $900 to order each unit from the manufacturer and this amount would just be applied to the overall orthodontic fee). I believe most orthodontists who will offer it would essentially sell it to the patients at cost because faster treatment times is a bonus for both the patients and doctors. The group of patients I am especially excited about AcceleDent would be Invisalign patients. Invisalign is a series of clear trays that move the teeth in little increments. The current protocol is to change the Invisalign trays once every 14 days, but the use of AcceleDent would certainly allow us to change trays every 10 days and possibly just every 7 days, thus having the potential to reduce the Invisalign treatment time in half. The situation with patients in braces is a little different because many of our wires need plenty of time to work and express themselves, but braces patients who elect to use AcceleDent in my practice would be seen at quicker appointment intervals to change the wires a little faster than we would in traditional treatment. I would expect treatment time in braces patients to be reduced about 30%, but that is definitely dependent on the type of case.
Here is a nice video on the AcceleDent system and if you would like to consider its use, be sure to ask us at our consultation appointment.