It's arrived for too late for those who've already endured the agony of orthodontics, but a new daily treatment using a vibrating mouthpiece could halve the amount of time dental braces need to be worn.
Those metal straps work by applying pressure to the teeth, gradually reshaping the underlying bones so that everything comes into alignment -- improving both aesthetics and functionality. But it's a passive approach to the treatment that usually requires the uncomfortable braces to be worn for at least a year. So OrthoAccel Technologies has developed an accompanying treatment which has been shown to dramatically accelerate orthodontic treatments through the use of vibrations.
The AcceleDent -- which was recently approved by the US Federal Drug Administration and should be available in the US by the end of January -- looks like a mouthguard but with a vibrating apparatus hanging off the end. When used for 20 minutes each day it's been found to increase tooth movement up to 106 per cent in the initial phase of braces treatment, and up to 38 to 50 per cent as the teeth get closer to their proper alignment.
Unfortunately, the amount of time you use the AcceleDent doesn't directly correlate to how sooner you can get your braces off. It's been found to be most effective with the recommended 20-minute-per-day treatment, while prolonged use can actually hinder its effectiveness. So cranking it to 11 and sleeping with it strapped to your face will actually do more harm than good. [AcceleDent via CNET]