A frequently overlooked facet of orthodontics is prevention. By wearing certain devices, some orthodontic situations can be prevented, saving thousands of pounds in future treatment. But does it work in every case? How good are the odds, and how good of an investment are preventive orthodontic products really? In this article, I hope to shed some light into the world of preventive orthodontics, and hope that these questions can be answered.
While many devices exist, the one that is by far the most prevalent and the most often used is the Nite-Guide preventive orthodontic device. I will be writing about only this device, as it is the one that is most frequently used, the only one I know of that has undergone serious post-clinical evaluation, and the only one to be reviewed in various medical journals (the study I am using as a basis for my assumptions is the Greater New York Dental Meeting December 2, 2013 article).
How It Works
A Nite-Guide works more or less on the same principle that the aligners work on; they even look similar. They are basically an unmolded aligner, with a few curves and dents fitted for the patients mouth. The patient uses the device while sleeping, and this device can only be used while the teeth are growing in. Afterwards, they are of little use.
While the patient sleeps, the body does a lot of growing, and teeth do some travelling as well. In these times, if a guiding form is in place, the teeth will shift to where that form will push them. It’s as simple as that.
What Does It Cure
Those who have any interest in orthodontics will know that solutions like this one are no substitute for extreme cases that may one day require orthognathic surgery or head gear. These devices are meant not to replace serious interventions, they are meant to prevent minor ones. Minor crowding, protrusion and other small scale but extremely common orthodontic problems can in fact be prevented by using this device.