LightForce completely differentiates a practice and meets the expectations of the new digital-focused consumer,” says John Piervencenti, Director of Professional Education and Sales for LightForce. “Think of all of the digital applications that consumers now expect — Chewy delivers pet products to your door; Netflix brings movies into your home; Carvana offers a digital car-buying experience. In the same way, the digital capability of LightForce has redefined the norm and changed the orthodontic experience.” Today’s patients are educated consumers, searching for options that fit their lifestyle, and they are ready to comprehend how the LightForce system is different, special, and specifically designed for them. It’s up to orthodontists to show patients that they are ready to maximize the latest in 3D printed and software technology combined with sound orthodontic principles to bring them efficient and quality orthodontics.”
LightForce technology minimizes time-consuming adjustments and maximizes treatment efficiency through proprietary treatment-planning software combined with advanced 3D printing technology to create custom 3D-printed ceramic brackets from intuitive digital treatment planning software. Ergonomically designed, indirect bonding trays are 3D printed for each patient. With a similar digital workflow, SureSmile also gives orthodontists or professionals the option to digitally “plan-it-themselves” in the software — they can treatment plan, stage, and approve the plan, and then either 3D print the models in house or order sets from the company.
Learn how orthodontists are transforming their practices with LightForce’s fully customized 3D printed tooth-moving technology.
Having flexible treatment options with similar workflows makes planning less complicated. Piervencenti notes, “A doctor can submit records and do diagnostics on the SureSmile platform, and at that point make a decision as to which modality would provide the best treatment option for the patient.” The same information can be input into the LightForce platform to take advantage of the opportunities from the 3D-bracket system. Dr. Nobrega, who uses both systems for both biomechanical detailing and diagnosis, explained with some examples. “For a recent patient, I had two options for finishing treatment — aligners or brackets. When I use SureSmile for diagnosis that doesn’t mean that I will always choose aligners as the best option for treatment. That patient would have needed approximately 24 SureSmile aligners. I also put the diagnostic information into the LightForce system and found the treatment would entail two pairs of archwires. It was a difference between the patient spending 10 to 12 months in aligner treatment or 6 to 8 months of bracket treatment with LightForce.”
Dr. Nobrega said that while aligners have advantages, he finds brackets very predictable. “I don’t know whether the patient is wearing the aligners or not. With brackets, I eliminate that compliance issue.”
Both of these digital systems can be used for transitional situations. Dr. Nobrega says, “I had a patient with canine that was blocked in the bone. It was easy for me to extrude the canine first with an aligner because of its static nature. Once that was achieved, I switched to LightForce brackets for the rest of treatment.” He continues, “However, I have found that if I start with LightForce, I don’t need aligners to finish. So, I either start with aligners and finish with LightForce or use LightForce for the whole course of treatment. I can apply aligners in the upper and brackets in the lower. They are both versatile systems.”
Also, clear aligners may not be the best choice for adjustments during the course of treatment “When you receive your box of aligners, if you want change, you have to scan the patient again and get a whole new set of aligners,” says Dr. Nobrega. “This could be costly. With LightForce, the digital plan is designed to take the patient from beginning to end.”
Piervencenti adds that LightForce custom-made brackets are so exact that usually no refinements are necessary. Refinement aligners can add months to treatment.
Efficient use of time and digital systems are benefits to patients and orthodontists alike, and the benefits are even clearer in the recent pandemic environment. Dr. Nobrega says, “Patients don’t want to spend an hour in the orthodontic office with a lot of people anymore. Since the brackets are 3D-printed for each tooth, the bonding appointment is considerably shorter, about the same time as preparing for aligners. The bracket prescription is so exact that the orthodontist can even delegate bracket placement (in states where laws allow). After that, patients can come to the office every 8 weeks and stay there for 15 minutes to check progress. This is clear to me why patients are asking for this.”
Digital systems are a “given” for technology-forward practices, but we also find those who are nearing retirement or with physical limitations are leaning toward the full digital experience Lightforce provides. Besides shorter bonding appointments, initial treatment can be planned in the 3D digital environment instead of physically bending over patients to peer into their mouths. These professionals can continue delivering great care in a career they love, but without aching backs and hands from that extra chair time.
LightForce starts with the sound, tried-and-true principles of bracket and wires and brings it into the digital world. Piervencenti says, “We are not reinventing orthodontics, but using technology to include very important aspects to make treatment more predictable and precise. We have moved ahead to next generation of orthodontics.”