Orthodontic Fact #7 Some dental wires used in dental braces are activated by body heat and were developed by NASA
Are people really walking around with space vehicle parts in their mouths? Well, sort of. Nitinol, a metal alloy made of nickel and titanium, was originally developed for use in the aerospace industry. It wasn’t really originally developed at NASA, but rather the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oaks, Maryland. Eventually, NASA found some use for it in spacecraft manufacturing. That is, until an orthodontist at the University of Iowa thought it might make a good material for braces.
What are Dental Wires made of?
While stainless steel was the original material of choice for dental wires, it has limitations in its ability to keep steady pressure on teeth. Over time the stainless steel weakens and regular adjustments must be made. Nitinol, on the other hand, is able to hold constant pressure when bent around teeth and the body’s natural heat actually helps the metal hold its strong force. The metal’s ability to hold its force means those with Nitinol brace wires need less adjustment from their orthodontist.
New metals haven’t been the only recent development to hit the orthodontics market. Plastics have been helping straighten misaligned teeth as well. For those who don’t want a clear view of their teeth as their smile is straightened, Invisalign offers a completely hidden option. Using a 3-D scanned dental alignment process, sets of plastic Invisalign teeth aligners are created and worn for a period of about 2 weeks. Each aligners makes the smile a little straighter each time and without steel braces in the way, patients can see the progress in real time. No more waiting for months to have metal parts removed before seeing your new smile! Invisalign is the invisible way to align your teeth.
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Whether you or your child are thinking about braces or an invisible solution for shaping that smile, our team of orthodontists can help find a solution that fits your wishes and your budget. Visit us at www.marinortho.com to find out more. Make an appointment today!