The role of robots in righting smiles
How can the intervention of robots possibly make orthodontic treatment more personal and precise – especially when the robots are overseas? Orthodontic specialist Asif Chatoo knows from experience that they do.
The founder of the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic, the UK’s first orthodontic practice dedicated to lingual braces (placed behind the teeth), he has treated around 250 patients over two years with the groundbreaking Suresmile software. His clinic is one of only three centres in the world dedicated to lingual using Suresmile for lingual braces.
What’s unusual about Suresmile is the use of robots for the bending of wires. Needless to say, Asif sends a prescription to the robot, precise to a fraction of a millimetre because he has planned the treatment according to the software’s 3D design function.
Power of digital technology
Asif builds up the 3D digital image of the patient’s teeth using a small optical scanner about the size of an electric toothbrush. Assisted by a mirror, it takes thousands of pictures in just a few seconds to create the digital record of the teeth and their roots. These are integrated with X-rays and photographs so that every detail of every tooth is recorded.
He said: ‘With digital technology, you get so much detail. From the moment treatment starts, I know how the teeth will move and what will happen at each stage.’
Patients appreciate the software too, he says, because he can explain how the brackets and wires will work and the patient can visualise their smile at the end of the treatment. This gives the patient the opportunity to be part of the planning.
It’s not uncommon, says Asif, for patients to ask for small variations as the treatment nears its end. “This isn’t a problem. Being able to design custom made wires gives me the ability to finesse the final tooth movements to achieve exactly what the patient and referring dentist want. In other words, the digital software gives me control, freedom and flexibility.’
The Suresmile system was created by Orametrix which has its head office in Dallas, USA as well as offices in Germany with robots in both locations. It’s one of several lingual systems that Asif uses so he can offer patients a range of options. He has recently started providing bespoke aligners for mild treatments. These plastic aligners are designed by Asif and printed on a 3D printer.
The London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic was established by Asif 10 years ago with Didier Fillion as an associate. Asif is the only UK orthodontist to be accredited by both the World and European Societies of Orthodontics He is the current Secretary of the European Society of Lingual Orthodontics and a founder member of the British Lingual Orthodontic Society.
Blogs about treatment at LLOC include: