New technique reduces the time needed to wear braces by more than half

December 12, 2013 by Carmen Tong, New York University

A new technique developed at the College of Dentistry by Cristina Teixeira, associate professor and chair of the Department of Orthodontics, and Mani Alikhani, associate professor of orthodontics and director of the Consortium for Translational Orthodontic Research, moves teeth more than twice as fast as conventional orthodontics. As a result, treatment time is reduced by more than half, enabling patients to straighten their teeth while wearing braces for a much shorter time.

The technique is called micro-osteoperforation or "MOP." After numbing the tissue, the NYU orthodontists use a specially designed, NYU-patented device to puncture a tiny hole in the upper jaw in several places. "We perform the MOPs through the gum using our patented appliance, which has a light detector," explains Teixeira. "As soon as we reach a certain depth in the gum, the light turns on. We pull the appliance out, and the procedure is over in less than a minute. The procedure creates a minor abrasion to the bone through the gum and the bone becomes less dense, allowing teeth to move faster."

The gum and bone heal quickly and normal bone density returns when the braces come off. Patients may have mild discomfort afterward, but there are no side effects or downsides. "After the MOP procedure is completed," says Alikhani, "there is no sign of inflammation or injury, and by the next day healing is complete."

The procedure can be performed on anyone of any age. Patients may wear whatever type of braces they choose, but they wear them for less than half the time required by conventional .

Teixeira and Alikhani say that this minor procedure is especially appealing to adult patients who want to attain a beautiful smile through orthodontic treatment in a very short period of time. "We had a patient who came to us for the and achieved her goal of having a perfect smile in time for her wedding. We were thrilled to have helped transform her for her special day," says Teixeira.

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