A recent introduction in the field of orthodontics has been the use of vibratory forces to encourage quicker healing of bone, with the ultimate potential of speeding up the rate at which teeth can be moved into the desired position. This is not a new phenomenon; the same vibratory forces have been used previously in the field of orthopaedics, where the aim has been to speed up the healing of bone fractures. It is believed that vibration forces accelerate bone modelling and remodelling processes – that is, bone growth and shaping.
In orthodontic treatment, the forces applied to bone through teeth cause a temporary breakdown of bone (resorption), which allows the tooth to move within the bone. This is then followed by a bone build-up or “healing” process that is not too dissimilar to what happens when a bone fracture heals.
One of the first vibratory devices introduced in the orthodontic marketplace is AcceleDent, followed more recently by the updated AcceleDent Aura. In the United States it has been approved for use by the FDA and it is marketed with the promise of speeding up orthodontic treatment by about 50 per cent, with the added benefit of less discomfort. The mouthpiece is fitted around the patient’s existing braces or clear aligners for 20 minutes per day, and the micro-pulse imparted by the vibratory device is considered to accelerate tooth movement.
Scientific evidence demonstrating the merits of AcceleDent is currently still lacking. There have been studies indicating the increased rate of tooth movement with the use of AcceleDent, but there are also studies that show that there was no difference found.
We all want to speed up the rate at which teeth can be moved into the ideal position, and AcceleDent claims to provide a simple and safe way to help achieve this goal. However, more studies (and better designed ones) are needed to validate its use with clinical confidence and assurance to the patient when used with braces.