Source: Suresmile. The smile robot.
A survey published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare last year also found that more than 27 per cent of adults in NSW had untreated dental decay. ”It’s like comparing a typewriter with a word processor,” said orthodontist Debora Harris. ”Technology is putting treatment well out of reach of the disadvantaged in all fields of medicine, not just dentistry, but one of the problems we face is that people spend more money on hairdressers than they do on oral health,” said Philippa Sawyer, the chairwoman of the association’s oral health committee. She has treated about 10 patients since July and predicts most of them will have their braces off months sooner than if they used conventional braces, bent into shape by orthodontists using pliers. The treatment costs about $600 more than the standard $6000 price for regular braces, but it has sparked fears that such technological leaps could push care further out of reach for people. ”It’s given a very low priority. The photo is displayed on a computer screen and can be swivelled in any direction, using computer-aided design software, allowing the orthodontist to determine exact distances between teeth and predict movements over time. It involves orthodontists scanning a patient’s mouth to take a 3D snapshot of the jaw and teeth. A report published in June by the Australian Dental Association found that 64 per cent of people cited cost as the main barrier to scheduling a routine check-up and a quarter of those surveyed only went to the dentist when they had a problem. A robot then bends the archwires for the braces to the positions required so precisely that they never need adjustment. You have to register your car every year so why don’t people factor in money for seeing a dentist?”

  The new technology, introduced to Australia in July, is only being offered by 15 orthodontists so far, but has been used on more than 35,000 Americans in the past seven years. It might be cold comfort to generations of Australians who endured two years with their teeth in braces, tweaked regularly with pliers, but robots are taking over the job, slashing the time patients need to wear them by up to a year and reducing the pain.