Just like any other form of orthodontic tooth movement, in order to produce tooth movement it is necessary to apply pressure to the teeth. The traditional orthodontic apparatus utilizes a bracket system that is bonded to the tooth’s surface and an orthodontic wire that is then engaged and secured to each of the brackets. The elastic properties of the wire create the necessary forces to stimulate tooth movement. Most orthodontic bracket systems are place on the facial (front) or the lingual (behind) surface of the teeth.
Similar to the conventional bracket-and-wire orthodontic systems, Wirelign® employs the elastic properties of the nickel-titanium wire to generate forces on the surfaces of the teeth. The Wirelign® procedure differs from these systems by placing small segments of nickel-titanium wire directly on the tooth surface and securing them within bonding material and thus eliminating the need for braces or brackets. This unique approach creates a lower profile system that is significantly more comfortable.
Another beneficial feature of the Wirelign® procedure is its’ concealed placement of the orthodontic wires. The flat lingual (behind the tooth) surface anatomy of the anterior (front) teeth allows for direct placement of segmented wires without the use of braces, making them ideal for this procedure. The anatomy of the tooth’s surfaces change dramatically beyond the six upper and six lower anterior teeth and therefore limits most cases to treatment of anterior teeth only. The Wirelign® procedure is an excellent option to align the anterior teeth and is a limited orthodontic treatment option, not meant to replace the need for full orthodontic treatment.
Following initial placement of active wires, Wirelign® requires multiple follow-up appointments in most cases. These subsequent appointments are commonly termed “re-activation” appointments. Re-activation appointments are typically scheduled with the patient’s doctor every 4 to 8 weeks. At these appointments, the teeth that must be further aligned will be what is referred to as “re-activated” – meaning the bonding material that is holding the wire onto the tooth’s surface will be removed by the doctor or authorized dental auxiliary person using a dental handpiece (drill), a new super-elastic nickel titanium wire will be activated and re-bonded on the tooth’s surface. Re-activation appointments can be scheduled less frequently, though this may prolong treatment time. The total number of re-activation appointments will vary depending on the complexity of the patient’s case.