Walk into the offices of Braces by Dr. Hansen and a few items stand out.
A waiting area for adult patients and parents of visiting children is plush with two iMac computers and large televisions equipped with sports channels, the Food Network, news and more.
Then there is the colorful childrens‘ area decked with several Wii consoles and Xbox Kinect gaming systems – a virtual paradise for a child.
But, it is in the back offices that the certified orthodontist’s best laid plans sit. An iTero scanner, a 3-D scanner that has replaced the traditional goop-filled dental impressions orthodontists use to fit teeth for correction, is ready for use.
The latest technology to hit the dental scene is a key component in another technological advance – Invisalign aligners, a custom-made series of aligner trays, or retainers.
The iTero scanner allows owner Jo Hansen and the business’s other technicians to take a digital impression of the individual characteristics of a patient’s tooth surfaces and gum tissue without the putty-filled impression tray longed favored by dental professionals. The scanner saves time and is more accurate than standard impressions.
“We start with crooked teeth, obviously,” Hansen said of the process July 17 during a tour of her downtown Lee’s Summit offices at 309 S.W. Market Street. “Then we scan these teeth with the scanner, and then they email us a screen image of the teeth. Then I come up with a treatment plan on how I want the teeth to move. Once we email back and forth and get the correct treatment plan for the teeth, I deliver the teeth on the inside, on the outside and every angle of the teeth. Once I approved this, they send me (Invisalign) trays.”
Hansen’s use of the iTero scanner works hand in hand with a new approach to the more traditional braces worn by patients. The digital scan is used for new crowns, bridges, and the aforementioned Invisalign aligners, which gradually and gently shift teeth into place, based on the exact movements that Hansen plans for the patient. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten.
Invisalign has revolutionized the art of orthodontics by offering a clear – if not invisible –alternative to braces, Hansen said. A staunch supporter of the state-of-the-art aligners, Hansen was named July 1 as an Invisalign Elite Preferred Provider. The designation means that Hansen is among the most experienced providers in the country. Less than five percent of all providers are awarded the designation.
“What we like about the scanner and about Invisalign is our society is so mobile,” Hansen said. “People are constantly in a hurry…with this we don’t have to see the patients quite as frequently because they’re doing that treatment everyday on their own. We don’t have the problems that braces have. With Invisalign, there are no eating limitations. Hygiene is quite a breeze. You just take the aligners out and you eat, then brush and floss or whatever you want to do, and then you put the aligners back in.”
Added Affton Nielsen, treatment coordinator at Braces by Dr. Hansen: “Invisalign provides the opportunity to create a beautiful smile in a way that allows for comfort, convenience and confidence. Dr. Hansen works to make a difference in the lives of her patients by using her knowledge, experience, and expertise to create confident smiles through this modern approach every day.”