Problem/Diagnosis: Class 2 Malocclusion
I have been considering having my teeth straightened for some time and have been visiting Dr. Tan since I started working way back in 2009. Each time we discussed the possibility of braces to correct my malocclusion - but every time I am put off by the need to visit the doctor every 4 weeks for a change of "rubber bands & wires". It would have been hard to fit into my working schedule.
My niece, who already has braces, also told me that the first day or so after a visit her mouth is quite sore. So when Dr. Tan told me that I would only have to come once every two months, and that it would be less painful - I thought "why not"?
How quickly the wires can be changed has been a real surprise - Dr. Tan didn't tell me about this. I have been stopping by after work on the way home and it really only takes about 5-10 minutes (I heard that it normally takes 30 or more using the "old" system). So it's easier than expected to fit into my schedule - in fact, it's even faster than my polishing visits!
Well, I have never had braces before, so I didn't have anything to compare it against. This is a pretty difficult question to answer. Yes, there has been some pain - but it has not been the type of unbearable pain, the slight discomfort at each visit is tolerable. Even when a stiff rectangular wire was inserted into my tilted premolar, the tooth did not hurt at all. I was told that the bracket has a special shock absorbing function to reduce excessive forces being transmitted to the tilted tooth. This special and unique property ensures light continuous forces are transmitted to my teeth and therefore my teeth move faster and with little or no pain.
I think what has surprised me most is that I haven't had a problem with smelly breath - which is something that my niece has complained about almost constantly since getting her conventional braces.
Amazingly, the treatment progresses a lot quicker than I expected. After only 6 months and the change was already visible. Not to mention, that each visit to the orthodontist is fast and efficient!
Mr. Tay has been a loyal patient for some time - and for all of that time he has been wanting to have his malocclusion corrected - unfortunately he has always been deterred by the time commitment, and also by concerns about the pain.
Given the projections of a reduced adjustment schedule for the Epsilon NLB, he seemed to be a perfect candidate for the clinical trial. The reduced chair time for the arch wire adjustment has been a rather unexpected, although very welcome surprise.
The flexible arch wire walls that the Epsilon NLB uses is noticeably easier to manage, and much less rigid than other systems I have used. This meant that I can adjust and change the arch wire much more quickly and with lesser steps than before. It also made the initial installation fast and easy - not to mention more comfortable for the patient than before, compared to normal brace systems.
Now that he is almost a year into the treatment, the speed at which the teeth are coming into alignment shows a marked improvement over what is normally expected - although this is in line with our pre-trial predictions, it is still important to note that we don't normally see this level of correction until the 12 months mark.
Something else that is noticeable is a reduction in soft tissue discomfort compared to more standard SLB devices. We are attributing this to the lower profile of the Epsilon NLB system, although I would like to reserve judgement on this particular area until I have used it on more patients.
* Mr. Tay has since completed his treatment from the time of this interview in 2016
Dr. Tan Kok Liang