Did you know that orthodontics and NASA have something huge in common? No, it’s not space exploration, but that has surprisingly helped advance braces to where they are today. NASA was key to the development of what is known as space age wire. These wires are made of a nickle-titanium alloy that was originally engineered by NASA to work in antennae and solar panels on satellites. They are heat-activated, so instead of reacting to the heat of the sun in space, they now react to the body heat in one’s mouth.
What’s the Difference?
The metal wires traditionally used with braces have to be adjusted frequently. They are much more rigid than space-age wire, which can bend easily. Even though they are more flexible, space-age wires are not weaker, they are more resilient.
Originally developed in the 1960s for NASA, this type of wire eventually made its way to the field of orthodontics. These wires have two distinct properties, shape memory and super-elasticity. Space age-wire’s shape memory means it has the ability to retain its original shape after being bent or deformed. It can snap back into its original position because of its super-elasticity.
With traditional wires, orthodontists have to regularly replace the wires in their patients’ mouth, but with space-age wire’s bendable and heat controlled technology, they don’t have to be changed as frequently, which means fewer followup visits. They also usually cut down on the amount of time that you would need to wear braces because of their fast-acting technology. With fewer wire adjustments and doctor visits, these wires greatly increase the ease and comfort of your lifestyle with braces.
How Do They Work?
The name “space-age wire” sounds futuristic, but the process and technology behind how they operate to give you a straight smile is not as bizarre as you might think. Their shape memory that allows them to remember their original shape is also referred to as “thermo-elasticity.” While that term might not mean much to you, it actually describes exactly what the wires are doing: the alloy in the wires is heat-activated.
When the wire is heated up, it can be molded into an arch shape to fit your mouth. The wire is then cooled and attached to the brackets on your teeth. As the wires warm up again in your mouth from your body heat, the force produced from the elasticity of the wire as it returns to its original arch form is strong enough to move the teeth into their desired positions.
If these sound like the right fit for you, call our office at (843) 4-BRACES to schedule a free consultation today and learn if you are eligible for these cosmic braces.