For Orthodontic patients the use of a dental retainer is of utmost importance to improve the success rate of the treatment being offered. As we all know that the use and success of retainer’s depends on the patient compliance and in many cases we see that the patient neglect wearing the appliance and this leads to relapse of the occlusion which has been corrected in cases for post-treatment retainers.
To help in eliminating this problem, research is underway at the UCSF School of Dentistry to produce a Bluetooth smart retainer mainly for orthodontic patients. It is named as SmartByte retainer which indirectly helps in improving the amount of time the retainer is worn by the patient. This ensures that the treatment progresses as planned and the ensuring the proper treatment outcome.
Orthodontics suggest patients who have undergone Orthodontic correction using braces that removable retainers must be worn full time for at least 6 months after removal of braces, which is hardly possible with almost 70 percent of patients who forget and this results in relapse. Commenting on SmartByte retainer, Eric Castle, DMD, an orthodontic resident, says, “Unfortunately, one of the frustrating aspects of orthodontics is that patients do not always wear their retainers as much as they should after their braces are removed,” he added “This often leads to the teeth relapsing out of alignment, requiring retreatment with braces to correct.”
SmartByte is a retainer with a sensor placed inside it, this works by sensing the change in body temperature from room temperature to determine whether the patient is wearing the retainer or not. This chip can be connected to the parents or doctors smartphone or tablet using the custom app available for iOS, Android and Windows devices. The information is then stored in cloud database and then transferred to the orthodontists computer server.
Users can even set goals and parents or Dentists can give prizes or rewards to children when the set goals are reached, this helps in encouraging retainer use. The Bluetooth enabled SmartByte is being researched on by Drs. Castle, Shuvo Roy, PhD (School of Pharmacy and Medicine), Gerald Nelson, DDS, Sneha Oberoi, DDS, and Philip Chung, PhD (UCSF Biodesign Laboratory). They are expected to run a small pilot trial in coming months and a major trial in two years before it can be used for practical use in Dental clinics by Dentists.