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Orthodontics for crooked front teeth: the Dentsply mtm system is here!

Have crooked front teeth but don’t want braces?  The MTM (minor tooth movement) solution has arrived at Dr. Elston Wong’s Barrie dental office!  If you have been spending time looking at some mild spacing , mild crowding, rotations or just uneven front teeth, MTM clear aligners can be a simple, cost-effective and braces-free way to give you quick orthodontic correction.

You’ve heard of Invisalign.  The MTM system is a direct competitor to Invisalign with treatment aimed towards crooked front teeth only.  It is a series of clear plastic trays custom-made to fit your teeth, each slightly different from the last, that gradually move the teeth toward a desired endpoint.  For more information on the actual Dentsply MTM orthodontic website, click here.


MTM (minor tooth movement) Aligner
Company photo of an mtm aligner. This series of aligners do not contain BPA or PVC, and are not easily visible during normal day-to-day interactions.

What is the experience like?

Thin, clear and relatively rigid plastic trays are worn on the teeth full time (24/7) throughout the treatment period with the exception of eating/drinking and cleaning.  These aligners are really quite invisible, and are worn for about three weeks before moving on to the next tray.

When the trays are worn, they should feel snug on the teeth that are being moved, and passive on those not being moved, just like the experience of normal brackets-and-wires orthodontic treatment.  Because of controlled, small amounts of movement built into each aligner, they are comfortable to wear.

You do need to remember to take them out for cleaning!  These trays will not clean themselves, and if sugar or acid- containing beverages are consumed without being cleaned off, cavities can develop quickly.  Aside from hygiene, these dental aligners are quite hassle free.

What kinds of problems can be fixed with MTM aligners?

This is treatment for front teeth only. In our office, things requiring back tooth movement are typically handled by traditional brackets and wires.  Specifically, the degree of correction one can expect for teeth are:

Recommended Treatment Range Table
This reference guide shows the amount of tooth movement possible in different directions using the mtm System. For crooked front teeth, these are often sufficient to allow correction without braces.

Additionally, people with a constricted chewing pattern where they are chipping the edges off the upper and lower front teeth as a result of the bite can quickly gain the extra space they need to avoid chipping of teeth.

Is that it?  Just put on these trays and the teeth magically straighten out?

Sometimes.  But, if you have crowded teeth, you may also need some slenderizing of the teeth to allow them to fit into the space available.  Slenderizing of teeth is a safe, routine technique in correcting crowded teeth before orthodontic movement and the data is quite clear that it does not increase the risk of cavities.  We are not taking all the enamel off, and we give some heavy-duty fluoride to help remineralize the teeth afterwards.

Example of diamond-impregnated strips
An example of diamond-impregnated strips that can be used for creating space between teeth. The goal is to remove enough enamel to allow for correction of crowding, without compromising the teeth.

Can anyone wear MTM aligners?

This system of orthodontics is limited to people who have their second molars in place and have permanent teeth (so, no kids unless they are done with baby teeth).  Teeth that will not move, such as implants, bridge teeth, and ankylosed (fused to bone) teeth will not move with the MTM system. Additionally, a thorough examination by your dentist is required to spot cavities, gum disease, or root canal problems before MTM aligners can start.

How long will treatment last, and how much will it cost?

Answer: depends. To calculate the cost, we need to know if treatment will be single or dual-arch (spoiler alert: single arch is not half the cost of double arch), and approximately how much time will be required for the situation.  We would typically require a full set of orthodontic records to be able to pin down numbers for you.  In general, a case that is mtm-suitable should be completed in approximately 6-9 months.

So there you have it, a simple and cost-effective way to get that minor tooth crookedness corrected, all without braces!  If you would like to find out more about this treatment for yourself, or perhaps an overall oral assessment, please contact us!  We’d love to be your Barrie dentist.

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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