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Inside Dentistry
January 2013
Volume 9, Issue 1

Conservative Smile Enhancements with Short-Term Orthodontics

This alternative to traditional orthodontics addresses the cosmetically driven concerns of many adult patients.

By Robert Malone, DDS

For some individuals who present with severely malpositioned teeth, demonstrated overbite, and extended spacial gaps between teeth, orthodontics is the best treatment to achieve a satisfactory smile.1 However, the majority of adults will not consider braces because of the time commitment, embarrassment, discomfort, and their traditional unesthetic appearance.2 Adults and older teens also may not want to commit to a treatment requiring self-discipline, such as some removable orthodontic options. Because these factors may keep many adults from undergoing a treatment that could enhance their smile, a fixed adult cosmetic short-term orthodontic treatment is needed.

Short-term orthodontics with Six Month Smiles (Six Month Smiles® Cosmetic Braces System, is a proven and minimally invasive way to enhance a patient’s appearance. The system combines proven traditional braces technology and science with the simplicity and ease of use of aligners to treat cosmetically driven dental problems. General dentists who were once apprehensive about treatment planning and placing braces can now confidently provide short-term cosmetic braces treatments to patients and achieve dramatic results in an average of 6 months.3

Short-term orthodontic treatments are not for complicated or more invasive orthodontic procedures such as changing angles class or correcting skeletal discrepancies. Teeth are aligned and occlusal improvements are made with very gentle forces that do not increase a patient’s risk for root resorption of any kind.4

About the Six Month Smiles System

Short-term orthodontics with Six Month Smiles provides smile improvements to adult patients whose main concerns relate to tooth-position discrepancies. Short-term orthodontics is meant not to replace comprehensive orthodontic treatment, but to provide general dentists and their patients with a minimally invasive and time-sensitive option for improving patients’ smiles.

Six Month Smiles incorporates highly specialized clear brackets pre-positioned in custom bonding trays for one-step seating. The shape memory wires and pre-positioned brackets guide teeth to the pre-determined and preferred position.

The clear brackets and tooth-colored wires are pleasing to adults who do not want the stigma of wearing braces and are already leery of undergoing orthodontic treatment. The system provides the treating dentist with control to produce results efficiently and predictably.

Six Month Smiles is straightforward to learn and execute, even for general dentists without practical orthodontic experience. The system is organized and the protocols are clear. Training is thorough, and instructors, mentors, and other clinicians provide comprehensive support. Along with dentist-to-dentist clinical support, educational opportunities are provided.

Case Presentation

A 21-year-old woman presented with a class 2, division 2 tooth arrangement. She displayed an excessive overjet and deep anterior overbite. Her right and left maxillary central incisors were retroclined (Figure 1), and the maxillary lateral incisors were severely proclined (Figure 2). The maxillary right and left canines were rotated mesially. She did not like their “fanged” appearance. Her lower arch displayed malaligned and crowded anterior incisors, which exhibited excessive incisal wear.

The patient did not want braces for an extended time. A proper diagnosis was made, and the patient was informed of available treatments, including traditional orthodontics, clear aligners, and cosmetic restorative procedures.5 She chose short-term ortho­dontic treatment with Six Month Smiles as a shorter and minimally invasive procedure that would not draw unwarranted attention to her appearance.

An impression was taken of her teeth, and models were sent to the Six Month Smiles Case Processing Center. A bracket specialist/technician set up the case and designed a custom Six Month Smiles Pa­tient Tray Kit (PTK) for this patient. The kit contained custom bonding trays for precisely placing the brackets for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. The brackets were accurately positioned within the trays based on the principles of straight-wire orthodontics and the desired clinical result.

After receiving the PTK, the patient’s teeth were etched, an adhesive was applied, and the bonding trays were seated intraorally. Once the brackets were secure, tooth-colored wires and ties that blend with natural teeth were attached and adjusted (Figure 3). These guided the teeth to the pre-set and preferred position, eliminating the need for wire bending.

The patient was pleased with the simplicity of treatment. Besides returning each month for adjustments and placement of incrementally sized wires (Figure 4), little to no maintenance was required. Once the desired results were achieved, the brackets and wires were removed and proper retention was provided (Figure 5 and Figure 6).


This case illustrates the life-altering effects that Six Month Smiles can achieve for adults. Seeing the patient’s enthusiasm grow as she saw the results achieved quickly was very rewarding (Figure 7). By incorporating Six Month Smiles, general dentists can provide a minimally invasive, long-lasting treatment that addresses their patients’ cosmetically driven dental concerns.


1. Staehle HJ. Minimally invasive restorative treatment. J Adhes Dent. 1999;1(3):267-284.

2. Rosvall MD, Fields HW, Ziuchkovski J, et al. Attractiveness, acceptability, and value of orthodontic appliances. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2009;135(3):276-277.

3. Fisher MA, Wenger RM, Hans MG. Pretreatment characteristics associated with orthodontic treatment duration. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop.2010;137(2):178-186.

4. McDonald F, Cobourne M. Adult orthodontics: perils and pitfalls. Prog Orthod.2007;8(2):308-313.

5. Snow SR. Strategies for successful esthetic dental treatment. J Calif Dent Assoc. 2007;35(7):475-484.

6. Whitehouse JA. Everyday uses of adult orthodontics. Dent Today.2004;23(9):116-120.

About the Author

Robert J. Malone, DDS
Private Practice
Escondido, California

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