The Future of Orthodontics Is Esthetics

For more than a century, orthodontic diagnosis has been driven by cephalometric analysis of internal skeletal landmarks. The problem with all cephalometric analysis is that they are based on a language of mathematics.

Normal values are angles and lengths based on averages and are not specific to the individual esthetic needs of the patient. While cephalometric analysis are great for research and evaluating dental changes between time points, they require tracing, two step diagnosis, thoughtful evaluation, and make discussion among colleagues incredibly cumbersome.

As a result, few practicing orthodontists routinely use cephalometric analysis in daily practice. Instead relying on undefined visual evaluations based on their own experience and clinical impression.

Creating a Common Language

If we are to evolve as a profession, we need a common language which provides specific and clear descriptions of goal positions and simplifies the challenge of discussing complicated orthodontic problems among colleagues and between the orthodontic team and lay persons.

In order to thoughtfully evaluate our best clinical practices as a profession, we need a new language.

A language that allows simple planning based on visible external landmarks. A language that’s individually specific to the patients needs, allows one-step diagnosis and treatment planning, and is easy to use in everyday practice.

Straightening Teeth or Making Great Smiles?

Esthetics is the future of Orthodontics! We are the smile makers, but are we consistently making great smiles? Or, are we just straightening teeth?

I believe we are entering a new Golden Age of Orthodontics, driven by a revolution in esthetics. However, achieving great esthetic results requires that as a group we learn new skills, both clinical and diagnostic.

We must learn to recognize the components of a great smile and establish goal esthetic positions for the teeth in all dimensions. We must understand that great orthodontic outcomes are achieved not by excellent alignment alone, but by also positioning the teeth within the frame of the lips and face to produce outstanding smile esthetics.

We must strive to diagnose deviations from these goals in our clinical exams and to design mechanical treatment plans to efficiently move toward these goal positions from the very start of treatment.

Helping You Create Better Treatment Plans

This is the express purpose of the RGB System™. The component parts of the RGB System™ are the tools to help visualize and implement your customized mechanical treatment plan.

The RGB System™ not only establishes goal esthetic positions, but it also provides a systematic approach to monitor progress toward these goals during treatment. The RGB System™ is both a new language for modern orthodontics and a yardstick by which to measure clinical progress.

Without a systematic approach toward creating consistent esthetic outcomes, our work becomes more art than science and more good fortune than consistent habit.

It’s only by elevating our skills and raising our collective standard of care that we can transform the public perception of value in our work as orthodontic specialists and truly provide patients with what they really care about most – outstanding smile esthetics!

How The RGB System™ Works

The RGB System consists of 12 component parts and an intra-oral exam. A front facial evaluation with the patient in a posed smile is performed to evaluate eight of the component parts. Four of these are for final detailing and cosmetic cases.

A profile evaluation with a posed smile in natural head position is performed for three of the component parts. Lastly, a visual evaluation of a lateral cephalometric X-ray is performed for the final component part, followed by an intra-oral exam.

Each of the component parts has its own local referents. We use the colors red, green, and blue to designate each components’ position relative to its local referent.

A number designation is also assigned to each component to indicate a specific location (in millimeters) or degree of magnitude (mild, moderate, severe) relative to its local referent.

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