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What’s changed since I had braces?

Just as computers and cars have improved in the past two decades, a lot has also changed in the world of orthodontics.

That means the treatment and options available to your child might be far different to the recollections you have of wearing braces just a generation ago.

If you’re wondering what’s changed since you had braces, here’s an insight into just some of the advancements and improvements that have altered the orthodontic landscape.

Braces types

When it comes to options available there is a far greater choice than a generation ago. In addition to the traditional braces that you may have had, there are also self-ligating braces like the Damon system and removable clear aligners like Invisalign.

Damon braces

Known as the Rolls Royce of the braces’ world, Damon Braces are a self-ligating system designed to offer shorter treatment times, fewer extractions and increased patient comfort.

At Norwest Orthodontics they are one of our treatments of choice as they’re also highly regarded as being a gentle braces system that helps maintain greater oral hygiene.

Unlike traditional braces that see the archwire ‘tied’ to the bracket, the brackets in Damon Braces feature a slide mechanism allowing custom-fitted, high-tech archwires to move freely and straighten teeth.

In other words, instead of being anchored to specific teeth, the Damon Braces’ archwire is designed to create the optimum overall teeth alignment and slides within the brackets as the teeth straighten. 

The result is less friction and pressure than conventional braces where the tie method acts like a parking brake that can slow treatment down.


Available since 1999, Invisalign has revolutionised the world of orthodontics, with an estimated three million people worldwide undergoing Invisalign treatment since its launch.

Invisalign treatment uses a series of custom-fitted clear aligners that are regularly changed to guide teeth into the desired position. Patients are required to wear their aligners 22 hours a day, removing them only to eat and for rare special occasions.

Invisalign is considered ideal for people seeking a more discreet orthodontic option, and this has seen Invisalign become the treatment of choice for a large number of adults looking to straighten their teeth.

Traditional braces

It’s not just that new options have become available in the world of orthodontics either, traditional braces have also evolved over that time.

You might recall the braces of the ‘90s being bulky and cumbersome, but braces two decades later often feature smaller or clear brackets.

Diagnostic technology

Just as braces treatment options have advanced, so too has the diagnostic technology that allows orthodontists to see exactly what’s occurring with the jaw and teeth, and then plot the correct treatment path.

This new technology has revolutionised everything from the imaging we take when first assessing patients to the way we plan treatment.

At Norwest Orthodontics we are proud to employ the most cutting-edge technology available in a bid to ensure effective, efficient and state-of-the-art treatment for our patients. This leading technology includes Elemetrix and Insignia.

And here’s a little about what they are…


Elemetrix is a system that allows us to scan the teeth and provide customised treatment options, tailored specifically for our patients.

The system incorporates a series of elements including the latest generation of compact intra-oral iTero scanners that enable our highly qualified staff to capture an extremely accurate digital replica of any person’s teeth within minutes.

The major benefit of the iTero scanning system is that patients avoid traditional impression-taking procedures, which can sometimes be unpleasant.

Dr Shimanto Purkayastha uses the data from iTero scanners to customise bracket placement, and transfer information to 3D printed trays. This innovative method of appliance design allows optimal bracket positioning and end of treatment tooth position to provide the best possible function and aesthetics.


Insignia is a computerised system that combines digital treatment planning with specially-made brackets and wires tailored to you.

The process is simple. Following an initial examination, an impression of your teeth is taken for the Insignia smile design lab. Sophisticated Insignia dental imaging software then creates a 3D representation of your bite, while Insignia braces and wires are custom-fabricated with your exact prescription.

Each aspect of the Insignia process is precisely calculated to affect tooth movement in the most optimal way, resulting in fewer office visits and exceptional comfort. And because Insignia treatment is 100 per cent personalised, patients often see a reduction in the amount of time they would ordinarily wear braces.


Advancements in both diagnostic equipment and braces options means the timeframe for achieving a winning smile is not as long as it once was.

While the length of treatment always varies depending on the individual, options like the Damon system have been shown to reduce traditional treatment times by an average of 7.2 months.

That same research also found Damon patients required an average of 47.8 per cent fewer appointments than those treated with conventional braces, while results were achieved more quickly.

The amount of time required for levelling and aligning with conventional braces was 6.0 months, versus just 3.2 months for Damon, a difference of 46.7 per cent.


Twenty years is a long time in the world of treatment, and your specialist orthodontist now has more research and insight at their fingertips than ever before.

In addition to all their training, specialist orthodontists also regularly attend conferences to learn more about the latest treatment options available.

Behind the scenes, we are always discussing promising new options for complex problems or more efficient ways of improving people’s smiles.

As many Norwest patients know, Dr Shimanto Purkayastha is considered a leader in this field as the only Australian Orthodontic Board Certified specialist Orthodontist in the Norwest area.

In addition to continuing his own education, Dr Shimanto shares his expertise with the wider community by hosting education events at the practice for other local dentists and specialists.

The principle behind this is to ensure other dental practitioners can learn and provide the highest level of care for our wider community. This reflects his desire to go above and beyond to ensure clinical excellence for our patients and community.

About Norwest Orthodontics

Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping you achieve a great smile, no matter your age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.

We also have a suite of treatments available that include discreet, removeable Invisalign braces, and welcome the opportunity to work with you to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

You can learn more about our services, or contact us here to make an appointment here.

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