Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Easier Orthodontics

PostedJuly 8, 2005

Researchers are injecting a natural hormone—called Relaxin—into orthodontic patients' gums in a first of its kind trial.  Timothy Wheeler, a University of Florida orthodontist, says it could make tooth movement less painful and cut treatment time in half.  Teeth are held in place by both bone and tough, elastic, fibrous tissue.  Wheeler hopes Relaxin will temporarily soften the fibers, loosening their hold on teeth.  Once teeth are perfectly aligned, he says a second injection might loosen the fibers again, re-setting them so they don't pull the teeth back.  That could mean no more retainers.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.