Orthodontic finishing research wins European Orthodontic Society research grant
Orthodontic finishing may add up to a perfect bite, but does it also improve patients’ health? That’s the question behind assistant professor Iacopo Cioffi’s latest research project, which has just been awarded a one-year $10,000 U.S. European Orthodontic Society research grant, announced last month.
The project represents the first-ever evidence-based examination of whether or not masticatory function — the energy expended by chewing — improves with higher quality orthodontic detailing. While the American Board of Orthodontics sets very high criteria for orthodontic finishing, previous research has looked at the effects of orthodontic treatment on facial aesthetics — not health.
“It’s a big gap in knowledge that we're trying to fill,” adds Cioffi. His co-researcher on the project is MSc student Dr. Jocelyne Shim.
Over the course of the study, participants who completed orthodontic treatment in a period ranging from six months to a few years prior undergo standardized testing. One of the tests is a silicon chew test, where particles will be measured to determine chewing performance — with help from collaborators in the department of Physics.
While the project won’t wrap up until the spring of 2019, Cioffi says the preliminary results suggest that patients with superior orthodontic finishing have more efficient jaw muscles and do less work to chew; changes to patients’ occlusions may be worth far more than a pretty smile.
Photo: courtesy Jeff Comber, UofT Dentistry