Meyer Orthodontics in Brookings Blog

? What Does NASA Have to Do With Your Braces?

An astronaut looking at Brookings from outer space.

When you think of NASA, you probably imagine spaceships and moonwalking – but did you know that NASA technology is also used in orthodontics?

It’s true!

You don’t have to go to space or even the NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. to benefit from “out of the world” technology. You can find that right here at Meyer Orthodontics in Brookings.

The History of NASA and Oral Health

Since humans first launched into space, there’s been a connection between spaceflight and oral care.

In the early days of space travel, astronauts ate their food from containers inspired by toothpaste tubes. Today, the world of orthodontics and dentistry continues to be impacted by NASA technology.

For example, NASA has worked with the U.S. Navy to develop an instrument that can detect the onset of periodontal disease – a serious gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone – and decrease patient discomfort during examinations.

Space Tech + Orthodontics Today

NASA technology has continued to invade the orthodontic and dentistry fields in many ways over the years.

Originally used to track missiles, transparent polycrystalline alumina (TPA) is used to make invisible braces. TPA is beneficial for invisible braces for several reasons:

  1. It’s stronger than steel.
  2. It has light absorbing qualities which make it transparent.
  3. Its smooth, round properties resist breakage.

Additionally, NASA developed the alloy that is used in braces. 

These shape-memory alloys are metals that return to their original shape when bent, and using this type of metal in braces wires helps to limit discomfort as your teeth are shifting.

Blast-Off into Orthodontic Care in Brookings

Pretty cool, huh?!

We love to educate our Brookings and Madison area patients about life with braces. While space travel may not be in your future, braces might be. Contact us today to schedule a free orthodontic consultation with Dr. Meyer.