Researchers from Saudi Arabia have demonstrated a new approach to smart orthodontics with their smart dental brace. The device relies on a single 3D-printed dental brace that features a near-infrared red light from a technically flexible LED powered by flexible bio-safe batteries.

The integration of red light therapy into the dental brace is to enhance bone regeneration, reducing overall time of bracket use. The brace itself is 3D printed, allowing for personalization, and is semi-transparent.

“Integration of electronic devices in 3D printed dental aligners, as we have demonstrated here, is a pragmatic approach towards implementing a flexible electronic technology in personalized advanced healthcare, particularly in orthodontics,” Muhammad Mustafa Hussain, associate professor of electrical engineering at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, told the online news site Nanowerk. “The next stage of our work will be to demonstrate diagnostics in the smart dental brace in which sensors are able to detect the pressure exerted by aligners on teeth. This might help orthodontists estimate the force required by aligners; thus providing both diagnostic and treatment capabilities in dental braces. “

The researchers’ paper appears in the journal npj Flexible Electronics.