For many young people, getting braces is just part of being a teenager.
But with dances and other social events, being a "metal mouth" can be a real drag.
Now a new procedure could make braces less painful in many ways.
Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta with today's Health Minute.
Jessica Thompson is a pretty 16 year old from Monrovia, Maryland.
So when she was told she would need braces, she wasn't thrilled.
Her parents understood.
"She did not want to have them when she got her driver's license."
Jessica eventually chose a new procedure called Sure Smile.
The orthodontist uses an image scanner to produce 3-d pictures of the teeth.
Using the images, the physician can view the teeth on a computer from all angles, making exact adjustments on the computer model.
Then braces are applied to the teeth and the three d model is refined and sent to the company's lab where a robot customizes special wires for an exact fit to the braces.
Precision is key.
The plan is accurate to a tenth of a millimeter.
So we need wires that reproduce that accuracy and the robots are able to do that which I could not do that by hand."
Not only is the procedure more accurate than conventional braces but it requires fewer office visits, and the average treatment time is almost 40 percent faster.
"Which I'm really happy about, cause the quicker it is, the happier I am."
Which means no braces when Jessica gets behind the wheel of her car.
For today's Health Minute, I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
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