Necessity, of course, was the mother of the invention of lingual orthodontics. Dr Kurz, an orthodontist practising in Beverly Hills, was treating many celebrities, who could not afford to sport braces on their famous faces on television and in magazines. In the 1970’s he developed lingual braces which are fixed to the tongue (lingua in Latin) side of the teeth. They were known as ‘invisible braces’, as they were completely hidden behind the teeth. Dr Kurz ushered in a new era for orthodontics! At that time, only the rich and famous could afford the fees for these state-of-the art appliances. In 1986 he formed American Lingual Orthodontic Association and headed it as president. He strove to promote his invention through the association with writings and lectures.
Dr Wong became aware of Dr Kurz’s lingual orthodontics in the late 1980’s. He quickly started to work to add this personal skill in orthodontics to his repertoire of knowledge and application. Luckily, he had 2 full-time in-house technicians (already proficient in indirect-bonding methods) whom he could teach to do the set-ups. Both of the established practices in Perth had full schedules, so the fee at that time ranged between $8,000- $14,000 (still mainly accessible to the rich and famous). Most patients opting for the ‘new’ treatment were entertainers or politicians, due to the expense. (Traditional braces at that time were less than $4,000).
Dr Wong sold the Perth practices in early 2000’s, and moved to America. When he returned to the Australian Gold Coast in 2008, he decided to open a ‘lingual practice’ in Tweed Heads South, with about 80-85% of his patients fitted with these appliances for the first few years. His mission was to make invisible braces affordable for everyone, offering the treatment for fees comparable to fees being charged, by most orthodontists for traditional braces on the front (labial or lip) side of the teeth.
There proved to be a good market for lingual braces, especially with the omnipresent marketing for the Invisalign system of clear aligners since the early 2000’s, also being marketed as ‘invisible braces’, and for similar cost as what he was charging for the lingual braces. Many patients were coming from Robina, Southport, Brisbane, so the decision was made to open a more convenient location for those patients… in the ‘Rocket’ building in Robina, easily accessible from the M1 motorway and the Robina train station (May 2011).
Lingual Braces Explode In Popularity
With the increasing knowledge of existence of lingual braces and their popularity, several patients travel from Sydney and Melbourne to have their treatment with Dr Wong. (Out-of-Towners usually attend the South Tweed practice, as it is less than 15 minutes from the Gold Coast airport in Coolangatta.)
Dr Wong has also made an effort to spread the knowledge of lingual braces to the orthodontic community. He has offered free hands-on seminars to the post graduate orthodontic students in Perth (UWA – 2010) and the Gold Coast (UQ – 2012). He is a contributing member of the Australasian Society of Lingual Orthodontists (ASLO) and lectured at the conference for orthodontists worldwide – Singapore, October 2011, Sydney, August 2013, Singapore February 2015. He continues to experiment with new enhancements and techniques to best serve his patients and the orthodontic community.
Suresmile Robotic Technology Is Integrated
In October 2013 Dr Wong began using this robotic technology for his lingual patients. Not only did this improve results for his patients, but they typically spend 1/3 to 1/2 less time in treatment with fewer appointments. He believes this to be the best innovation in orthodontics, second to Lingual Braces!
Lingual orthodontics is his expertise and his passion, and he feels SureSmile gives him the technology he needs to provide his patients with the most precise and efficient treatment available today!
SureSmile has been such a successful and rewarding enhancement to his skill and efficiency, that Dr Wong now offers it to all patients at no additional cost to them.