Millennial Parents and a Gentler Approach to Orthodontics


(Advertorial for DCE)

A kinder and gentler approach to orthodontics is long overdue. According to Pew Research, “Millennial women now account for the vast majority of annual U.S. births,” and the majority of them say “being a good parent” is the most important goal in their lives. Putting the comfort of their children first, parents more often seek out orthodontic treatments that promote comfort and ease-of-use. Millennials also have lifestyles that are different from preceding generations. About 72% of Millennial women and 83% of Millennial men are employed, so time is limited. Therefore, Millennials cherish fewer office visits that add stress to their already busy schedules. Another characteristic of Millennials is they trust and are comfortable with technology. New orthodontic devices, telemedicine, smartphones, 3D printing, and CBCT imaging have created a paradigm shift in treatment planning and techniques.

One great answer to Millennials’ desires for their children are plastic pod-anchored expanders as opposed to stainless-steel bands being forced onto teeth for cementation. The DeLuke Contoured Expander (DCE) fits this new mold. It could be considered the “POD” expander. A plastic pod is created from a digital scan of the teeth. No impressions are needed for this design, so there is less gagging. The plastic POD intimately covers the teeth entirely and protects them from decay!

The DCE design has also shown better results while requiring fewer appointments and a less intrusive/traumatic experience. CBCT scans have documented that a POD expander creates less unfavorable downward displacement of the upper arch, less unfavorable backward rotation of the mandible, and shows greater upper-airway increases.

Parents are very aware these days of the risk of sleep disturbance for their child’s development and want early intervention. The family dentist that recognizes this and offers a more comfortable solution will be creating a “raving fan.” In some cases, simple clear aligners worn at night will create improvement in arch width, room for the tongue, and an increase in upper airway flow (studies have suggested).


Comfort, in addition to the obvious result of making the patient happy, are the most important factors in determining compliance. DCE is a great option to use because of its pain-free nature because the cementation process is easier and there is no need for uncomfortable separators. Additionally, avoiding the need for bands prevents the possible gingival trauma that may occur during band seating. There’s also no required impression, which reduces an opportunity for gagging.

Fewer office visits are required too, which is desired in a world where schedules are busier than ever with both parents working or having other scheduling conflicts. Using DCE cuts back on appointments because there are no separate appointments for separators or band fitting necessary. There is also less need for emergency appointments.

The priorities of the patients and their parents are changing so your orthodontic approach should evolve too. Embracing new technologies, such as DCE, POD expander, and aligner expansion will help you please your patients while still achieving desired results.

Pew Research. Millennial life: How young adulthood today compares with prior generations. February 14, 2019. Accessed April 23, 2023. oday-compares-with-prior-generations-2/ Pew Research. Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change. February 24, 2010. Accessed April 23, 2023. -to-change/