A professor of orthodontics and biomedical engineering has created a device which he believes could use cosmetic dentistry to help correct cleft palates.
Dr Tarek El-Bialy from the University of Alberta in Canada has designed a device which sits on the outside of the teeth and pulls outward on them in the same way that invisible braces would push in.
This expands the teeth and the jaw without the patient having to be referred for surgery.
Dr El-Bialy hopes that if children with cleft palates begin wearing his new device from the age of seven, it will prevent the need for a surgeon to have to cut their jaws in the future.
“I’m looking for a company right now to get it from the prototype to the commercialisation so the patient can use it,” he commented.
According to the Cleft Lip and Palate Association, the condition affects approximately one in 700 babies born in the UK, making it the most common congenital craniofacial abnormality.