PRODUCTS: Gems for Your Pearly Whites

Gems for Your Pearly Whites

The million or so Americans who start orthodontic care each year can brace themselves to smile: the company that came up with Band-Aids has turned its attention to teeth. Johnson & Johnson's orthodontic division last week unveiled a new kind of bracket, the part of braces that affixes to the teeth. Called Starfire brackets, they are made of transparent, stain-proof sapphire. They may become an attractive alternative to clear brackets made of plastic, which tend to discolor. Traditional metallic braces, though still widely used, give some self-conscious patients the feeling that they resemble James Bond's cinematic nemesis Jaws.

The synthetic sapphire...

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