As an orthodontist, I regularly consult with adults who are considering orthodontic treatment for themselves or their children. Many of them have not had much reason to think about orthodontics since their own experiences as teenagers.
Thankfully, treatment options have expanded greatly since the time when metal brackets and rubber bands were the only options for achieving a better smile. One newer, but tested option, is InvisalignTM, which was introduced in 1999. While many of the people I talk with during an initial (and complimentary) exam have heard of Invisalign, they have not experienced the benefits themselves. So they have lots of questions.
I’ve shared some of the questions I hear most often in this Insights.
Q: There are a lot of orthodontists and dentists offering Invisalign. How do I know if I’m going to someone good?
A: Successful Invisalign results, just like successful braces results, come from knowledgeable providers who have a lot of experience using Invisalign. It’s possible for a pilot to do a great job landing an aircraft he’s never flown before on the first try, but do you want to be a passenger on that plane? Likewise, in orthodontics, you want to pick an Invisalign doctor who has broad orthodontic knowledge plus lots of experience using Invisalign.
Q: I noticed a wide price range in Invisalign treatments. Why is this?
A: Many factors go into setting fees for orthodontic treatments. The doctor’s overhead in running his or her facility, length and complexity of treatment, need for limited or partial braces, and the difficulty of the tooth movements needed to get a good result are just some of the factors that go into determining treatment costs. Invisalign is not a one-size-fits-all appliance. Each patient is unique, and his or her treatment must be customized to address individual characteristics.
Q: How do I determine cost of treatment?
A: The only way to do this is to be evaluated by the orthodontist or dentist who offers Invisalign. Most will offer a complimentary initial exam and give you the cost at this visit. Additionally, monthly payment plans make the treatment more affordable.
Q: Is the doctor even necessary? I thought Invisalign makes the aligners.
A: This is a common misconception. Invisalign manufactures the aligners, but the doctor is solely responsible for the diagnosis, treatment and outcome. Invisalign is a laboratory service. If your doctor does a good job with this critical step of the process and you follow instructions, you should get a great outcome.
Q: What about these new at-home aligner treatments I’m hearing about, like Smile Care Club or Crystal Braces?
A: Self-treating to align your teeth is analogous to performing your own face-lift. These are both cosmetic procedures that have the potential to enhance or ruin your looks permanently. Quite frankly, clear aligner therapy without the skill and knowledge of an experienced doctor is a bad idea. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
If you have other questions about Invisalign, or want to know if it is a good option for you or your teen, please call 910-256-8590 to set up a complementary initial exam, or go to www.gobraces.net.
Dr. William V. Gierie received his dental degree and orthodontic specialty training from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is an associate adjunct faculty member in the orthodontic department. Dr. Gierie is in the top 1 percent of all Invisalign doctors in North America and lectures extensively on Invisalign. He maintains a private orthodontic practice in Wilmington, N.C., at 700 Military Cutoff Road, Suite 100. For more information, call 910-256-8590 or go to www.gobraces.net.