Invisalign is a method of straightening teeth where removable plastic trays can be used to put selective pressure on certain teeth to move them instead of using traditional braces and wires. The advantages include no dietary restrictions, no wires or brackets to cut lips or cheeks and the ability to floss and clean teeth better.
For years, I was a huge opponent of the idea of Invisalign. When I got certified back in 2004 and did about 50 cases as a general dentist, I never got gorgeous results. Then I became an orthodontist, spent 2 1/2 years learning about how teeth really move and how faces grow and still felt that wires and brackets were still the right way to move teeth.
In the last several years, Invisalign has done a phenomenal job of changing the tools that allow clinicians to move teeth using plastic trays. The “attachments” they use are now allowing more predictable outcomes and having thrown myself into hundreds of hours of Invisalign education from the best in the world, I can safely tell you that my Invisalign outcomes not only compare to my traditional “braces” outcomes, but I’m getting there quicker and more predictably. I can handle even the most difficult Invisalign case with ease and have even had gorgeous outcomes on younger patients. YES, you CAN do Invisalign on younger patients.
But there are several things you MUST know before you consider Invisalign:
- Don’t get impressions taken using molds. I use the Itero scanner shown below. No more “goopy” molds. No more mess and best of all, it’s far more accurate than the old methods. In less than 10 minutes I create a digital 3D version of the patient’s mouth and can send it digitally to Invisalign. I can’t believe that anyone would still use the old method of impressions for Invisalign because they are far less accurate, comfortable or predictable than digital scanning.
- A general dentist is NOT a specialist. I was a general dentist for 20 years before becoming an orthodontist. Don’t let any general dentist convince you that they can do tooth moving anywhere near as well as someone who only moves teeth for a living. Don’t believe me? Ask any general dentist if they would let a general surgeon do their hip replacement, or if they would go to an orthopedist who has the additional training only in hips. I’ve seen horrible Invisalign outcomes that have lifelong consequences for the patients who trusted a general dentist.
- There will always be a refinement. When one gets scanned for Invisalign, all of their trays are delivered to the orthodontist at once. If the teeth don’t move as the computer expected, it’s no big deal. I can simply scan real quickly and get new trays made again. I tell patients that every single good Invisalign provider I know does at least one refinement for every case. General dentists do them rarely. See point number 2.
- Don’t accept cheap knockoffs. There are many cheaper alternatives to Invisalign. At the time of this writing, the ONLY reason why anyone would consider any option to Invisalign is that they want to save money. Invisalign is a brand name and is still the flagship way of straightening teeth using clear aligners and their doctor interface and finish and delivery of their aligners are unmatched by any other program. Don’t be fooled by cheaper imitations.
- The devil is in the details. Everyone thinks that the orthodontist scans the patient, sends it to Invisalign and they do all the work. The truth is that there is a thing called the “clinicheck” where the clinician tells Invisalign what to do and how to move the teeth. If one just follows Invisalign’s suggestions and doesn’t know how to move teeth (see point 2) the outcomes won’t be the same. The skill of the clinician providing Invisalign plays a huge role in the outcome.
- Free consultations are the norm. If someone charges you for an Invisalign consultation, run. Not much more needs to be said about this.
I’m always here for you if you have any questions about how to get a straighter smile. Just email me at doc@KriegerOrthodontics.com or call the office at 972-899-1465 to schedule a complementary consultation for you or your child.
Wishing you the best,
Glenn Krieger, DDS, MS, FAGD