Invisalign: It’s simply another appliance
“Hi Doc, I want Invisalign.” That is one of the most common questions that is heard in an orthodontic office. That statement is very different from: “Hey Doc. I would like straight teeth and a healthy bite. Is Invisalign an option?”.
I was at an Invisalign meeting this Friday and was shocked at how Invisalign is being offered to patients who are not candidates. To make matters worse, patients can now order an at home kit of an Invisalign-like product and straighten their own teeth without the supervision of a doctor. I predict that in as little as 3-5 years, this may create a crisis and us orthodontists will be dealing with all the side effects that arose from treatment that is improperly done.
Here are some facts:
- Invisalign is being offered by untrained and unqualified providers. ‘Qualification’ is often times a one-day webinar that explains how to use the appliance.
- Almost every new dental office has an “Invisalign Provider” sticker on their front door. Often times this is a newly graduated dentist who has no further training in the specialty of orthodontics.
- An orthodontist spends an additional 3 years of specialty training after becoming a dentist.
- When Invisalign is prescribed, the final position of a patients’ teeth is established by a technician who moves the teeth on a computer screen. These technicians are excellent at virtually moving teeth, but they have no understanding of the biology of tooth movement (they don’t need to). It is up to the treating doctor to decide on the pathway of movement, if the movement is feasible and if it can be done safely. This takes time and a knowledge of tooth movement. Most skilled orthodontists modify the initial plan a MINIMUM of 3 times. Surprisingly, of all the Invisalign submissions, 81% are accepted after the initial set up!!!! That is scary.
- If Invisalign (or any type of orthodontic treatment) is improperly prescribed, a patient can have negative side-effects not limited to: an altered and unhealthy bite, gum recession, bone loss around the teeth and loose teeth. This can ultimately lead to tooth loss!
The moral of the story is that Invisalign is simply another tool to move teeth. It is an excellent appliance when used in the proper situation by someone knowledgeable in the biology of tooth movement – an Orthodontist.
There are certainly situations in life where we all want to ‘get the best price’ for something. Taking this chance on your health and your teeth is certainly not worth the risk.