Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Are all Invisible Aligners the Same?

By: | Monday, November 18th, 2019 | Invisalign

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Not very long ago, the only path to a straight smile was through orthodontia. Even with changes to profile and materials, braces were pretty bulky. The brackets and wires patients were required to wear at all times overpowered the mouth both physically and cosmetically. No one really loved this but the outcome was worth the cost. It still is, actually, but we now have choices in how we straighten our teeth. The choice that many people make is to do so with invisible aligners.

Invisalign, the first of this kind of treatment, was developed in 1997. That’s a long time to be around! Dentists around the world still use this system with great success. The outcome of treatment is achieved by wearing custom-made aligners 22 hours a day. Though aligners can be removed, they shouldn’t be left out for too long. Patients are advised to take them out for meals and for brushing and flossing. Occasionally, they may be taken out for pictures or other special circumstances.

In light of the strong demand for convenient, discreet treatment, several other invisible aligner startups have recently emerged. SmileClubDirect is one of the most well-known. This type of system seems even more convenient and cost-effective because it cuts out the “middle-man” and puts orthodontic care in the hands of the patient through mail-order services. Seeing that the middle man in this scenario is the dentist, elimination may not be the best thing for the patient.

Invisalign Details

Invisalign’s RealSelf “Worth It” rating is over 90% with thousands of patients having undergone this treatment. The duration of care may range from as little as 6 months to a year and a half. What sets Invisalign apart from other systems is the degree of expert involvement in both the planning and active phases of treatment. This involvement of a trained dentist allows patients to address mild to complex issues including crowding, overlapping, gaps, and bite issues.

One of the important details about Invisalign that is directly related to results is the fact that this system goes beyond plastic aligners. In many cases, attachments are also worn. These transparent handles are affixed to teeth in a specific way that gets gripped by the aligners to achieve more complex movements. Dentists report that Invisalign attachments achieve much more than aligners could on their own.

Direct-to-Consumer Aligners

Aligners like those that are offered by SmileDirectClub have a RealSelf rating of about 57%. The average course of treatment lasts 6 months. Millions of dollars have been made by direct-to-consumer companies, even though patients have no meaningful contact with a dental professional. According to some people (we could hardly call them patients) self-treated with SmileDirectClub aligners, the lack of interaction made them wonder if anyone was overseeing their treatment at all. Some clients reported having a difficult time managing their care without a clear point-person to speak with about questions or concerns.

These concerns are more like complaints. What is concerning to dental professionals about direct-to-consumer aligners is that no x-rays are taken before treatment begins. Clients are asked only to submit photos to receive their prescribed aligners. Without x-rays, there is no way to know if the client has gum disease, impacted teeth, or root issues that could affect the outcome of treatment. Some dentists report seeing patients who self-treated with this type of aligner system only to find that, while their smile looks better, the teeth at the back of their mouth no longer meet.

The bottom line about aligners is that they are a big deal. Moving teeth is a big deal. When done correctly, teeth-straightening can improve function, hygiene, and appearance. When done incorrectly, teeth-straightening can create bite and joint problems that then require corrective treatment.

Choose Invisalign for your healthiest smile. Choose Dr. Stephen Price because he is Burke’s Premier Invisalign Provider.



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