Choosing an Invisalign Dentist vs Orthodontist
Why Does Your Invisalign Dentist Matter?
The success or failure of orthodontic treatment using invisalign braces is dependent to a large extent on your choice of Invisalign dentist or invisalign orthodontist. Many people make this important decision taking into consideration only the cost of Invisalign. However, there are many other factors that should be taken into account when picking an Invisalign provider. This articles will take a look at these considerations in the hope of helping you in your choice and explain why choosing and Invisalign dentist or othodontist on the basis of price alone could prevent you getting the final result you want.
Invisalign Dentist or Orthodontist?
Invisalign braces can be offered by both Invisalign dentists and orthodontists. Invisalign allows either group to be certified.Many people however are unaware of the difference between the two.
Dentists are general providers who have a university qualification in dentistry. Some may call themselves cosmetic dentists or similar but in most countries and states there is no real meaning attached to this other than that they are indicating that they are prepared to do work for cosmetic as well as health reasons. Some cosmetic dentists may also have additional training or be a member of a cosmetic dentist association and this information may be provided in their offices or on their website, however, this is not a given and should not be assumed. Being an Invisalign dentist means nothing more than that they have completed a number of days training in the Invisalign training program.
Orthodontists in most countries have trained in general dentistry but have then gone back to university to study again in the specialisation of orthodontics or teeth movement. Often this training requires several extra years at university.. The difference between a dentist and an orthodontist can be viewed as similar to a general family doctor and a cardiologist. One is a specialist in a particular area, another does more general dentistry work.
Many general dentists offering Invisalign may have very limited experience in tooth movement and orthodontics. However they may be a cheaper which is why they are an attractive option to some people.
A Real Invisalign Patient
Tooth Whitening As Used By Orthodontists
When choosing an Invisalign dentist or orthodontist it is absolutely vital that you check with them how much experience they have as a provider. In my own search for an orthodontist I saw one orthodontist who seemed initially to be the best choice for me. However, after emailing him some time after my consultation to enquire about the number of cases he had completed I was told that he had not finished a single case.
If you have a very simple problem that is easily solved you may be prepared to pick a provider with less experience, particularly if they offer a cheaper cost. However, if your case is complex you should think very carefully about the experience level of your provider.
Invisalign experience rankings:
The Invisalign website allows a doctor search to find Invisalign dentists or orthodontists in your local area. They also offer a rating system to help you judge their level of experience:
*Premier Provider Elite:has achieved an extraordinary level of Invisalign case experience.
*Premier Provider: has achieved an exceptional level of Invisalign case experience.
There is also a standard provider for providers with less experience.
There is a specific button next to certain providers with either a 1000 or 500 which indicates that they have completed at least this number of patients.
There is also a rating of platinum elite, platinum, gold and silver with descending levels of experience. In addition there are standard providers.
Platinum Elite Providers: have the highest level of experience with Invisalign treatment based on the number of patients treated
Platinum Provider:have a high level of experience with Invisalign treatment based on the number of patients treated
There are also standard providers in Australia.
For those countries not listed please use the doctor search function on the Invisalign website for examples of the ratings in your region
Invisalign Treatment Offered
Many people assume that Invisalign and it's providers are uniform in their treatment. This is not the case. Different providers vary enormously in both the way that they use Invisalign and their ability and willingness to take on more complex cases.
Some providers take on only the simplest cases as their experience is insufficient to allow them to feel comfortable with treating any more complex cases. Other Invisalign providers have reached the stage where they feel comfortable to treat almost any case with Invisalign. Just because one provider turns you down for Invisalign treatment does not mean that all of them will. It also means that they may suggest different ways of approaching your treatment.
It may be prudent to ask for Invisalign before and after pictures of patients with similar problems to your own.
Location, Location, Location
I personally travel over 20km to see my orthodontist simply because I think he is more experienced than those closer to my home. However, for many people this might be an inconvenience. You may need to see your Invisalign dentist every 2-8 weeks depending what stage you are at in your treatment so distance to travel should be taken into account. The times when I have wished my own provider was nearer have almost all been in situations where I needed immediate advice such as when I have cracked an aligner.
Whilst your Invisalign dentist or orthodontist doesn't have to be your best friend you will be seeing a lot of them. You also need to have trust and confidence in their abilities, so finding the right personality match could be very important to the percieved success or failure of your treatment.
I believe that it is also important to consider the flexibility of your orthodontist and their willingness to take into account your wishes and desires during the process. Many Invisalign patients are adults and have chosen the Invisalign system very specifically because of it's low visibility and the ability to remove the aligners. One orthodontist that I visited insisted that following treatment he would require me to wear a fixed metal bar behind my teeth and encircling some of my molars. For me, this made treatment unacceptable. The orthodontist I chose in the end was prepared to listen to my wishes and devise an alternative.
Get more than one opinion!
Getting more than one opinion can be very useful when selecting an Invisalign dentist. Not only might you save money you may get a better idea of the different treatment options available.
I would recommend getting at least 3 opinions and more if you are not entirely comfortable with the people that you have visited. If you are unable to get free consultations it can sometimes be useful to send pictures (upper and lower arches with mouth open) to different providers to ask whether they would be likely to be able to treat you. This will save you money if they do not offer the kind of treatment that you require.
Cost of Invisalign.
Whichever way you look at it, Invisalign isn't cheap. In fact there can be enormous differences in the prices that dentists and orthodontists charge. As stated above I think it is important to consider other factors than just costs, but of course cost is also part of the decision making process. Also remember that your health fund may or may not cover part of the treatment. Always check before signing up.
The important questions to ask before signing an Invisalign contract are:
- How much is the total cost?
- What does this include?
- Are there additional costs for moulds/ records?
- What Invisalign system will be used i.e. Full Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, Invisalign Express?
- Are refinements included in the costs?
- Are retainers included in the costs? If not how much are they?
- If treatment does not go to plan and a mid course correction is required is there an additional cost?
- If an aligner is lost/ broken who pays for a replacement?
- When treatment it completed how often do I need to return and what are the costs?
- Are there payment plans available?
- Is there a discount for paying up front?
- Will this treatment be covered by a health fund.
- If I give up part way through the treatment do I need to continue to pay for the treatment?
There will no doubt be additional questions that you may have, but these are some of the important questions to ask.
To read more from an actual patient who has experienced using Invisalign for over a year please click on the following link. There are some useful additional insights into Choosing an Invisalign dentist.
Is your toothbrush kept in the same room as a toilet?
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