When it comes to Invisalign clear aligner treatment, there are differences between how general dentists and orthodontists perform orthodontic services. There are benefits and limitations to each.
It is a misconception that Invisalign treatment is the same regardless of the doctor. Invisalign is a treatment appliance manufactured by a technology company according to a doctor's prescription. It is the individual doctor who designs and manages the treatment. Any dentist can purchase braces or aligners, but it is their training and experience that defines the quality of the results.
Orthodontic treatment is more than just straightening teeth. As the teeth move, the bite itself adjusts. If orthodontic treatment is not done correctly, the bite will worsen leading to tooth loss, damage to the periodontal structures and even jaw joint damage. Receiving proper treatment the first time can save the patient time, money, irreversible damage to their teeth and the need to repeat the treatment again later.
Benefits of a Dentist Office
There are benefits of aligner treatment in your dentist's office. It's a familiar, trusted and convenient location. Often, your orthodontic treatment must be coordinated with your dental treatment, so performing orthodontics in the same practice makes it easier. Additionally, after you achieve your orthodontic result, your dentist can help monitor your retention phase during your regular dental visits, to avoid relapse.
Benefits of an Orthodontist Specialist
Orthodontists are tooth movement experts and have 2-3 years of post-doctoral training in orthodontic diagnosis, treatment planning, biomechanics, treatment systems and case management, and some, but not all, orthodontists are very experienced with Invisalign. Orthodontists are trained to design treatments that achieve multiple goals, including aesthetics, bite and jaw joint function, periodontal health and overall oral health.
Cost may be less at your general dentist due to difference in experience level. However, sometimes an orthodontist is actually more cost competitive since they may be in a higher volume purchase tier with Invisalign and have systems in place that more efficiently manage treatment. This means treatment times, treatment experience and the results are often much better.
Experience + Technology = More Efficiency and Faster Treatment
Some orthodontists are so experienced with Invisalign that it is a subspecialty and they may use additional technology to provide a more efficient and faster treatment experience.
Treatment Management App
Evenly uses a mobile scanning app to manage patient progress. Since the treatment is predetermined on a computer model, traditional office visits are mostly for verifying aligner fit. If the aligners fit well, treatment is on track and the patient can move to the next set of aligners. Our mobile app makes treatment more convenient, efficient and faster. Patients can scan their teeth weekly from the comfort of their home, which is just as efficient as in-office visits, but is more convenient for the patient. Traditionally, office visits occur every month or two which is not frequent enough and treatment is often already off-track. The mobile app allows patients to check-in weekly and if they are on track, move to the next set of aligners – reducing treatment time by months or even years. The app is just a tool and can only replace an orthodontic visit when managed by an experienced, expert team.
Experienced doctors may also use a gentle vibration device to stimulate bone remodeling and assist with aligner fit. Vibration also soothes any discomfort of a new aligner or one that is a little off track. Combining remote monitoring with vibration technology is synergistic in achieving treatment efficiency. The mobile app keeps patients from getting off track but if they do, the vibration gets them back on track.
There are benefits of having Invisalign with your dentist and benefits of being under the care of an orthodontic specialist. At Evenly, we have a program that gives the patient the benefit of both. We work collaboratively with general dentists performing Invisalign in their practice. Patients have the convenience and oversight of their trusted dentist with the expertise and management of one of America's most renowned Invisalign orthodontists. Our Evenly program is now available at numerous dental practices – visit evenly.com to learn more.