Invisalign Starter Guide
One of the latest and most amazing innovations developed in the dentistry industry in thelast years is Invisalign: the most advance system using computers to design smiles and move teeth as used by NASA for planning their space missions.
Invisalign uses a sequence of clear semi elastic trays, commonly known as aligner, made of polyurethane to move and straighten teeth. Each set of aligners are custom-made for each patient. In the early days, movement of teeth were made with thermoplastic plates but they required several impressions to be able to achieve the results in a very inaccurate way. These days, Invisalign is a mature product with more than 10 years in the market, and almost anyone at any age can take advantage of an almost invisible way to straighten their teeth.
Most of my new patients are concern about two things when it comes to Invisalign: the first is the cost and the second one is the pain.
The cost is very different between providers so I always suggest to do a bit of research in this area, but as each case is different, I suggest that difficult cases should try an experienced provider such as an Elite Platinum Provider, and if is possible, without the price tag.
As for reports of my own patients, some of them who already had braces in the past, have confirmed that the invisible aligners are more comfortable and less painful than traditional braces, in a scale of 1-10 traditional braces could be around 8, meanwhile, Invisalign sits between 2 and 3. I have even treated patients who are using braces and have requested to be switched to Invisalign aligners, and almost straight away they could feel the difference.
Be aware that Invisalign is a product where the dentist does not have full control over the treatment as when the orthodontic treatment is done with traditional braces, so in cases where the final result is not fully achieved there is the possibility of refinements where the patient receives another few sets of aligners, usually at no cost, to complete the treatment and achieve almost 98-100% of the planed outcome.
There is an incredible amount of sites with information and patient reports talking about their experiences with Invisalign, some are positive and some other negative.
Note that most of the studies have been performed by Invisalign (Santa Clara, USA) but accurate studies are yet to be made under standardized systems and practitioners. The results were based on patients with Class I occlusions (spacing and crowding problems on non-molar teeth) where simple movements to align teeth were required. Most of these studies involved adult patients with fully erupted adult dentition, so clinicians will have to rely on their Invisalign clinical experience, the opinions of experts and the limited published evidence when using Invisalign appliances. There is a general acknowledgment that Invisalign is not for every single orthodontic case and that the experience of the clinician is as important as the case itself.
Based on my personal experience providing Invisalign for the last 6 years, almost 90-95% of adult cases can be treated without major problems. Some complex cases can be treated with a combination of Invisalign and some other Cosmetic Dentistry technique. As an independent unbiased dentist, I can say that around 98% of my patients are very happy with the option and results with Invisalign.
In my clinical experience, the best results are achieved when patients are motivated to wear the aligners. In my own experience less than 2% of patients will discontinue the procedure and some of the reasons behind this are:
Cost involved, as the patient pays for its own treatment in full even if they decide not to complete it,
Simple cases will be more likely to be completed,
Speed of treatment,
Desire to look better in the community,
Improve of self esteem.
In order to reduce the risk of a patient stoping the treatment, I believe, as an honest practitioner, a psychological assessment is required.