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Invisalign or Braces?

racy, one of our many Invisalign Patients, with his aligners in. Pretty invisible!

I enjoy technology as much as most of you do, but these days I’m not looking for more reasons to spend time in front of a computer unless it’s really worth the time spent.

For Invisalign, it’s worth it.

Eleven years ago I stopped what little Invisalign treatment Dad and I had been doing. The frustrations had compounded and the limitations were too great. It had its place but only for a small segment of our Patients, and even those were more easily and efficiently treated with clear braces if esthetics were a big concern.

Clear braces are a great esthetic option.

Fast-forward to 2011 and the technology had changed immensely, enough that I was willing to give it a try again, but only on the “easy” Patients. Today, the story is different. Instead of “I wonder if Invisalign would work for this Patient?” my mindset is now “why wouldn’t I use Invisalign?” in the majority of cases. My office is now considered an Elite Provider due to our experience with Invisalign, a designation I would’ve been amazed at had someone foretold my future ten years ago.

Now don’t get me wrong, traditional braces still have their place as the workhorse of most orthodontic practices. When I say traditional, I don’t mean old-fashioned; we still use the most cutting edge designs and they’re far better than they used to be if you haven’t looked into them recently. We even have a perfectly clear bracket for the best esthetics possible. Having successfully treated thousands of Patients with braces gives me an experienced perspective when it comes to Invisalign.

Getting a Patient started with aligners

Braces can do just about any movement and have few limitations, but there are many circumstances where Invisalign is as effective if not more so. It’s really a complicated explanation that varies from Patient to Patient depending on the situation and I’ll explain your specific benefits at our initial consultation (which are complimentary, by the way). With our iTero scanner, we can give you a simulation of your new smile in about 15 minutes and without messy impressions.

Brekka scanning a Patient to start Invisalign

Close up of the scan process, it takes digital images of every part of the tooth

The quick comparison is this:

  • Invisalign is easier to keep clean
  • Invisalign is more comfortable than braces
  • You don’t need to worry about poking wires or broken brackets (a huge benefit for long distance Patients)
  • You can eat pretty much whatever you want (brush afterwards just like with braces)
  • They’re darn near invisible. Even I get surprised at how invisible aligners are.
  • With Invisalign, different treatment plans can be “virtually treated” and shown to you ahead of time for decision making.
  • Some people think that lost aligners or compliance are problems. We have about zero compliance issues with kids, but a few with adults (smiley face) and we get you six aligners at no extra charge if one is lost and you can’t move to the next, a situation which is really rare.
  • Sometimes Invisalign is faster than braces (which means less of an investment in some cases) because only the required movements are done. Because we don’t worry about putting braces on where there may be a collision with the opposing teeth we can get all the movements going right away.

Think of aligners as being more “programmable” than braces and that’s where my awesome team and I come in, the programming. We spend more time in the beginning with Invisalign getting everything set up just right because I need to make all the treatment decisions at one time instead of “on the fly” as treatment progresses. In many ways, treating with Invisalign is more challenging than braces. This means more computer time for me (even on days I’m not in the office) prescribing the treatment to Invisalign and with the latest software even moving the teeth virtually myself. However, this means less time for the Patients in office during treatment and less visits overall (which may be a negative considering how enjoyable it is to visit our office).

Time spent prescribing, predicting, and directing the tooth movements virtually and ahead of time.

You may get the feeling I’m a big fan of Invisalign and I am, passionate enough about it that I invited every dental and orthodontic office in southwest North Dakota to a presentation I gave about Invisalign at the end of March of this year.

Sometimes I think braces are a better choice and sometimes I think Invisalign is. My job is not to decide for you, it’s to point out the advantages of each in your specific situation and let you and/or your parent make the decision that fits your lifestyle best. I always make treatment recommendations for you or your child as if you’re a family member and Invisalign is no different. I’ve treated my wife with Invisalign and my daughter is in treatment right now.

Call for a free initial appointment (255-1311) to find out how best to get your smile transformation underway!