Before embarking on Invisalign treatment, an informed consumer should do research on the system and the provider of the service.
While Invisalign is certainly capable of good results, in appropriately selected cases, in the right hands, there are a few issues one should be aware of.
These are common issues:
- More expensive than normal braces
- Mostly less comfortable than braces
- Generally take longer than normal braces
- Lack of precision of final detailing - 'perfection' often not possible
- Residual spacing
- Occlusal (bite) problems - teeth dont meet properly, back teeth may not touch
- Cases may need to be 'finished off' with normal braces if the aligners dont work well enough (at extra expense and time)
- You might need 'buttons' bonded on to many teeth, which looks generally obvious and might look weird
- Commonly need to have teeth 'stripped' (a process where they are narrowed by trimming the enamel off the sides of the teeth with diamond discs)
- Stripping can make teeth look long and narrow in some cases, and removes precious enamel
- Stripped teeth can be more susceptible to decay
- Less accurate than normal braces
- Often make you lisp
- Excessive salivation is common
- Can contribute to breath issues
- Tips teeth rather than moves them bodily, so relapse is more common, and long term retention is necessary
- Relies on perfect patient compliance and cooperation, often for years (you may think you will be compliant, but not many people are!!)
They best suit very simple cases, and generally cant manage very complex problems. One of my major concerns with this system is that it has been marketed to the profession and the public with expectations that risk exceeding reality. Anyone can become 'Invisalign Accredited' by attending a course of a day or two! To become an orthodontist one needs to do a Masters degree of at least 2 years full time.
There are large numbers of dentist general practitioners offering this service, that have had little or no orthodontic training beyond the limited amount offered in dental school.
I would be uncomfortable having Invisalign provided by a general practitioner, who couldnt offer the option of normal braces to either save a case going off the rails, or provide detailed finishing at the end.
In our practice we do not 'dabble' in orthodontics, and we dont believe that a 2 day course qualifies anyone to reliably and comprehensively diagnose all orthodontic situations. We refer to competent experienced orthodontists, who are well trained in ALL treatment modes including Invisalign, and can provide appropriate advice and treatment to our patients