It seems like every day a new company promising you straight, beautiful teeth for less money and less time pops up. How do you sort through the myriad options to get the best quality for your effort and investment? Here are our thoughts!
As much as those of us who had braces in high school might wish it so, the advent of removable aligner technology has not made traditional braces obsolete. While they’ve done a lot to make the treatment more palatable with advances in color and material, some cases still require braces that are physically attached to your teeth. At our office, we’re likely to suggest you see a traditional orthodontist if you have:
- Anatomical misalignment of your jaw
- Bilateral crossbite
- A significant need to push teeth further into the supporting bone
- Molars that are severely tipped
Clear Aligner Therapy in an office
With the technology behind clear aligner therapy - defined as any treatment that uses removable, clear aligners to achieve movement of the teeth - growing every day, it’s natural that a host of companies would throw their hat into the ring. So how do you decide which one to trust? First things first, let’s look at some of the issues clear aligner therapy can treat:
- Overly crowded teeth
- Widely spaced teeth
- Unilateral Crossbites
In our office, we’re proud to offer both SureSmile and Invisalign therapies. Our doctors meet with prospective patients to determine what will best suit their needs, but as a general rule we recommend one over the other in the following cases:
- SureSmile - This U.S. based company is our choice for cases where we need to expand your arches (push your teeth out) while making sure the teeth stay properly and firmly rooted in the available bone. The precision of this therapy and its integration with our 3D CBCT technology make it especially useful for cases where tissue and bone support are a concern and the potential for recession is high.
- Invisalign - Invisalign is still the giant in its field, and currently the only one to allow unlimited aligners/refinements for 3 years from the start of the case. We recommend Invisalign for cases that will likely require longer treatment.
Clear Aligner Therapy in your home
You might be rolling your eyes already, assuming that we’re here to talk you out of the growing number of at home treatment options simply because we aren’t a part of them. And we get that instinct, but promise our concerns are not based on that!!
DIY aligners are becoming increasingly popular, and their ads promise a level of success that worries professional dentists across the board for a number of reasons:
- User error - impressions of teeth are hard to get right! We have an entire team of highly trained assistants, hygienists, and dentists, and we still have to retake an impression on occasion. If the impressions aren’t right in these DIY kits, the movement you’ll be able to achieve will be severely limited.
- Lack of dentist supervision - it would be fantastic if tooth movement was so predictable that it required little input after that first impression, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Lack of direct IRL professional supervision can result in movement that is too fast, worse for your bite, or damaging to your tissue and bone.
- Liability - most of these companies will make you sign a release prior to starting treatment, so if you experience any of the above problems you may not have any recourse.
- Adjustments - typically, only one course of treatment is paid for with these companies. If you have trouble with the system or don’t achieve the level of movement you desire, you’ll need to either see a dentist to correct or pay for another round of DIY treatment.
As with most things, these treatments are very specific to the individual and the “best” option depends entirely on your needs and desires. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!