Ok to do invisalign with a dentist vs. orthodontist?
July 20, 2017 5:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of doing invisalign. I haven't decided for sure, but it's something I think about because my top front teeth are whacky and it bugs me. I'm wondering if a trained dentist is ok for this, or if I should see an orthodontist. I'd prefer to go to my dentist -- because she's right down the street, and so the multiple visits would be easier. Thoughts?
posted by gigondas to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had Invisalign through my dentist and it was a fine experience. Really the dentist or orthodontist doesn't have much say in the process. A mold is taken of your teeth, and photos of your smile. That's sent off to Invisalign and you get back the trays. It's really just a matter of checking in with the dentist every once in a while to make sure everything is okay.

Oh, the dentist puts in the little lumps (for lack of a better word) that hold the trays in place and removes them at the end.
posted by We'll all float on okay at 5:32 AM on July 20, 2017

Response by poster: Also, if you've had invisalign and would be willing to answer a couple questions privately, let me know! Thanks.
posted by gigondas at 5:35 AM on July 20, 2017

Every mouth is different. There are some cases that are more complicated than Invisalign can handle well. If your smile is on the borderline it's worth it to have a board certified orthodontist make the call. (Invisalign doesn't do a great job with some things, even when an orthodontist is overseeing your use of the product.)

Invisalign is also slower than braces and can be much more expensive. If you aren't going to west the trays 20-22 hours a day, definitely go for traditional braces.

Your dentist may also feel some pressure from Invisalign to 'sell' a certain number of cars each month, which can lead to some fairly dodgy calls over whether to refer you out to an orthodontist. There is an incentive structure for orthodontists as well, so get a few opinions.

As an adult you may be able to negotiate a discount for attending all of your appointments during the quieter late morning hours, which may make finding an orthodontist near work a sensible choice.
posted by bilabial at 6:04 AM on July 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm doing Invisalign right now. I have a complicated problem and am going to an orthodontist. You can memail me if you want.
posted by BibiRose at 6:18 AM on July 20, 2017

I am an Invisalign patient, AMA!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:14 AM on July 20, 2017

I did Invisalign via my dentist a number of years ago, and it went very well. But I had a really good, trusting relationship with my dentist already, so I wasn't too worried about him trying to sell it to me if he didn't think it would be a good fit for me. He didn't bring it up, I did.

I too am happy to answer questions, but my experience was some time ago (which may be good if you're curious about the long term result, but not as much if you have questions about the details of the process).
posted by primethyme at 10:12 AM on July 20, 2017

I am wrapping up my year with invisalign so feel free to ask questions. I'm happy to answer in a post or memails. I started discussing invisalign with a dentist but ending up with an orthodontist. While my case was pretty simple though more about my bite than straightening a couple teeth, I'm happy I am with someone who knows more. My ortho goes to extra training with invisalign. They knew to do a second round of liners and how to best request so that my bite was adjusted more. Now I'm wearing liners that he cut manually to even more balance my bite off my front teeth. Not sure my dentist would know that. Also, the dentist did the old-fashioned molds instead of the 3-D camera that copies my teeth for more comfort and I imagine more precision. One thing to know is that often there are more weeks of trays that you are initially told. I was told 21-24 weeks, then after 24 weeks, went into 13 more weeks, then 3 more with partial lines, now 13 more wearing 16 hours/day before I go back for retainer liner(s) or implanted retainers - all included in same quoted price.
posted by RoadScholar at 11:05 AM on July 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Keep in mind that all orthodontists have gone to dental school and then do another 2+ years of specialty training. Then once they start working, basically all they do everyday is straighten teeth and jaws. Invisalign is just one tool in their arsenal.

Dentists spend their days cleaning teeth, filling cavities, doing check ups, etc. Invisalign is a source of side income for them.

Just about all orthodontists will do free consultations. Why not make an appointment with two or three and see what they say and what their fees are?
posted by Leontine at 11:12 AM on July 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

One advantage of an orthodontist is that they can tell if Invisalign is the best option for you. Another is that, if Invisalign doesn't do the whole job, the orthodontist can use other methods to finish the job (or start it). I had Invisalign and it fixed about 95% of what I wanted, and I could have had regular braces to get that last 5% right, but decided it wasn't worth it. However, a dentist would not have been able to do that for me. My daughter is just finishing regular braces for a major reconstruction job, and will finish with Invisalign. In other words, it's not all or nothing necessarily, and only an orthodontist can mix and match if appropriate.
posted by Capri at 3:24 PM on July 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

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