What’s all this talk about invisible braces?
Invisible treatment has been around for decades. What is new is the
manufacturing technique and the marketing technique.
Beginning in 2000, a company, based in the San Francisco bay area with manufacturing
facilities overseas, came up with a new way of making invisible
appliances. Rather than making them by hand, they started using machines,
guided by computers. This, they say, improves accuracy and cuts down on
the cost of manufacturing.
Unfortunately, the patient pays more for their orthodontic treatment done by
this invisible method, because the company making the invisible appliance
charges the orthodontist many times the cost of a regular set of braces for
Also new is the way the appliance technique is being marketed directly to the
consumer, rather than to the doctors who must decide if the technique is
appropriate for the patient. As a result, many patients are coming in
requesting a technique which will not work for them.
Since most patients have problems that cannot be treated by the
invisible aligner, many orthodontists in the country offering the
invisible aligner, use it as a marketing technique to get prospective
patients into the office.
Q. Can Dr. Lang do invisible orthodontics?
A. Dr. Lang is quite interested in meeting your needs.
Although he does not use the patented process described above, he will
talk with you about your concerns and look for other alternatives to
conventional braces, if those alternatives will work for you (see
Q. What other ways are there to go "invisible"?
A. Many different techniques have been used over the years to
straighten teeth without visible hardware. These include clear plastic
or glass braces, lingual (tongue side) braces and removable appliances
(which you can take out when you don’t want anything to show). Those
techniques have come into and out of favor over the years, and Dr. Lang
has tried them all. The invisible aligner technique is the latest in a
long list of appliances that don't show. It's simply a removable
appliance that is made from clear plastic so it does not show as much
when it is worn. So it's not really invisible, just not that
Q. How do you decide what appliance to use and why doesn’t everyone get invisible treatment?
Simply put, we need to match the tool to the job. The invisible aligner
is a simple tool that only works for simple treatments – the kind of
treatment that could be done with a regular retainer with springs and
wires. Most patients coming in wanting invisible treatment have
problems that cannot be treated by anything less than braces.
Q. How do I know if my dental problem is simple or complex?
A. You don’t, but your orthodontist does. Come in for an
appointment. Dr. Lang will first determine what your needs are, then offer
you a treatment which best suits your needs.
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