A new study suggests some truth to this by revealing that, while Invisalign clear orthodontic aligners cost more in materials than conventional edgewise braces, they require fewer patient visits and a shorter duration of treatment for dentists.
Researchers reported this finding at the recent American Association for Dental Research annual meeting, according to Medscape News.
Researchers evaluated the records of 150 dental patients with mild to moderate class I malocclusion. The types of orthodontic procedures were matched for the amount of initial malocclusion and the number of rotated teeth.
According to Medscape News, here’s what they found:
Conventional braces required a median of 13.6 minutes for a routine visit, whereas Invisalign required 9.9 minutes. Emergency, initial, and final appointments were all longer than regular visits.
Conventional braces required about 2.6 more visits than Invisalign, treatment for 2.4 months longer, 1.1 more emergency visits, 9.7 minutes more in chair time, 1.2 minutes more emergency doctor time, and 86.2 minutes more in total chair time.
However, Invisalign cost $500 to $1441 more in materials and required 5.9 minutes more doctor time than conventional braces.
Measuring profitability as fees minus the cost of materials, Invisalign was more profitable than conventional braces, the researchers found, especially for Invisalign providers who are charged $899 in lab costs, a discount that the appliance maker, Align, offers to orthodontists who do more cases.
For these doctors, Invisalign provided about $1000 of profit per hour of chair time with the first $2750 in fees to the patient, rising to $3250 with $6000 in fees. Doctors who are charged $1549 in lab costs by Align had a profit of about $500 with the first $2750 in fees, rising to $3000 with $6000 in fees.
Braces were less profitable overall, starting at $750 per hour of chair time with the first $2750 in fees, but reaching only $2000 with $6000 in fees.
Invisalign is clearly the profit-maker when it comes to adding value to an orthodontist’s practice.
For more on this story see: Study Shows Invisalign More Profitable Than Braces