One of the most popular dental services that consumers search for online is braces, especially invisible aligners for adults and teens.
We decided to survey dentists about their experience with clear aligners.
Three-quarters of our respondents offer clear aligners. Only 5% offer traditional braces rather than aligners, and
20% refer out all braces patients.
“We refer all braces patients to specialists. Overall, clear aligners burn up too much time [and the] profit margin is not there. We prefer to leave the ortho to the specialists.” Minnesota dentist
“I refer all cases to orthodontists. I have yet to see a clear aligner case finished that even comes close to acceptable for a braces case.” Canada dentist
Invisalign® is arguably the most marketed brand of clear aligners, and is preferred by 65% of the dentists in our survey. ClearCorrect came in second at 24%.
“[Aligners] are clearly here to stay. Invisalign® has reinvigorated my practice even in a down econmoy.” Iowa dentist
More than one-third (35%) of our dentists have worn clear aligners as an adult, and another 5% have worn traditional braces.
“[Aligners are] great when they do what they are ‘expected’ to do, can be costly compared to straightwire.” Missouri dentist, who had clear aligners as an adult
“I had clear aligners as an adult. They are good for many patients, but compliance is a huge part of success and timeliness…….treatment takes significantly longer on some patients largely because they aren’t wearing them 22 hours/day.” New Hampshire dentist
“Yes, I had clear aligners as an adult. Had Invisalign® done on me by an experienced orthodontitst. Does not achieve optimal results. Some crowding remained even with lots of interproximal stripping.” Washington periodontist
Although a 60% majority of the dentists responding to our survey have not personally worn braces, they have a wealth of clinical experience treating patients. And opinions vary widely!
An Arizona orthodontist was markedly critical of clear aligners: “While the clear aligner people won’t tell you this, as an orthodontic specialist I will: 95% of your clear aligner patients will have orthodontic failure within 5 years of treatment. Why? Root torque. Aligners cannot torque roots. Aligners cannot be designed (yet) to accommodate improper root torque. Only a fixed appliance (braces) can.”
An Illinois dentist expressed an opposite opinion: “As with anything else, the dentist’s attention to detail will determine the quality of the result with Invisalign®. I hear some dentists claim that “you don’t get as good a result” with clear retainers. Hogwash! One of these dentists confessed to “eyeballing” his interproximal reductions. You get out of it what you put into it. Wonderful results are achievable consistently. The system works very well, if the dentist does!”
So what’s the dental marketing take away here?
Like it or not, Invisalign® and ClearCorrect are sucessfully creating consumer demand for their clear aligners — that’s built-in marketing for the dentists who choose to offer those brands.
For those dentists who dislike clear aligners, patient inquiries about them represent opportunities to educate and advocate for alternative methods of straightening teeth.