What Do Dentists Say About Clear Aligners vs. Traditional Dental Braces?

Invisalign clear alignersOne 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.

Braces: Dentists Share Their Orthodontic Experiences (video)

Dental braces dentist survey video

Adult braces, Invisalign, and teen braces are all popular orthodontic treatments.
And dentists don’t just provide dental braces; they’re also patients.

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a dental survey asking dentists if they personally have had braces, if any of their children had them, and if they had any further thoughts on their personal braces experience.

“I had teen braces, and I had them as an adult too, and my teeth still moved,” said a Texas dentist.

Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss dentists’ experiences with braces and orthodontia in this video.

“They have become readily accepted and allow us to provide beautiful smiles and proper occlusions for patients of all ages,” declared a Michigan dentist.

“I wish I did not get them when I was younger,” said a Louisiana dentist. “Four bicuspids were removed, and it ruined my smile.”

“I had regular brackets and arch wire braces at age 40. Like many younger patients, I did not wear my retainer and had relapse,” said a Kentucky dentist. “I had Invisalign ortho at age 50 and loved it compared to brackets and arch wires. I continue to wear my Invisalign retainer going on 8 years now.”

What are your thoughts? Any personal experiences you’d care to share?

Dentists Report on Profits From Braces Patients

Dentists Report on Profits From Braces PatientsThe latest The Wealthy Dentist survey reveals that the average gross production of a new braces patient in the first 9 months of treatment in 2012 was $3,600.

The higher gross production numbers were by those dentists using Invisalign.

This supports a 2012 study that revealed, 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, therefore making them the most profitable form of braces treatment for dentists.

In this survey, general dentists report average production profits between $1,000 and $3,000 for orthodontia work, while orthodontists report profits between $4,000 and $6,000.

However, a few dentists balked at the idea of looking at production profits, with one dentist responding, “We should be concerned about the quality and stability of the result, the experience enjoyed by patient and the net profit after completing and retaining the case. The big production numbers only after 9 months are very attractive but misleading so many dentists.”

What are your thoughts on your new braces patient gross production and the profits from braces for 2012?

Orthodontist Thinks Invisalign Destroys Braces Profession

Orthodontist Thinks Invisalign Destroys Braces ProfessionAccording to a recent The Wealthy Dentist survey, the average cost of Invisalign treatments is $4,823 from general dentists and $5,411 from specialists.

A year ago when we ran this same survey, the results revealed that Invisalign treatment costs an average of $4,622, when provided by a dentist, and $6.945 when treated by a specialist.

It would seem that Invisalign costs have come down in the past year.

In the 2011 survey, the dentists who responded noted that the higher cost for Invisalign braces reflected the lab fee that they pay for the Invisalign trays, and many dentists in the 2012 survey still feel the same, with one dentist saying, “The lab fees are $1,500 and up — way to much!”

Graph: The average cost of Invisalign treatments is $4,823 from general dentists and $5,411 from specialists

Florida and New York reported the most expensive treatment costs at $6,000 and $6,500 respectively, while California and Colorado reported some of the lowest at $2,900 and $3,800.

Invisalign costs are still higher when performed by a specialist with orthodontists reporting the highest cost of $6,900, while their dentist counterparts reported a high cost of $5,400.

Here’s what dentists had to say this year about the cost of Invisalign treatment:

“Without braces to back up the crap result, ethics and morals get trumped for a buck. Quit destroying my profession for a buck!” (Colorado orthodontist)

“Price may be more or less depending upon ease or complexity of the case.” (California dentist)

“Lab cost is too high at $1,600.” (Maryland dentist)

“Alignment costs are too high for getting this treatment mainstream to the people who are willing to have adult orthodontia.” (General dentist)

“Far too expensive. The general attitude and culture within the Invisalign company is hostility and arrogance toward general dentist.” (Georgia dentist)

“The lab fees are excessive and Invisalign could use some competition!” (New York dentist)

What are your thoughts on Invisalign treatment costs? Are lab fees too high? Are they worth the cost? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

Texas Medicaid Braces Dentist Builds Water Park at Mansion

Texas Medicaid Braces Dentist Builds Water Park at MansionAfter months of The Wealthy Dentist’s coverage of the ongoing story behind the Medicaid braces racket in Texas, WFAA-TV is now reporting that one of the dentists being charged with massive fraud is in the process of installing a water park on his mansion property.

The Wealthy Dentist began its coverage of Texas Medicaid orthodontics in June of 2011, when we reported that in 2010, Texas spent $184 million on Medicaid orthodontics — more than the rest of the United States combined.

Nowhere was the lucrative business of Medicaid braces more evident than with Texas dentist Richard Malouf’s mansion in Dallas.

It is a massive French chateau with a pool house big enough for the average American family of four to live in. The Maloufs also own the mansion next door. According to tax records, the combined value of the two properties is more than $14 million.

They are known in Texas as the house that braces built.

Now, as two lawsuits charge dentist Malouf with fraud, he continues to expand his mansion properties.

Real estate columnist Candy Evans told WFAA-TV, “There’s going be a gymnasium, a rock climbing wall and there’s plans for a bowling alley upstairs. There’s going to be exercise rooms.”

According to the WFAA-TV website –

Attorney Jim Moriarty is one of a consortium of attorneys in the action lawsuit, led by Waters & Kraus in Dallas. They say samples of Malouf’s records show that 100 percent of his Medicaid claims were false.

“Frankly, it borders on being obscene,” Moriarty said of the mansion expansion. “The taxpayers of the State of Texas paid to build that house, and are paying to expand that house for a guy who claims to have made his money treating the people of Texas.”

WFAA-TV originally uncovered that Malouf’s All Smiles Dental Centers of Texas had orthodontia billings of up to $10.2 million while under his control.

Since those days, Chicago-based hedge fund Equity Partners acquired All Smiles Dental for an undisclosed sum and is now involved bankruptcy proceedings in Texas.

For more on this story see: Dentist in Medicaid Suit Adding a Water Park to His Mansion


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