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Does Invisalign have a bad reputation?

Occasionally patients visiting our office will express surprise when we recommend the Invisalign appliance.  They will report that they were told by their dentist (or another orthodontist) that Invisalign couldn’t correct their specific condition.  They wonder why those doctors seem to disagree with our office?  Sometimes, it seems that Invisalign has a bad a reputation.

The question of whether Invisalign has a good reputation or not depends on who you talk to.  As the Invisalign appliance has been around since the turn of the century (read more here about Clear Aligners), it has experienced a significant number of improvements.  The earlier versions of the appliance were certainly rudimentary and enterprising dentists and orthodontists may have been “burned” trying to treat conditions that were challenging or nearly impossible with this early version of the appliance.  Those doctors would soon learn that even though a tooth doesn’t care whether “braces” or clear aligners are pushing and pulling it, the doctor’s job is very different when using clear aligners.  For patients whose treatment didn’t seem to work out very well and their orthodontists who had to offer to “switch”  their patient to braces, this may have left a sour taste in their mouth.  Orthodontists all over the world are familiar with brackets and archwires and they typically know how to place brackets and bend wire to move teeth where they need to go.  The addition of clear aligners to the toolbox of an orthodontic clinician has resulted in some growing pains.  Clear aligners are not like braces.  They don’t treat the same clinical conditions the way braces do.  In some scenarios they are better at treating a given clinical condition.  For another clinical condition, braces may be the better choice.  During the last decade some orthodontists have persevered to learn how to work with this new appliance in a “paradigm shift” of orthodontic treatment.  Other orthodontists prefer to stick with what they know and understand.  Invisalign’s reputation is slowly improving as newer generations of orthodontists are introduced to this and other similar appliances in residency and practicing orthodontists slowly realize that it can accomplish much more than they thought.

Ultimately, Invisalign’s reputation is good or bad depending on who you ask.