Finding the Right Invisalign provider

I am sure that a lot of parents looking to find the right orthodontist, for either themselves or their children, feel a bit overwhelmed with the number of options out there. Fortunately, there are many resources that can make the whole process much easier. A beautiful smile is an important investment. Hopefully, after reading this post you can be more comfortable choosing an orthodontist in your area….at least with respect to Invisalign.

The best place to begin your search for an Invisalign provider is on the find a preferred provider page at Invisalign’s official site. Enter your zip code, and you will get a list of results of Invisalign providers (dentists and orthodontists) in your area along with a great big map.

So why does all this even matter?!…the search results are ordered by the number of Invisalign cases each provider completed last year. This doesn’t necessarily mean the providers at the top have the most overall experience with Invisalign, but the ones that treated the most cases the previous year will be at the top.Invisalign Providers Map

You’ll notice that there are three categories of providers: Preferred, Premier, and Premier Elite. It would be nice if they gave you an actual answer about what these categories mean, but luckily I am here to give you the inside scoop.

Just to offer some background, before any dentist or orthodontist can offer Invisalign to their patients they must complete a one day training course. Dentists complete a course called Clear Essentials I and orthodontists complete the Clear Principles training course.

Anyway… here is the down low on those proficiency levels:

Preferred Provider: 
• Complete 10 continuing education Invisalign classes per year (online or in-person)
• Treat 10 cases per year
• This is now the minimum yearly requirement for any provider of Invisalign

Premier Provider:
• Complete 10 continuing education Invisalign classes per year (online or in-person)
• Has treated at least 50 cases lifetime
• Treat at least 24 cases every 6 months

Premier Elite Provider:
• Complete 10 continuing education Invisalign classes per year (online or in-person)
• Has treated at least 300 cases lifetime
• Treat 48 cases every 6 months

Warning! Be on the lookout for these categories because sometimes they are hard to see….

.Invisalign Provider Levels

You might also notice some providers have an extra Invisalign Teen tag in the additional information section. That means that they treat at least 4 patients between the ages of 11 and 19 each quarter counting as part of their total number of cases.

If you want to be really crafty…you can perform an advanced search and filter for orthodontists only.

I feel that it is essential to quickly explain the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist.  Yes, they are both doctors and yes, they both work on teeth.  If you are like me, you want the best care for both you and your children.  It is important to know that orthodontists went to dental school, and beyond that, they also completed a 2-3 years residency in orthodontics.  In this residency, they study healthy and efficient tooth movement as well as how to care for patients for a long term healthy smile.

Dentists often times are a less expensive option than an orthodontist and both are certified to treat patients with Invisalign.  Although there is usually a difference in price, orthodontists are specialists in tooth movement.  I highly recommend having the ‘orthodontist only’ box checked at allllll times.

Whew…..Now that we are through all that technical mumbo jumbo, and you have narrowed down your options, you just need to pick the doctor you like! You or your child are going to be coming back for several appointments make sure the staff and the doctor make you feel comfortable.

 

Super Savvy Shopper tip!!!!!

As important as clinical experience is, actual results are far more important.

• Find friends or even strangers with smiles that you like and ask them who did their braces.

• Schedule more than one consultation for different opinions.

• Look at different websites’ patient photos, and compare smiles. Unfortunately, a lot of dental and orthodontic websites out there use stock photos. At our orthodontic offices, we only use actual patient photos. If you aren’t sure if a website’s photos are real just ask the receptionist when you call in.

Word for the wise: Invisalign is a great tool for straightening teeth, but it is by no means a magic wand. You should definitely consult with your orthodontist or dentist to find out if it is the right choice for you.

About the author

Scott Frey is a reknown Orthodontist, professional speaker, and founder of the More than Smiles Movement. Follow him on Twitter.

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