Straight Talk On Invisible Braces
WebMD News Archive
But hold on. Robert L. Boyd, DDS, chairman of the department of
orthodontics at the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, says that even
with more complicated cases, he has seen good results with Invisalign.
"There's no doubt it will take its place as one of the methods to
straighten your teeth," he says. "On simple cases, it worked quite
well. With moderate to moderate-difficult cases -- those needing the equivalent
of one year of treatment with braces -- it worked very well. And that
represents 40-50% of the market." Boyd, who conducted studies of
Invisalign, says that in three short years, about half the orthodontists in the
U.S. have learned to use the system -- and patient demand is high.
"Cost is not as much of an issue because it's less doctor
time. So we're charging 20% to 25-30% more than conventional braces." Boyd
says in his neck of the woods, few patients worry about the extra cost.
But that may not be the case elsewhere. "The fees are
high," says Elidio Deleon, DMD, chair of the department of orthodontics at
the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. "Let's say basic braces are
$3,000. If you want Invisalign, there's $500 for the set-up then 'X' number of
dollars for each retainer. If you're in an area like California, where it's
more affluent, then patients are certainly willing to give it a try. In our
area, an excess of money is just not available. Money is a driving
Furthermore, that money could be wasted if patients aren't
compliant, Deleon says. "This appliance is totally dependent on whether the
patient chooses to wear it." Yet to be determined is whether Invisalign can
also move teeth in complex cases -- such as when a pulled tooth has created a
large space or if there is excessive crowding.
Still, there's no doubt that Invisalign has created a buzz --
even in lower-income areas. "People believe that a smile is critically
important to their success and they're really jumping on it," Deleon says.
"A lot of people are calling here about it." But, he adds, for every
ten that do, just one has a mouth that might benefit.