It’s Invisalign’s Fault!

March 18, 2011

My Dentist says: “It’s Invisalign’s Fault!”

My bite just feels a little off from what it was before I got my Invisalign.  My dentist says: “It’s Invisalign’s fault… sometimes that just happens with Invisalign.”

This front tooth right here just didn’t get straight when I had Invisalign before. My dentist says “It’s Invisalign’s fault…sometimes that is all the straighter Invisalign will get the teeth.”

As an Orthodontist, I have heard comments like these many times in recent years from patients who have come into my office for a consultation regarding the results of their previous Invisalign treatment.  They have come in because they feel Invisalign didn’t work and it’s all Invisalign’s fault.  The only way the typical lay person would know what to blame is if their Invisalign Provider told them it was Invisalign’s fault rather than  offering any further recommendations or treatment alternatives to further correct these legitimate concerns.  Or, if they did offer an alternative, quoting an additional fee to “fix what Invisalign messed up”.

As I have made perfectly clear in these writings, Invisalign is not a cure-all and straight-all in orthodontics.  Yet, neither is any other “tool” in the Orthodontist’s available range of braces and appliances.  In fact, there are certain types of orthodontic mal-alignments and problems that there simply is no complete fix available short of extensive facial-jaw surgery to correct.  Generally speaking, these can and should be identified in advance before Invisalign or any braces are even recommended.

So…Is it really Invisalign’s Fault?

Well…let me tell you about the “Plumber with One Wrench”.

Let’s imagine your home is equipped with a relatively standardized valve to turn the water on…and your homes valve is stuck closed.  So you call out a plumber to open the valve.  The plumber shows up with just one wrench that he knows how to use to open the valve.  He gives you the fee estimate, explains the process and shows you THE wrench he always uses to open the valve.  You assume he is “the expert” knows that wrench must be the answer to your problem, no other alternative was mentioned.  You approve, pay him the fee and “put him to work”.  He returns saying the job is complete but the value is only open half-way, the water is running but very slowly.  He says as he leaves your home…”It’s THE wrench’s fault…sometimes that is all the further THE wrench I use will open some valves.  Now that I tried it, I know yours happens to be one of them.”   As the door is closing you vaguely hear: “Oh by the way, THE wrench caused your valve to be struck in this position.  If you want that fixed…schedule another service call.”

So…is it really THE wrench’s fault…well…the wrench had a part to play, yes.  Certainly the wrench has some limitations since it apparently doesn’t work quite right sometimes.  Unfortunately, the Plumber seems to only knows that after there is a problem.  With only one wrench to work with, this Plumber fixed it the best he could.

And so it is in orthodontic care, Invisalign is an absolutely wonderful orthodontic “wrench”; it works beautifully most of the time.  But what if by chance it does not, what does your Invisalign Provider have in their Orthodontic “toolbox” to offer you?  There is nothing wrong with asking…”What if Invisalign does not work for me the way we expect, what do you typically recommend to do about that?  If additional treatment beyond Invisalign is necessary to complete the straightening, do you charge me for that additional treatment?”  You decide what the right answer is but at least get an answer other than: “Don’t worry; Invisalign always works”.  My suggestion following an answer like that…leave the office ASAP and get a second opinion because it does NOT always work as we would expect or hope.

Every type of orthodontic appliance works; just not every time…that includes Invisalign.

Do NOT blame Invisalign for “not working”…it’s not THE wrench but the Plumber who fixes the leak.

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