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Key point

There are many factors to consider other than price. Your Invisalign treatment experience and results will be different depending on the doctors and team you ultimately choose.

Align Technology's letter to Dr. Jason Tam

Experience Invisalign with MCO Orthodontics, one of the most highly sought-after Invisalign teams. We teach other doctors how to use Invisalign, treat other Invisalign doctors and orthodontists, have visited Costa Rica technicians multiple times, been part of Invisalign pilot studies, had our work published three times by Invisalign and by the International Association for Orthodontics, and been recognized by other orthodontic peers as having produced one of the best results with Invisalign.

How to Choose an Invisalign Provider

Two of the best ways to find a list of providers are via a simple Google search using the search term Invisalign in combination with your location (example Invisalign Toronto) and the Doctor Search page.

You will find providers designated Top 1% Super Elite, Elite, Premier, or Preferred. Here is a breakdown. Note that Align is looking to add doctors as “partners”, in order direct patients to specific offices. In exchange, Align is requesting proprietary practice data, which many doctors are uncomfortable providing, as this may compromise the future integrity of the doctor/patient relationship.

  • Top 1% Super Elite- Lifetime 800 cases minimum 100 new Invisalign patients every 6 months
  • Elite- Lifetime 300 cases with minimum 50 new Invisalign patients every 6 months
  • Premier- Lifetime 50 cases with minimum 25 patients per every 6 months
  • Preferred Provider- Minimum 10 new patients per year
*VIP- Top 1% and Elite Providers who have been chosen by Align as Valued Invisalign Providers

Consider that experienced orthodontists treat hundreds of braces patients every year. This is how they become experienced and experts at their work. With this in mind, if you want your doctor to have a similar wealth of experience with Invisalign, you would be prudent to choose an Elite or preferably a Top 1% Super Elite Provider. Keep in mind that these designations do not necessarily describe the quality or difficulty of the treatment provided in each office, as they vary by office size, and number of offices.

There are offices that may have multiple doctors pooling their cases together or those offering deep discounts on group buy sites to inflate numbers to achieve higher status. In addition, there may be offices that have a high volume of Invisalign treatments per year, but have a very low percentage of overall treatments with this technique. Therefore, use these tiers as a guideline only.

There are both positive stories, and negative ones regarding this excellent treatment modality. Commonly the positive stories are from those whose received treatment from experienced Invisalign orthodontists. Those with negative accounts have often sought treatment from inexperienced providers who do not understand how to plan tooth movement with aligners. Keep in mind that both general dentists and orthodontists become “Certified Invisalign Providers” after completing a one-day certification course in which they are taught how to send materials to Align Technology, not how to move teeth. When choosing providers, remember that orthodontists are specialists in moving teeth. Therefore, when all else is equal, it may be prudent to choose the orthodontist over a general dentist.

Align Technology seems to acknowledge that there are deficiencies with its certification process. As such, they introduced a proficiency system in 2009 to require a certain level of annual experience and continuing education, in order to continue treating patients with Invisalign. This spurred an uproar in the dental and orthodontic professions, since most regulations are set by licensing bodies, not by for-profit companies. In early 2010, due to legal pressure, Align removed the case requirement for certification, but kept continuing education criteria. Align Technology’s goal is to ensure that those using the Invisalign technique are experienced and knowledgeable in doing so, and to minimize the number of unhappy Invisalign patients. Speak to some of the office staff members to see if they are comfortable and work a lot with Invisalign, talk to other Invisalign patients if they are in the office, and ask to see some examples of treatment performed by the orthodontist or dentist. Some of the staff members and even the doctor may be currently wearing, or have worn Invisalign before. Does the doctor have a great reputation as an Invisalign speaker, have good online reviews, and have they been to Costa Rica to speak to their technician? The office should be open enough to tell you how many Invisalign patients they have treated historically and recently.

Remember to view Invisalign as a technique, not a product, so while price is a major factor for many patients, it should not be the sole consideration in where you seek treatment. If you were buying an appliance, where every appliance is the same at each store, price would probably be the most pressing issue, although service is also important. When starting Invisalign treatment, you are not buying Invisalign. You are buying orthodontic treatment using Invisalign and not all Invisalign results from various doctors are equal. Therefore, the experience level of the doctor and the team should always be considered.