Invisalign Promotions or “cheap” invisalign. Buyer Beware.

Cheap invisalign

Let’s face it – everyone loves a good deal. That’s why, when people search online for Invisalign, their eyes are often drawn toward the ads for cheap promotions. $1800 Invsialign! $2500 Invisalign! Given that the average orthodontist’s fee for Invisalign is $6000-$7000 in Toronto, these deals seem almost too good to be true. And, as a general rule, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Imagine, for a moment, seeing an online ad for plastic surgery – “Nose jobs, normally $8000, now only $1999.99.” Seems like a good deal, right? But almost too good to be true? Why would a qualified plastic surgeon lower the fee so much? Now imagine reading the fine print and discovering that the sale price was not actually for a procedure that would fully correct the nose, just alter the appearance very slightly.  And imagine finding out that the doctor performing the procedure was not actually a plastic surgeon, but just a family doctor who took a few weekend courses.  Would the deal still seem as enticing at that point, or would alarm bells be ringing in your head?

Most of the online deals for Invisalign are very similar to our imaginary plastic surgery ad.  The treatment offered at the low price is usually a product called “Invisalign Express,” vs  “full Invisalign”.  The Express product was designed for patients with the most minor dental problems, and is totally insufficient for the vast majority of patients. In other words, this cheap product is unlikely to give you the results you want, and is not the same as full Invisalign.  Furthermore,  most of the doctors offering these promotions are not orthodontists, but general dentists with much less training – similar to family doctors offering surgery.  So even when full Invisalign is used, it is not used as expertly or with the same results that an orthodontist could provide.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to save money, and some promotions are legitimate.  but before you go for that online promotion, here are some tips to be sure of what you are getting:

    1) Be aware that there is a difference between orthodontists and general dentists, and that not everyone who does Invisalign is an orthodontist.   Remember that Invisalign is just a tool and, like any tool, the results you get depend on the skill of the user.  If you aren’t sure whether your doctor is an orthodontist or a general dentist, just ask!  And beware of un-regulated terms like “cosmetic dentist” or “invisalign expert.”

    2) Make sure that the product you are buying is full Invisalign, not Invisalign Express. This will ensure

    that you will get as many aligners as you need, as well as a 5-year warranty on the results.  Ask your doctor if they are using iTero 3D scanning to help map out your treatment plan?  Our office is equipped with this exciting technology you can learn more about and watch a video about iTero here and read more in this article about it’s key benefits and why you will benefit from working with an Orthodontist that works with this technology.

    3) Ask the doctor what happens if the results are less than perfect. Will more aligners be ordered at no extra charge?  Will braces be provided at no additional charge to correct the problem? Or will you need to be referred elsewhere and have to pay again?

    4) Ask the doctor whether the goal is simply to straighten the teeth or also to correct the bite. You, as a patient, may not care much about your bite, but the doctor performing Invisalign on you should.  Without taking your bite into consideration, the results may cause you more harm than good.   

    Most of us wouldn’t shop for bargain basement medical care because we want the best for our health. Let’s not forget that our dental health is part of our overall medical health. Don’t settle for less than the best.

Why should I care about my bite?

Most people understand why they should straighten their teeth – straight teeth are better-looking, they provide a more esthetic smile, and are more conducive to hygiene and dental health.  Less understood, though, is why it is important to have a proper bite.

The reason that most people are not concerned about their bite is that it has never bothered them in the past – they are not in pain and have no difficulty chewing.  So when an orthodontist tells them that they need their bite corrected, they wonder why it is necessary, and whether it would not be faster and cheaper to just straighten their 6 front teeth.  Frankly, there are products on the market (such as Smile Direct and 6 Month Smiles) designed to do exactly that.  But these products are very dangerous and are not offered by most orthodontists – because your bite matters, even if you’re not aware of it!

An improper bite is unlikely to cause acute pain, but is very likely to cause long-term problems to the teeth and gums, and possibly the jaw joints.

Here is a short list of some common bite problems and how they can affect your dental health:

Overbite (where the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth too far vertically)

  • Leads to chipping/damage to the edges of the teeth
  • Can wear away the backs of the upper teeth making them prone to fracture
  • Can lead to gum recession and periodontal bone loss

Overjet (where the upper teeth protrude too far ahead of the lower teeth)

  • People with overjet are far more likely than average to injure their upper front teeth, and any injuries to the teeth are more traumatic than usual, often leading to tooth loss or need for root canals
  • Can also lead to speech problems such as lisps
  • Can lead to damage to the gums behind the upper front teeth

Underbite (Where the lower teeth bite in front of the upper teeth)

  • Can lead to chipping/wear of the teeth
  • Can lead to jaw pain (TMJ disorders)
  • Can lead to speech problems such as difficulties pronouncing fricative letters (such as “f” of “v”)

What are the benefits of having a good bite?

Having a good bite maximizes the chance of your teeth, gums, and jaw joints remaining healthy for your lifetime.  It also will provide you with the most esthetic smile possible.  It can even improve the appearance of your face, both from the front and side views.

Straightening the teeth without correcting the bite is a bit like painting a damaged wall without fixing the sub-structure.  It will look okay for a while, but eventually problems will occur.

How do orthodontists correct bites?

Orthodontists train for 3 years beyond dental school, specifically learning how to correct bites.  We can often correct bite problems with braces or invisalign, using techniques that most general dentists lack the training to perform.

Occasionally we need to augment the treatment to obtain proper bite correction.  Sometimes it is necessary to have patients wear elastics, stretching from the upper teeth to the lower teeth to guide them to a correct bite.

Less commonly, it may be necessary to extract teeth, or in rare circumstances perform surgery on the jaw.  Having said this, most patients do not need such invasive treatments, and we only recommend them in cases where the benefits truly outweigh the risks.

One of the most crucial steps in the orthodontic process is formulating a treatment plan that takes both the alignment of your teeth and your bite into consideration.  It is only by correcting both of these things that we can obtain the best results for your smile and dental health.