When choosing an Invisalign provider, it can often be confusing who to pick. Patients can choose an orthodontist, a general dentist or a Preferred, Premier, Premier Elite or Super Elite provider. How do you know who will treat your case best and what the difference between these providers is? It is always best to have more than one consultation when deciding between providers. Invisalign is a decision that will change more than just your smile, so find a provider you trust so your relationship with them will create the best situation for you during your treatment.
A general dentist is required to be licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. After completing a minimum of 2 years of college level pre-dental courses a student is able to take the DAT and apply to dental school. However, most students have a Bachelor’s prior to entering dental school. Dental school lasts 4 academic years, during which the last 2 years they treat patients in a dental clinic. They must graduate from an accredited dental school and pass the written and practical examination. Once licensed, the dentist may take an Invisalign course and begin treating patients with aligners.
An orthodontist is a dentist who has specialized training in correcting teeth and facial structure abnormalities. They must complete five years of undergraduate dental curriculum prior to applying for and attending a three year full time training of orthodontic specialist program. They use fixed braces, aligners, and other specialized appliances to re-align teeth, close spaces, and correct malocclusion. Orthodontists work with patients of all ages, but mostly children to correct dental complications prior to adulthood. Orthodontists must also complete an Invisalign training course in order to treat patients using Align Technology.
All Invisalign providers complete the same training course, no additional education is required, nor is continuing education necessary. The providers are classified by the quantity of cases competed, not by the quality. Preferred providers treat an average of 10 cases per year. Premier providers have treated at least 50 cases total, at least 25 cases every 6 months. Premier Elite providers have treated a total of at least 300 cases, averaging 50 cases every 6 months. Finally, Super Elite providers, a “rare” designation was recently announced and the qualifications are not currently of public knowledge. It is important to note that in multi-provider practices, the classification is based upon the most experienced provider.
As mentioned earlier it is best to meet with several providers and ask questions regading their personal experience along with before and after pictures of cases they treated that are similar to your situation. Ask them how many cases they have personally treated, especially if there is more than one Invisalign provider within the same practice. It is also advised to read reviews on the provider. Do your research so your smile lasts a lifetime and your experience with Invisalign is Super Elite.