Straight Off the Wire

Invisalign - The Clear Alternative to Braces – Part 1

“Am I a candidate for Invisalign?”  This question is one that we receive daily - whether we are in the office, at the park with our children, or at a social event with our friends.  We are happy to inform you that in most cases, the answer to this question is “Yes!”

While Invisalign treatment once accounted for a very small percentage of the orthodontic treatment in our office, Invisalign has now become a major component of treatment.  We believe that this change occurred for two main reasons.  First, Invisalign (Align Technology) as a company is booming.  They are marketing wizards and have caught the eye of today’s public, a group of people that values the appearance of their teeth and smiles.  As a result, an ever increasing number of patients are contacting our office and asking about Invisalign treatment. 


The second, and more important, reason for the increased utilization of Invisalign within our office has nothing to do with Invisalign as a company; instead, it is directly related to Invisalign as a tool to move teeth.  When Invisalign was first introduced to orthodontists more than 15 years ago, its uses were extremely limited.  There were very few cases that could be treated as well with Invisalign as they could be treated with conventional or aesthetic braces.  As a result, our practice was reluctant to treat a vast majority of cases with Invisalign as we prioritize the quality of patient care above all.

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 Over the past fifteen years, however, Invisalign’s team has made a commitment to rectifying the aforementioned limitations and through research and development has dramatically improved their product.  Consequently, we are able to tell dozens of patients every month that their orthodontic treatment goals can be accomplished with excellent precision and predictability using two modalities, rather than one.  Often times, we explain the pros and cons of both conventional braces and Invisalign and then leave the decision up to the patient.

Despite Invisalign’s prominence through advertising in all of its markets, most patients that come to the office requesting Invisalign treatment have very little knowledge of what the treatment entails.  Basically, Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners that gradually move teeth from their unfavorable positions to the desired positions.  The clear aligners are fabricated from virtual models that are made via digital methods. 

To create the aligners, we first take a set of diagnostic records (photos, models, x-rays) as we do for every patient regardless of the treatment method to be utilized.  When we are considering Invisalign treatment, we also take an iTero scan of a patient’s teeth.  The scan, which requires zero radiation exposure, takes about 15-20 minutes in which we capture approximately 60 optical images of your teeth that are stitched together using iTero’s technology in the same manner that your iPhone stitches together images when you take a “panoramic” photo.  When the iTero scan is complete, we have an amazingly accurate digital model of the patient’s teeth that can be sent to Invisalign.  Traditionally, creating Invisalign models required a patient to sit through two “goopy” impressions – with iTero technology, these impressions are obsolete.

We then work with Invisalign to move your teeth in the digital world as we would like to move them in the real world once the patient begins treatment.  We create a very precise prescription for Invisalign’s technicians to follow, and we edit the proposed movements as well as the prescribed attachments multiple times before we are satisfied with the projected treatment strategy and outcome.  When we are pleased with the movements, we invite the potential patient back to our office to review the proposed treatment.  If they are happy with the proposed treatment and the projected result, we then order their aligners and get ready to make some incredible changes in the esthetics and function of their smile as well as their bite relationship.

Check back in next week for Part 2 of our series on Invisalign treatment.



Barrish & Lehnes Orthodontics provides every patient with the finest treatment available to last a lifetime. Dr. Bernard Barrish, Dr. Kevin Lehnes, and our orthodontic team deliver healthy, beautiful smiles in a warm, caring, and fun environment.

Dr. Barrish became an orthodontist because he enjoys creating beautiful and healthy smiles that last a lifetime.  By improving and enhancing their self image, Dr. Barrish is motivated by making a positive difference in each and every patient's life.

Dr. Lehnes's motivation for practicing orthodontics is to make smiles that are both more beautiful and, thus, more frequent.  Few things in the world are more expressive than a smile, and he takes pride in transforming reluctant and timid smiles into ones that radiate happiness and self-confidence.

Barrish and Lehnes is a Premier Provider for Invisalign

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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