As a Tri-Cities orthodontist, Dr. Sturgill has seen potential Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport Invisalign patients, as well as those in Southwest Virginia, who were rejected for the treatment at another practice. There are the occasional instances where an individual can’t get Invisalign, or at least shouldn’t, because they’d be better served by another treatment option. However, many times, when someone is rejected for Invisalign, it’s actually unnecessary and seeking out an orthodontist with a high level of expertise will mean their smile can be perfected using the clear aligners after all. Dr. Sturgill specializes in complex Invisalign cases and even teaches the treatment modality to aspiring orthodontists. We’ll tap into his knowledge to share some reasons you could be told you’re not a candidate for the treatment, why they may or may not be valid and how to choose an orthodontist who can set you up for smile success.
Why Patients are Rejected for Invisalign
Many years ago, when Invisalign was a relatively new player in the orthodontic game, there wasn’t enough data, case studies or knowledge of the treatment to address anything other than mild cases of malocclusion (improper bite). Now that the technology and materials have evolved, the method is well-researched and it’s been around for nearly two decades, things have changed and we can successfully treat severe orthodontic issues including spacing, overbites, underbites, openbites, crossbites, and crowding. Here are a few reasons a doctor may turn you down for Invisalign treatment:
- Inaccurate Impressions – Let’s face it, traditional impressions using goopy molds aren’t fun and a lot of people gag, can’t sit still for the several minutes it takes to set, their tongue gets in the way or they produce a lot of saliva. Any of these mishaps can cause the impressions submitted to Invisalign to be rejected. Fortunately, at Sturgill Orthodontics, that’s never a problem because we use digital impressions via an iTero Element scanner. This is quick, painless, radiation-free and much more precise!
- Severe Bite Problems or the Need for Complex Movements – Some typical ortho cases rejected by Invisalign include serious arch-length discrepancies or bite issues (e.g., crossbite, openbite, underbite or overbite) or significant spacing due to extractions. Many orthodontists are much more comfortable addressing complex cases with braces because they just don’t have the experience or know-how to complete difficult tooth movements. There are a lot of techniques that can be used, including attachments or buttons, which are tooth-colored materials bonded to the teeth. The aligners grip on to the attachments, which serve as anchors when Invisalign alone won’t provide enough force to correct the problem However, the doctor has to understand the physics behind how the attachments work with the movements of the teeth depending on their positions and where to place them to balance aesthetics with the final outcome. Additionally, clear elastics or power-arm auxiliaries can be utilized for added force in severe cases. Or, Dr. Sturgill can even combine braces and Invisalign. If, for example, your lower teeth have a severe problem, he can straighten them with braces but still use Invisalign on the upper teeth, which is what people see anyway.
- You’re Not Relying on an Experienced Practitioner– Orthodontists are specialists in aligning the teeth and jaws and after dental school they receive several years of additional training through an orthodontic residency program. They have a keen understanding of the mechanics, science and art behind straightening the teeth. While general dentists can offer Invisalign after taking a course, they’re trained in your overall oral health and don’t have the expertise of an orthodontist. Often times, cases will get rejected by dentists or orthodontists who don’t regularly utilize Invisalign because they’re too complicated, time consuming or the doctor doesn’t have a high comfort level with complex tooth movements. If you were told that you weren’t a good candidate for the treatment, get a second opinion from a certified specialist in orthodontics who has a demonstrable track record with Invisalign.
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There are varying levels of experience among doctors who offer Invisalign and visiting someone with less experience can leave you frustrated. Here are some reasons Dr. Sturgill has been able to take on cases rejected by other practices:
- We use top-notch technology to get a clear picture of what’s going on with your teeth and jaws. From digital x-rays and photographs to the iTero digital scanner, we stay ahead of the curve in the innovation department. These tools allow us to gather important diagnostic information to create spot-on 3D models of your mouth with superior accuracy. Dr. Sturgill is an expert at using the Invisalign software so he can map out the exact tooth movements during treatment planning and make adjustments directly on the 3D model.
- Sturgill is available at every step of your treatment. At some offices, patients are seen almost solely by assistants and the orthodontist is rarely present. Invisalign isn’t a viable option for complex cases if your orthodontist or dentist isn’t willing to put in the time. The orthodontist has to be able to account for variables like the patient’s age, medications they take, bone density, oral conditions and more to predict tooth movements so that Invisalign can create aligners based on their specifications. This takes experience and patience. Dr. Sturgill spends hours fine-tuning the treatment plan so that it’s completely customized and your aligners fit perfectly.
- When a provider devotes most of their practice to treating patients with braces and a good percentage of it doesn’t involve Invisalign, they may not have the ability to address severe issues, use things like attachments properly or troubleshoot the array of problems that can crop up during the course of treatment. Additionally, in order to achieve lasting results, you need someone who doesn’t just give you a cosmetic update but also corrects the relationship between the jaw and bite for optimum function and stability. That’s where education, training and experience come in. Dr. Sturgill went above and beyond as far as his education, receiving his Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) and Master of Public Health (MPH) degrees, completing a postgraduate orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedics program, getting another doctorate in health education (DHEd) while also receiving his certificate in orthodontics, serving as chief resident with rotations at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center – Barrow Neurological Institute Cleft and Craniofacial Center, participating in an implant osseointegration study at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and then, finally, undergoing the rigorous process of getting board certified to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. That makes us tired even thinking about it! All of that schooling set him up to have a deep, unparalleled understanding of the intricacies of aligning the bite and straightening the teeth with Invisalign as well as a variety of other treatments and techniques. He teaches orthodontic residents how to use Invisalign and has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career. He’s dedicated to continuing education so he’s always in the loop concerning advances in the treatment and field in general. He devotes a large portion of his practice to using Invisalign and has a significant number of successful cases under his belt.
- Creativity goes a long way. We’re one of the few practices that have patients change their aligners weekly as opposed to every two weeks thanks to the special customization Dr. Sturgill does on his patients’ aligners. He can treat complex cases and do it more quickly while aligners stay fresh and clean. He looks at problems from all angles and thinks outside of the box so patients who would be told they’re not a candidate by other doctors can get the results they want with Invisalign. Orthodontics isn’t one-size-fits-all and it requires ingenuity, practice and a firm grasp of all of the moving parts involved in shaping a smile.
There you have it! Hope isn’t lost if you’ve been rejected for Invisalign. If you’re in need of a second opinion or just want to see if you’re a good candidate, schedule a free consultation at Sturgill Orthodontics. Complex cases our are forte. We offer Invisalign Teen and Invisalign in Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport as well as in the entire Tri-Cities, TN area. We’ll put you on the path to a healthy, beautiful smile in a way that works for your lifestyle and needs.