• Dr. Tanner

How to Choose the Right Invisalign Orthodontist


  • Should you pick the least expensive Invisalign provider?

  • Does it matter if you go to a dentist or orthodontist for Invisalign treatment?

  • Does experience make a difference with Invisalign?

  • How do you find an Invisalign provider with clinical expertise and a great reputation?


Read on and you'll feel more confident on your search, knowing exactly what you should ask your prospective Invisalign orthodontists, and more.



The Cheapest Invisalign Provider is Not the Best Value in the End


The most experienced orthodontists calculate their fees to allow for the best care possible, so they don’t have to resort to cutting corners and taking shortcuts just to reduce costs. Invisalign is a system that requires precision from start to finish. That means using a high-resolution scanner (such as iTero) to capture a 3D image of your teeth and taking quality photos or x-rays to produce the most accurate set of records for treatment planning and aligner fabrication. In addition to the Invisalign aligners, it is important that the provider uses the best ancillary products such as quality attachment material, buttons, elastics, polishing strips, and retainers to ensure success. You should never go to a provider where the materials or techniques are “probably good enough”. This especially holds true with any of the do-it-yourself orthodontic companies (Smile Direct Club, Candid, Byte, and many others). Their materials are inferior; there is no supervision; many of the outcomes are substandard (just Google “Smile Direct Club Horror Stories”). Cheap – yes, but can you afford to settle for anything less than ideal when it comes to your smile and your bite?



There is a Big Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist


The primary differences between a general dentist and an orthodontist are their level of training and clinical experience. A general dentist receives little to no training in dental school for orthodontics while an orthodontist has 2 to 3 years of specialty training. All Orthodontists are dentists but only 7% of dentists are university-trained orthodontists. In residency, orthodontists learn about the biologic basis of tooth movement, growth and development of the jaws and face, biomechanics, appliance systems, and treatment planning. In private practice, orthodontists focus solely on straightening teeth and correcting malocclusions. General dentists, on the other hand, wear many hats. They typically do only a handful of Invisalign cases in a year. It is important to go to a specialist who is trained specifically in the field of tooth movement and practices his or her craft on a daily basis.



Experienced Orthodontist = Outstanding Final Results


When it comes to straightening teeth, experience matters most – even among orthodontists.



Here is a good analogy - if you’re going to hire someone to paint the interior of your home, would you choose the painter who just started painting and has completed only a few jobs? Or, would you hire the painter who’s been painting homes every day for the past fifteen years? After all, paint is paint.




So the real question is, “Why choose the more experienced painter?”


There are four major reasons:

  1. The experienced painter will be more efficient.

  2. The experienced painter will provide a guarantee.

  3. The experienced painter’s product will be of the highest quality.

  4. The experienced painter’s results will look good for many years.

If you’ve ever needed a home repair or update, you know already that not all contractors are the same. They’re all putting paint on walls, but the results…

…and your experience during and afterwardwill be totally different based on who you hire for the job. With Invisalign, we are talking about something considerably more important and complex than paint on walls—but the same rules apply. You want someone with extensive Invisalign experience to ensure that your teeth are looking and feeling as good as possible for the rest of your life.



How to find an Experienced and Reputable Invisalign Orthodontist


Good news! Invisalign has made it easy for consumers to find an experienced orthodontist using Invisalign’s “Doctor Locator” Tool. This tool can be found on their website here. To use this tool, all you have to do is:

  1. Type in your zip code

  2. Hit search

  3. Review Invisalign doctors in your area.

You can sort these search results by patient’s age (teens versus adults), dentists/orthodontists, distance from where you live, and Tier Level”.


The two most important search parameters are whether the Invisalign provider is a dentist or an orthodontist and the tier level. “Tier Level” is a metric that shows how many Invisalign cases the doctor starts each year. Providers in the Gold Plus Tier and above typically treat more than 100 patients a year with Invisalign. This is a good indicator of the orthodontist’s level of experience with the Invisalign system. Yet, there are other factors to consider when choosing an Invisalign orthodontist.


Here are some questions to ask your orthodontist before making your decision:

  • How long have you been treating patients with Invisalign?

  • How many cases have you treated in your practice with Invisalign?

  • What Invisalign training have you done (meetings, peer to peer groups, advanced Invisalign courses, online continuing education, etc.)?

  • Have you successfully treated other cases like mine with Invisalign?

  • Is your practice exclusive to Invisalign?


In conclusion, be an informed consumer and employ common sense in order to make the right choice for your orthodontic care.


Smile . . . you are already halfway there!



Do you live in Santa Fe, NM, or our neighboring areas? Let Visage Orthodontics, your local Invisalign expert, be a part of the team that gives you a smile you can trust and believe in! Call us at 505-670-6145 or visit our contact page for a complimentary consultation.