newbie question: dentists vs. orthos

Discussions about treatment with invisible braces that use clear aligners, such as Invisalign, OrthoClear, the Red White and Blue system, etc.

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newbie question: dentists vs. orthos

#1 Post by smilingproud »

Hi all!

I've been considering invisalign for, well, years now! And I've been lurking on this site for the past few months. What a great resource!

I've gone on a few consults (I live in Canada) and the price difference between dentists and orthos is HUGE here. I can get full treatment with a dentist for $5000, or full treatment with an ortho for $7000!!! It seems dramatic, and I'm just wondering how big of a deal it is to go with a dentist instead of an ortho.

I've looked on invisalign's website, and the ortho and dentist both have a "preferred" rating, which must mean they have about the same experience. I even asked the dentist office about why the ortho is so much more and they said that that's what specialists charge. Hmmm.

Anyways, what are the downsides to getting a dentist for invisalign? Any bad experiences out there? What are the up sides?

From what I can tell - my case isn't severe. I have mild crowding on the top arch (to be honest, it's so minor, I don't even care about it, and wouldn't even treat my top arch if that was a possibility), and moderate crowding on the bottom front arch. No extractions needed, likely not even any filing (so the ortho said in my consult).

Thanks in advance for any responses!

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Re: newbie question: dentists vs. orthos

#2 Post by Robin8 »

The “huge” price difference between dentists and orthodontists happens everywhere in the world. It reflects the different level of specialized orthodontic knowledge and training (basically, dentists have none). Orthodontists are dentists who have several years of specialized training in orthodontics, i.e. the study and treatment of malocclusions. In Canada, it means a dentist has to attend university for another 3 years in orthodontics after s/he graduates from the dentistry program.

The price difference is actually bigger. A relatively “new” dentist with little Invisalign experience in a Toronto suburb charges $3995. An orthodontist with 20+ years experience and extensive Invisalign experience (completed 500+ cases) in a central location charges around $10,000. In any medical treatments, a good part of what you pay for is the doctor’s knowledge, experience and expertise.

Comparing dentists vs orthodontists is like comparing G.P. or family doctor vs cardiologist, endocrinologist, dermatologist, ENT specialist, etc. Dentists provide general dental care like cleaning, check-up, fillings, etc. Orthodontists straighten teeth only.

A “preferred” rating means that a provider has spent a day in training on how to submit a case to Invisalign. It doesn’t reflect a doctor’s orthodontic experience or Invisalign experience.

It’s not just about picking dentists vs orthodontists. To have a successful treatment, you have to find a doctor who has enough experience to treat your particular case with Invisalign. Some dentists have gained proficiency with Invisalign after successfully completing a lot of cases. Some orthodontists are very experienced with traditional braces but not with Invisalign. Any providers with less than 50 completed (not started) cases are considered new to Invisalign.

Here’s an article on substandard Invisalign treatment and some questions you could ask during consultation … ... 627562.htm

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Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:59 am

Re: newbie question: dentists vs. orthos

#3 Post by smilingproud »

Thanks for the info! It's kind of what I feared.

But at the same time, I have heard of people successfully treated by a dentist (even seen some posts here). I guess it all depends on the dentist and their experience, so I will be sure to ask. As well, I kind of figured since my case is pretty simple, it might be ok to go to a dentist. It also really bugs me that invisalign is a set fee regardless of how bad your teeth are. Shouldn't it be cheaper if you require less trays? Arg.

I'm definitely shopping around at the moment. I've been on three consults... four as of next week. The first person I went to was a dentist, but he had TONS of invisalign experience. Even had a staff member who had it done to her! I would have gone with him for sure, but I moved towns since.

Since then, I've seen another dentist (which was horrible! he was trying to up-sell everything. He even was "throwing in things for free" if I signed up that day and paid in full. Needless to say I walked away). I saw an ortho this week who was fabulous, but again, the $7000 was pretty shocking to see. I've got another dentist consult next week, so I'll see how I feel about this one too.

Anyone out there happy with their dentist-Invisalign treatment? Anyone not?

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Re: newbie question: dentists vs. orthos

#4 Post by DrJasonKTam »

To clarify, a preferred rating means that a doctor started treatment on at least 10 patients in the last year. Also, all of these statuses such as premier, elite, etc refer to a volume of cases, and do not speak anything with regards to quality of treatment and the types of case experience.

Having taught Invisalign to dentists and orthodontists, I can say that there is a very, very wide range of experience. Unfortunately, the marketing is far ahead of the clinical knowledge for the majority of doctors, and this means for both generalists and specialists. I know some people who have been very happy with their general dentist's or orthodontist's results, but to me, I wouldn't be happy with producing those results. Therefore, the best thing to do is see what kind of work your potential doctor has completed, and to figure out how well they have treated situations similar to yours. Each individual will have different satisfaction levels.

I'll leave you with this... There are a few dentists in my area who are certified to do Invisalign, and they have signs offering free consults/whitening outside their offices. Interestingly enough, they refer their family and friends to me for any Invisalign treatment.
Dr. Jason Tam
Toronto Invisalign, Scarborough braces, and Markham Orthodontist
Diamond Plus Invisalign Provider
Thrice Published in the Invisalign Case Gallery

Learn all about Toronto Invisalign at

Before and After Invisalign Video 1
Before and After Invisalign Video 2

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Re: newbie question: dentists vs. orthos

#5 Post by initiall »

I wish I would have found this forum before I started Invisalign. I have been told for years that I needed ortho treatment for a severe cross overbite. My dentist kept pressuring me to go with invisalign even though I had an Orthodontist tell me that would not be the route he suggested. Well, I trusted my dentist and after a year of constant harassment I agreed. It's been 2 years and thousands of dollars and although I see some change to my front teeth I see absolutely no change at all to the overbite. What made this worse was the fact that my dentist never even mentioned refinement if the original braces didn't work. I had to ask him about them. It took 3 months for my first set of refinement to arrive. The dentist blamed that on the manufacturer. They came from China. When the first refinement didn't work and I asked my dentist what will we do now he started to accuse me of not wearing them enough. I wear them ALL the time they are never out of my mouth more than 1 hour a day. So we went on to another set and sad to say nothing has changed. My dentist now wants me to pay $750.00 for the refinement because he said he had to put so much time into it.
The bottom line is this, I should have went to an orthodontist. Don't let your dentist talk you into something without seeing an orthodontist!
Has anyone else been charged for their refinement? I have nothing in my contract that says I would have to pay for ongoing treatment.
I am ready to give up. What a waste of time and money.

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