Congratulations! You’re ready to take a big step and make your dream smile a reality by getting Invisalign. There’s just one small problem– you need to select a provider. Maybe your current dentist offers Invisalign as a treatment, but you aren’t sure if you should see an orthodontist instead. Maybe you’ve been flooded with recommendations from well-meaning friends and co-workers and aren’t sure how to evaluate all these different options. Now you’re overwhelmed by options and you’re not any closer to getting straight teeth!
Choosing the right Invisalign provider can make the difference between a smooth, easy treatment program and an expensive, frustrating experience. While it’s great to consider several different providers, it’s critical you have a system for comparing your different options and you know which questions are the right ones to ask.
Keep these guidelines in mind when making your decision:
1. Know the difference between preferred, premier and premier elite providers.
Invisalign providers are classified by the number of cases they complete each year. A preferred provider has treated at least 10 Invisalign cases. A premiere provider has treated 50 cases and averages about 25 cases every six months. A Premiere Elite provider has treated a total of at least 300 cases and averages 50 cases every six months.
While the number of cases completed shouldn’t be the only factor when making your decision, experience does matter– especially for more complex cases. Keep in mind that if there are multiple providers at a single practice, the practice designation as preferred, premier or premier elite will be based on the most experienced practitioner. Don’t hesitate to ask your provider how many cases they have personally completed, in addition to the practice’s overall designation.
2. Ask to see examples specific to your case.
Nearly every provider will show you a few sets of before and after photos. While it’s great to see a range of before/after shots, be sure you’re seeing photos that relate to your specific case. For example, if you have an overbite, ask for patient photos showing before/after bite improvement. You’ll want to be confident that you’re in good hands with an experienced provider who knows exactly what to do to help you achieve your dream smile.
3. Compare payment options.
Invisalign is a big financial investment. With the right provider, your investment will pay dividends for a lifetime as you enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile. In general, Invisalign costs will probably be pretty similar between providers, give or take a few variables like the estimated length of treatment. One major difference? Payment financing options.
Most insurance companies will cover part of your treatment costs, just as they would cover part of the cost for braces. However, you still may need to cover some expenses out-of-pocket. Ask different providers about their billing model. Will they take the estimated insurance contribution off the top? Is no-interest financing available, and if so, do you need to pass a credit check first? You may find that a highly experienced provider may cost slightly more, but that the quality of treatment and payment financing options more than offset this cost differential.
4. Check online reviews.
You know the old adage you can’t please all the people all the time? Online reviews are a bit like that. In general, it’s the unhappy patients who post a review and not the happy ones. Online reviews can be a bit tricky since you don’t know both sides of the story– maybe a patient insisted on a course of treatment that wasn’t right for them, so it’s no surprise the result wasn’t perfect. That said, if you find a particular provider consistently generates a high number of negative reviews, these reviews could be a warning sign that something isn’t right and that you should steer clear.