By Iman Sadri, DDS
The highest nonclinical barometer in any successful dental treatment is patient satisfaction. A crown, for example, can have perfect margins, accurate occlusion, and healthy contacts. But if the patient is not satisfied, then that results in a failure — no matter how satisfactory the crown is clinically. One of the key components to patient satisfaction is managing expectations. Sometimes, the longer it takes to complete a treatment, the higher the expectations.
Clinically, there are few other types of dental treatment that require more time to complete than Invisalign®. Invisalign can become a lifetime commitment if the treatment plan includes a perennial retainer system, such as Vivera®. Therefore, it is even more imperative that patients, who are potentially wearing 26 sets of aligners for two weeks at a time each, know what they are getting into and what the result will be.
With Invisalign, doctors are encouraged to review the ClinCheck® software with the patient to ensure that everybody is on the same page. Communication regarding all aspects of Invisalign progress is imperative. Patients need to be well versed in the many dynamics of Invisalign. Some of these include the 23-hour daily commitment that is required, the risk of attachment loss, the IPR in the middle of treatment, future spacing, and potential black triangles. Patients who know what they are getting into with the product are the ones who will be most satisfied. These patients will appreciate their orthodontic progress and note the distinct tooth movement on a monthly basis.
Potential conflicts in achieving the desired results include lack of daily commitment, missing appointments to complete IPR, attachment loss, and poor dental hygiene. However, if the patient is compliant and attentive toward treatment, then the results will be beyond satisfactory. In the ClinCheck review, focusing on commitment to progress — as opposed to only zeroing in on the final stage — is imperative. In the staircase to orthodontic perfection, each step is built with progress. Promising less than you can give and delivering more than you promise is one doctrine in the book of perfection, at least as it relates to Invisalign.
Dr. Iman Sadri received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the New York University College of Dentistry. He writes regular dental columns with an emphasis on the blend of pop culture and dental health. His passions are cosmetic dentistry and writing. Dr. Sadri maintains a private practice in Orange County, Calif.
By Iman Sadri, DDS