By Dr. John White
Braces by White
While Invisalign Express uses the same concept and high-quality plastic material as traditional Invisalign to straighten teeth, there are some differences to note.
I use the Express 5 treatment (consisting of five aligner sets switched every two weeks) for only a couple of patients a year because of its limitations. It is an option if the patient only requires a very small amount of movement and only needs to move one to three teeth, or for orthodontic relapse patients who had braces but their teeth have just started to shift since going without retainers. The Express 5 is only capable of rotating a tooth three to four degrees and only tip a tooth one millimeter in the 5 stages. Since it cannot move roots in that time frame, it is very limited in application.
In some cases, I use it for patients with traditional braces who are getting married or traveling abroad for a long period and want to remove their braces but continue treatment with Invisalign Express. This way I can settle the bite and finish the detailing while accommodating social or lifestyle issues.
At my practice, I do not use the Express 10. Because of my high volume, my lab cost for a full treatment Invisalign set is the same as an Express 10 case, and the capabilities of traditional Invisalign far outweigh the Express treatment.
As its name implies, Invisalign Express has a shorter treatment time (because the problem addressed is limited). Whereas a traditional Invisalign treatment can require 25 or more aligner sets, Invisalign Express consists of a series of either five or 10 aligner sets that are switched out approximately every two weeks. This means patients wear the aligners for 10 to 20 weeks.
Many patients incorrectly assume since there is just little movement with Invisalign Express, they don’t have to worry as much about the teeth staying straight after treatment. However, actually the opposite is true. Tiny little movements in one direction tend to easily go back the other way, so wearing a retainer is a must after being treated with Invisalign Express.
On average, the laboratory fee for Express 5 is about one third the cost of traditional Invisalign and the Express 10 is approximately 30 percent less than comprehensive. While these lab fees are considerably less for the average orthodontist or dentist, for me there is little cost difference between Invisalign Express and traditional Invisalign because I am a Tier 7 Invisalign provider. This means I get the best pricing available to pass along to my patients. As a result, I choose to use traditional Invisalign for most of my patients since there is little cost savings and the results are much better when using the traditional treatment plan.