My impressions of Invisalign’s Virtual Care Tool – by Dr Jeremy Worth
I graduated as an orthodontist in Ireland 23 years ago, initially working in hospital for the first five years of my career, and then gradually moving to private practice. At that time, I used to use fixed appliances for pretty much every treatment. When patients came back with contact points which had slipped, I used to adjust their study model and make an Essix retainer.
However, I could not deny that there was a growing appetite for clear aligner therapy and I just did not want to be left behind. I knew about the Invisalign system – but the cost of treatment was holding me back at the time. At the back of my mind I felt – as did many orthodontists – that I may have lost out on some patients if I had not at least offered the them the option of Invisalign treatment. That was really what many of us were doing, we offered these treatments and when patients were not deemed suitable, they were told that aligners would not give them what they wanted. It felt easier to proceed with fixed appliances. We believed that was the way of keeping the footfall of our practice as high as possible, and fixed appliances were chosen by most patients anyway.
Then in 2010, I joined my friend and fellow orthodontic specialist John Costello at the Bournemouth British Orthodontic Society Congress. Together we attended an Invisalign launch event where they were discussing product developments and all the changes they were introducing. It was an epiphany for me. I started educating myself, picking up new skills and pushing boundaries just as John had done. It was truly exciting. Looking back, I started realising that we had been in a treatment rut, a status quo and in a routine. We certainly provided good results with fixed appliance, but with the Invisalign system, I started achieving better results and the experience was overwhelmingly positive. The treatment modality challenges me every day and it is really stimulating for me as a clinician, allowing me to develop my skills.
Where previously I had 95% of patients in fixed appliances, now roughly 50% are having Invisalign treatment, and I have completed 500 cases to date. I still enjoy treating patients with fixed appliances: I use tip-edge which is very unusual for things like skeletal camouflaged cases and high anchorage demand cases, but the Invisalign system really fits in because it allows greater control of all the different positions of the teeth, so it is as flexible as possible and helping us to achieve exemplary results.
With the pandemic last year, Align Technology considerably accelerated the development of new digital tools and I felt privileged to be able to use the Invisalign Virtual Care tool, which came as a godsend as face to face contact with my patients was difficult – yet it allowed me to track all my Invisalign cases. The company offered the remote consultation solution at a time when it was just so needed, as one of the benefits of treating with the system, and it just made so much sense.
My therapist and nurses perform all the iTero digital scans and they are very good at explaining the benefits of Invisalign Virtual Care tool to patients. It helps us check that each patient’s aligners are fitting correctly and keep a close eye on their tracking. We can catch issues early before a tooth gets out of control with the need for mid-course correction. We can take scans and compare the actual position of their teeth versus the predicted position which gives an indication of their treatment progress.
Invisalign Virtual Care tool is also a great tool for patients who might not be super motivated and not as compliant as we would like them to be. I can liken it to training for a marathon which is more measurable than if you run every day with a specific goal. With Invisalign Virtual Care tool, they keep their own records and can see their own progress and it encourages them to continue towards their goal and better end results. A “well done” can go a long way to keeping them on track.
The Invisalign Outcome Simulator on the iTero digital scanner is also amazing as it helps patients visualise the end treatment before starting any treatment planning. It is the contrast between where we are now and what the future can offer. It introduces the idea of Invisalign treatment to patients and gives them all the information to make the right choice, as it allows us to discuss all the pros and cons of the various treatment modalities.
There is really no going back for me. The Invisalign system has given me and my peers a new lease of life. It makes my work challenging and exciting, and my patients get a wonderful choice and better results.
About Invisalign Virtual Care
Invisalign Virtual Care tool is built into the My Invisalign patient app. Clinicians can use it for remote consultations, assessment of treatment progress, and to communicate adjustments or concerns during treatment. Patients use the intuitive My Invisalign App to stay engaged in their treatment and convey progress photos to their doctor. The dentist reviews these photos on their Invisalign Doctor Site and communicates any needed instructions to patients. Ensuring their Invisalign treatment journey is on track.
About Dr Jeremy Worth
Dr Jeremy Worth graduated from Guy’s Hospital Dental School, University of London 1991. He passed the Fellowship in Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 1995 and his Membership in Orthodontics in 1998. He is on the specialist Orthodontic Register of the Dental Council of Ireland. He opened the Ballyraine Orthodontic Clinic in 1999 and has developed this clinic into the principal provider of private orthodontic therapy in Donegal.