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How do braces work?

Darwin's theory of evolution has thankfully applied to traditional braces. Braces' first design used from the early 1900's until well into the 1970's required bands to be hammered into place around every tooth (OUCH!). Then, as resin bonding (gluing) to enamel was invented those bands were exchanged for GINORMOUS bonded brackets like those of Ugly Betty (YIKES!) for a few decades. Fortunately today's computer generated brackets are smooth, small, and sleek. What was your first thought when you saw the girl's picture on the left? Was it 'She's cute.' or 'Man, look at the ugly braces on that girl!' The reason it was the former is because today's braces are not only fashionable but they are as common place as wearing a watch or earrings. Braces also come in a less noticeable clear option as sported by this Hollywood star (where you'll see the braces are the least of his worries.)

Traditional braces typically allow for the most precise tooth straightening due to the control they offer orthodontists. Teeth often move unpredictably during orthodontic treatment and need to be custom guided into position. Unfortunately, traditional braces require unique knowledge and know-how, which is why only orthodontists who have specialized training and extensive experience with braces typically use them. Aside from obtaining a four-year bachelor's degree, a four-year dental degree, and a truck load of school debt, orthodontists have set aside their hard-earned dental skills to solely provide orthodontic treatment by obtaining a three-year specialty certificate (and sometimes a masters degree as did Dr. Stevens) in orthodontics from a United States accredited university program.

How does Invisalign works?

It's important for people to understand that HOW teeth move does not change between Invisalign and braces—rather it is HOW we move the teeth that changes. Moving teeth with clear aligners has occurred for decades. However, Darwin's theory of evolution has also thankfully applied to clear aligners—enter a new invention called Invisalign. Invisalign (a specific brand of clear aligners among many but arguably the most popular and the only one worth using in Dr. Stevens' opinion) uses technicians in Central America's Costa Rica to align patients' teeth on the computer and then the dentist or orthodontist simply accepts the recommended treatment with the click of a button and PRESTO! Laser-made aligners are shipped to the front door.

What the public doesn't know is that to have the distinguished? title of 'Invisalign Certified' bestowed upon a doctor, there is a mere three hour training course that covers two topics: 1) How to get a patient's information to Invisalign 2) How to market Invisalign to patients. What's that? You didn't see anything about the ability to straighten teeth? The training to straighten teeth? Being a certified and licensed orthodontist? Well you're correct.

Additionally, once a doctor has sold Invisalign to enough patients within a four month period, Invisalign knights them a Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Invisalign Provider—clearly (no pun intended) rewarding accolades based on ‘quantity—not quality’. In fact, with the help of a dental assistant, a circus monkey could literally (but not legally) treat patients with Invisalign. Dr. Stevens would love to have Invisalign be as easy as many make it out to be that he could get paid to hand out aligners to patients at a kiosk in the mall while selling cool toys.

However, easy to do does not mean easy to do well (straighten teeth with an ideal result.) So the next time someone approaches you about Invisalign ask them what the difference would be if they were to straighten your teeth with braces. If they don’t do braces, they don’t have the ability to offer you an option and don’t you want the BEST option for you?

At this point you may think Dr. Daron Stevens has an axe (or a smaller hatchet) to grind with Invisalign and many that sell Invisalign—the answer would be ‘yes’ as he feels the public is often times being deceptively sold a product. However, the truth is that most marketing is guilty of false advertising. For example, no one bites into a Hot Pocket and says, ‘Yumm! Just like the picture on the box!’ do they??? Dr. Stevens feels that his orthodontic profession demands a higher level of honesty, integrity, and responsibility for the consumer (patient) than the sale of frozen foods. True, there are patients that can obtain an ideal smile using Invisalign like they can with traditional braces so let us help you know your options and give you what you want. We want the product to look like the packaging.

Rewind to 1999 when Cher’s Believe is the #1 song according to Billboard Magazine (side note: Dr. Stevens never knew why Cher temporarily changed her name to Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and how her singing career started after playing Lily on the Munsters.) TLC is telling us they ‘don’t want No Scrub (#2) and defining ‘scrub’ for those of us not sure what one is. Britney sings an all-time favorite Baby One More Time (#5), and the Backstreet Boys compete with the amazing I Want It That Way (#15). Amongst such epic moments in history, Invisalign is fittingly born.

Fortunately, Invisalign has evolved and improved as much as Britney has from her shaved head days. Initially, orthodontists were only allowed to move the teeth with Invisalign in a very limited fashion due to limitations with the product. Today, Invisalign has made improvements that allow the doctor freedom to utilize their aligners in ways that were not previously available until early 2014 with dozens of attachment options, improved aligner material, and after $400 million in research, is finally starting to allow orthodontists to do what they do best—move teeth. Invisalign has not changed HOW teeth move, but has changed HOW we move teeth.

For ideal Invisalign results, a doctor first needs to understand HOW teeth move. Then he needs to understand HOW to move teeth with Invisalign—which is uniquely different than using traditional braces in many ways.

After a long courtship, we can now say we love Invisalign!!! If you are interested in Invisalign, Dr. Stevens’ knowledge of tooth movement and use of traditional braces and advanced Invisalign techniques allows him to let you know if Invisalign is your best option to get your smile as perfect as you hope for. Although Invisalign is capable of straightening teeth as well as—and sometimes better than—traditional braces, let Dr. Stevens determine if Invisalign is your best option for your own personal and unique situation. Dr. Stevens feels you owe it to yourself to know what Invisalign’s limitations are in order to make a truly informed choice.

Dr. Stevens attends advanced Invisalign courses for orthodontist invitation only throughout North America that allow him to obtain beautiful smiles with Invisalign. Let us help you decide if Invisalign is the right choice for you!

Dr. Daron Stevens of Hawai’i Kai

Give us a call at 808-202-2007. Providing orthodontics and orthodontic care for residents of Hawai’i Kai and the surrounding area!

Three convenient orthodontic offices in Hawaii!

Kahala Office

4618 Kilauea Ave #4
Honolulu, HI, 96816

Honolulu Office

1210 Ward Ave. #200
Honolulu, HI, 96814

Mililani Office

95-720 Lanikuhana Ave. #230.
Mililani, HI 96789