Thursday, August 23, 2012

Added Value: Innovation!

This week, we’ll continue our discussion of Invisalign, the remarkable method of moving teeth using a series of clear plastic retainers.

While the technology is relatively new (you can read about its history in our last blog), its use has become widespread. Even general dentists (with no post-graduate orthodontic credentials) have begun to provide Invisalign to their patients. This is only possible because the trays themselves are made off site—by the Invisalign Company—based on the company’s treatment plans. In this case, both the patient and the dentist must trust Invisalign to provide the best approach for the patient.

However at Smiles by Sutherland, patients can expect more.

Because Dr. Sutherland has been involved with Invisalign from the very early days, his expertise has actually changed the way orthodontic treatment plans are created, especially in the SBS office. Here is one exciting example.

Not so long ago, the orthodontic world believed that tooth movement could only safely occur "one tooth at a time." Practically speaking, this meant that when teeth in the back of the mouth needed to move backward (to make room for the front teeth to move backward too), that motion had to occur slowly, one tooth at a time.

New Patient. Notice upper teeth (crowding, rotation, protruding) cover lower teeth.
When Invisalign began their process followed this "one tooth at a time" philosophy. In those days, patients with protruding front teeth ad to wait through interminably long treatments while the posterior teeth (molars and premolars) were moved backwards. Only then could the front teeth be moved into the newly vacated space.

"Those patients sometimes had to wear more than eighty aligners in order to accomplish this much tooth movement. At two weeks per aligner, that accounts for almost three years of treatment," Dr. Sutherland explained in a recent interview.

It was too long for most patients.

New Patient, lower jaw showing crowding and rotation of central teeth.
About four years ago, Dr. Sutherland began to re-think the concept. He began to believe that with the right adaptations, groups of teeth could be moved together, or "en-masse." In the beginning, Dr. Sutherland went to Invisalign with the idea of adding buttons to his patient's "eye teeth" (canine teeth) and first molars. He attached elastics to these buttons, which provided additional tooth moving force. Later, Invisalign placed laser-made cuts on the aligners accomplishing the same purpose.

With these and other adaptations to the aligners, Dr. Sutherland pioneered what is now called, "en-masse posterior distilization," a process which moves posterior teeth backward in blocks. The new technique allows 3-6 mm of movement in as little as six months, cutting total treatment time, in many cases by half.

New Invisalign processes have changed much of what was believed to be possible about orthodontic treatment. These nearly invisible aligners are now able to change the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower (moving the lower jaw forward). They can open the bit, allowing the lower teeth to become visible (rather than hidden by the upper teeth). They can even change the shape of the upper arch.

Since Dr. Ethan Larson joined Smiles By Sutherland, both he and Dr. Sutherland have continued to share and perfect these new techniques. While you'll never hear them boast, their commitment to efficient and innovative treatment plans have changed the way smiles are made these days. That kind of expertise isn't available just anywhere.

Smiles by Sutherland patients experience these benefits every single day!
After Invisalign, the lower teeth in perfect alignmnet!
Treatment complete. Notice the lower teeth are visible. The rotation and crowding are absent. Beautiful smile!
How about you? Isn't it time that you, or someone you loved, enjoyed the charm and beauty of a new smile?


  1. What a great discovery- cutting the time in half is a BIG deal! I was told I would need rubber bands with Invisalign and I never really understood why until know. Thank you for your knowledge and the passion for what you do.

  2. Ahh, Ms. Dailey, you are so kind. It's a great gift to be able to work at something you love, at something that makes such a big difference in the lives of both children AND adults! When shy kids blossom because they discover a beautiful smile where imperfection once lived, THAT makes going to work almost like play!

  3. My Natalie will get her Invisalign shortly! She can't wait!

  4. I cannot wait for mine. Going from not being able to fix my teeth with traditional braces to being able to with Invisalign is amazing.

  5. Most often, change in our lives is "iffy." We hope to lose weight, become more disciplined, learn a new language, get better at our jobs, but we can't be sure. The wonder of invisalign is that IF you will wear them, you WILL see changes in your mouth. How cool is that? It's a given. A sure thing! And you can enjoy your new smile for a whole lifetime!

  6. At first, I never really could wrap my mind around how Invisalign worked. It's amazing how those aligners can move your teeth and basically reshape the mouth. My son has the traditional braces now, but at times he does say, I wish I had gotten the invisalign because it would be easier to take care of my teeth. He is happy with how his teeth are looking and a lot of our friends noticed a HUGE difference the first few weeks of having the braces on. They would look at him and say there is something different about Bahjah. His facial feature had begun to change because of the braces. He asked me if I was going to get braces and I said we'll see.

  7. I'm estatic with the service, especially with the friendly staff and the reassuring attitude offered when needed. Emergency Dentist edmonton