Tuesday, August 14, 2012
An Inventor in Our Midst
You probably recognize Invisalign as the trademarked name for the process of moving teeth using a custom-designed series of clear plastic retainers. For the patient, the obvious benefit is privacy; most people don’t even realize that you are wearing a retainer!
Though you may have heard the word (in the context of orthodontics), you probably don’t know the history behind this game-changing development in the tooth-moving business. Until the Invisalign process was introduced, the only way to move teeth involved brackets and wire. In children and teens the process of tooth movement often required additional bulky and embarrassing appliances. Remember the old headgear that children often wore? In those days, because braces were so visible, and adult treatment often involved costly surgery, orthodontists rarely had older patients in treatment.
Today, because of Invisalign, much of that has changed.
Actually, the Invisalign process itself wasn’t invented by an orthodontist! Instead, a Morgan Stanly investment banker envisioned the idea. After his own orthodontic treatment ended, his orthodontist gave him clear retainers, instructing him to wear them daily in order to prevent his teeth from regressing—moving away from—their new position.
It didn’t take long for Mr. Zia Chishti to realize that he didn’t have to wear them every day, because, when he put the retainers back in, his teeth resumed their original position. Then the idea came to him that the retainers were actually causing tooth movement. From this simple realization, the concept for Invisalign was born. Mr. Zia Chishti (the banker) joined with Ms. Kelsey Worth—combining their computer science and graphic design backgrounds—to design and create the company behind the Invisalign brand.
Align Technology began promoting their new retainer system to orthodontists in 1999, and Dr. Sutherland joined the revolution in 2000. Since then, Dr. Sutherland has completed enough cases to become an Invisalign Elite Provider. But more than that, he has pioneered brand new applications of the Invisalign technology which have become a routine part of his orthodontic practice. These techniques—processes he designed and created—have changed the way orthodontists view tooth movement. In another blog, we’ll be showing you pictures and giving a clearer explanation of how Dr. Sutherland’s expertise and innovation enabled him to correct tooth alignment in ways other dentists, even the Invisalign designers had never thought possible.
If you, or someone you love—even an adult—believe your smile is too difficult to correct, stay tuned. With pictures and explanations you’ll be able to see for yourself. Almost no smile is too difficult to treat. We promise you’ll be surprised and amazed. Perhaps you’ll even begin to wonder:
Is a new smile in my future?
Dr. Greg Sutherland,
With Bette Nordberg