Grand Forks dental surgeon one of few certified to work with clear corrective equipmentChelsea Erickson, doctor of dental surgery at DeMers Dental in East Grand Forks, is one of few dentists and orthodontists in the Grand Cities certified to work with Invisalign.
By: Lisa Gibson, Grand Forks Herald
Chelsea Erickson, doctor of dental surgery at DeMers Dental in East Grand Forks, is one of few dentists and orthodontists in the Grand Cities certified to work with Invisalign.
The clear aligner straightens minor to moderate overcrowding without the brackets and wires of traditional braces.
That’s great news for adults who aren’t particularly keen on the idea of having the dental equipment so often associated with pre-pubescent awkwardness.
The clear product has been around for several years and can be applied by general dentists, like Erickson, or orthodontists.
“It really doesn’t take a whole lot to be certified,” Erickson says, adding that she took a private course for her certification and has several patients with Invisalign, including some coworkers at DeMers Dental.
The aligner is a little heavier duty than a retainer, she explains, and is replaced every two weeks until teeth are properly aligned. It can be taken out to eat and floss, causes less pain than braces and has a shorter treatment time.
Erickson says she wants to use Invisalign herself, but it’s offered by so few dentists and orthodontists in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks.
“I can’t do it for myself,” she laughs.
The biggest drawback to the product for dentists and orthodontists is the limitation on issues it can correct, she says, adding that more advanced problems still would require brackets and wires, as would large overbites.
“There are certainly cases where you’re not going to use it.”
And some orthodontists are just more comfortable working with the traditional braces they’re used to.
Paul Stadem, the other doctor of dental surgery at DeMers Dental, is not Invisalign certified, but Erickson says it’sa nice balance, and beneficial for each to bring different specialties to their practice.
“He already does so much,” she says.
Curtis Tanabe, a doctor of dental surgery in Grand Forks, also offers the corrective product.
Research and fact-checking
Before Erickson decided to take the training course and receive Invisalign certification, she did extensive research into the technology to ensure it is a quality product and not just a “fad,” she says. “I wasn’t just going to jump into something. It took me a while to decide.
“Paul and I are very conscientious of what we’re doing,” she says. “Our primary goal is that the teeth function properly.”
Many products might make them look pretty, but functionality is more important, Erickson adds.
Adults are ideal candidates for Invisalign, she says, not only because it is more discrete than braces, but also because it allows more freedom and adults generally are more dedicated to the treatment. Because the aligners can be removed, younger patients can be less compliant with the requirement of keeping them in 22 hours a day, thereby significantly reducing the chances of success.
And besides, mom and dad are probably footing the bill anyway, so there certainly isn’t a financial incentive for kids and teens to use the product properly. It’s likely to end up at the bottom of the garbage in the cafeteria, with all the retainers.
So for now, Erickson has a line of adult patients ready to use Invisalign, starting with a couple more right in her office.
Copyright 2013, Grand Forks Herald.