Dr. Ben Fong is a General Dentist at Herongate Dental Clinic in Ottawa.
Your Platinum Invisalign Provider
As a Platinum Invisalign provider, Dr. Fong has helped many patients with Invisalign treatment. We are very passionate about the oral health and cosmetic benefits that Invisalign clear aligners can offer his patients, at a price comparable to traditional braces.
In this candid interview, Dr. Fong will explain a little bit about his practice and his techniques with respect to Invisalign.
- Why did you choose orthodontics as your major interest in your practice?
During my dental school years, I was quite captured by cosmetic dentistry and the technical aspect of the dental profession. After graduation, I practiced general dentistry and provided every aspect of its service to the community.
I maintained my interest in cosmetics and eventually came to realize that orthodontics is a major part of dentistry, which helps patients get a smile they love. Crowns and veneers can certainly improve the appearance of a damaged tooth, but orthodontics will create the symmetry and the alignment of a beautiful smile.
- How do patients find you?
My patients come to my practice in many ways. The majority of them come through referrals from other patients that are happy and satisfied with my service.
I also get referrals from fellow dentists whom I strictly provide orthodontic treatment, and the patients are sent back to their office for their routine treatment. My other sources of referrals are my Invisalign website and Google search engine.
- Why do you prefer Invisalign over conventional braces?
To me, Invisalign is like ‘the best thing since sliced bread.’ Its technology and simplicity has revolutionized how orthodontic treatment is done.
Most of all, this service can be done by a general dentist like myself with great success. I do have an extensive background in conventional orthodontics, and in my practice, we do almost 50% of each type of service.
I still prefer conventional braces for early teens and for severe jaw developmental discrepancies in which I apply functional orthodontic techniques. Otherwise, Invisalign wins hands down when it comes to the pros and cons.
- What do patients expect if they have an Invisalign consultation with you?
My Invisalign consultations are free of charge, and I spend around 30 minutes with each patient. I review the patient’s main concerns, goals and expectations. Upon examination with X-rays, I would explain to the patient why they have their problems and what they can expect as a final outcome.
I would also give them an approximate price and how long it would take for the treatment to be completed. I show them a sample of how the treatment is done with one of the 1500 plus Invisalign treatments that I have done.
- Is it true that patients treated with Invisalign will have their teeth go back to the way they were?
It’s a complete myth. Regardless of how teeth are aligned, relapse is strictly due to the teeth not being maintained properly in their desired position. I tell my patients if they want straight teeth for life, they have to wear a retainer for life.
- Can you go over what the patient can expect from their first appointment to the last appointment?
Yes, I am more than happy to explain what each and every Invisalign appointment entails.
During the first appointment, the patient comes in for their record and scanning. All general dentistry, including fillings and cleaning, has to be done prior to this appointment.
The scanning is done with an Itero that will instantly produce a simulated final outcome of what the patient’s smile will look like. The goals are determined with the patient and my instructions. These are then sent electronically, along with the scan, to the Invisalign headquarters.
During the second appointment, a week later, I will review the proposed Invisalign treatment, the amount of time to complete the treatment and the final outcome of their desired smile.
At the third appointment, two weeks later, the patient will get their first four Invisalign trays. All the instructions are given to the patient with a handout plus a YouTube video link that describes this appointment in more detail. Generally, the patient will wear the trays for one week each.
At the fourth appointment, the patient will receive the next 6 to 8 Invisalign trays, and they will come back for more trays once they have finished the trays that have been given to them. During each visit, the patient’s progress is monitored and compared with what the movements should have been.
The number of visits will be based on how many total trays the patient has, and in general, they are seen every 6 to 8 weeks. The average treatment time is one year.
On their last visit, retainer trays will be given to the patient with proper instructions to maintain a successful and long-lasting smile. I do have cases where we switch to conventional braces so we may have better control over their treatment.
- Have any patients ever quit?
Rarely, but we did have one patient whose pain tolerance and manual dexterity challenges prevented him from wearing Invisalign trays properly. I switched the patient to conventional braces, and everything went very well after that.
- Does your office provide any adjunctive services to speed up the orthodontic treatment?
Yes, we use two additional adjunctive services, Acceledent and Propel.
Acceledent is a plastic device that is used for 20 minutes a day, which creates a gentle micro pulse that speeds up the remodelling of bone tissue for faster and safer tooth movements.
Propel is a technique in which small micro bone perforations are made in areas near the teeth that are expected to have difficulty in moving. It creates an inflammatory reaction in the area, which facilitates the movement of teeth.
- Where do you see Invisalign 10 years from now?
Invisalign is a phenomenal product. During the last 13 years since I’ve been providing Invisalign, it has progressed so much, and with their R & D department, they have continued to evolve to a level of their own.
Additionally, Invisalign has really helped the general dentist get involved with orthodontics. I’m doing my part with my courses and study club that I present to general dentists across Canada.
- What about the gooey stuff that is used by most dentists to take impressions?
In my office, we have gone away with that by incorporating a 3-D scanning system. It allows us to send information digitally to Invisalign located in Southern California with a simple click on the computer. It cuts down the processing time by one week, eliminates retakes, and the information sent is extremely accurate.
- Do you have any failures?
Yes, of course. The biggest reason for failure is patient compliance. A patient that doesn’t follow our rules and does not wear their trays accordingly is certainly at high risk for failure.
Over the years, I have been able to figure out these patients and successfully resolve this issue. I do have the rare cases that we switch to conventional braces to have better control over their treatment.
Learn More About Invisalign
If your questions about Invisalign clear aligners were not answers by Dr. Fong's interview, you can read more of our most frequently asked questions.