Treatment management between orthodontists and general practitioners performing clear aligner therapy

Angle Orthod. 2017 May;87(3):432-439. doi: 10.2319/062616-500.1. Epub 2016 Nov 22.


Objective: To investigate differences in case selection, treatment management, and aligner treatment expertise between orthodontists and general practitioners.

Materials and methods: A parallel pair of original surveys with three sections (case selection, treatment management, and demographics) was sent to orthodontists (N = 1000) and general dentists (N = 1000) who were providers of aligner treatment.

Results: Orthodontists had treated significantly more patients with aligners, had treated more patients with aligners in the previous 12 months, and had received more aligner training than general dentists (P < .0001). In general, case confidence increased with increasing experience for both orthodontists and general dentists. After adjusting for experience, there was a significant difference in aligner case confidence between orthodontists and general dentists for several malocclusions. General dentists were more confident than orthodontists in treating deep bite, severe crowding, and Class II malocclusions with aligners (P ≤ .0001). Significant differences were also found for all treatment management techniques except interproximal reduction.

Conclusion: There was a significant difference in case selection, treatment management, and aligner expertise between orthodontists and general dentists, although the differences in case selection were small. Overall, it was shown that orthodontists and general dentists elected to treat a variety of moderate to severe malocclusions with aligners but with different utilization of recommended auxiliaries, perhaps demonstrating a difference in treatment goals.

Keywords: Aligner; Invisalign; Management.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • General Practitioners*
  • Humans
  • Malocclusion / therapy*
  • Orthodontic Appliances, Removable*
  • Orthodontics, Corrective / instrumentation*
  • Orthodontists*
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires