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Invisalign didn’t work for me. What should I do now?

Invisible clear aligner by Invisalign is shown against a blue background.My front teeth were crowded and my midline was off, so I started Invisalign treatment in January 2019 with a general dentist. I was told my treatment should take about 9 months and my dentist gave me a quote, which I agreed to.

But as it turned out, 9 months wasn’t long enough to correct my midline. My dentist said he would need to order more trays for me to wear for another 9 months.

I’m frustrated about this because it means my treatment took twice as long (and cost me twice as much) as I was originally told, and my midline is still off.

I went to get a second opinion from two orthodontists who place both regular braces and Invisalign, and they both told me that Invisalign wasn’t the right choice for me and that I should have gotten regular braces from the start.

I’d like to get a refund from my original dentist who didn’t seem to know what he was doing, but I’m also not sure whether I can believe what these new dentists are telling me about Invisalign.

Do you have any advice?

— Amanda from Connecticut

Hi Amanda,

If Invisalign treatment fails to straighten your teeth, or worse, if it actually ruins your bite, then it’s natural to be frustrated by the wasted time and expense.

Some orthodontists are biased against Invisalign simply because they prefer to use traditional braces which give them more control over the outcome. But the fact that two orthodontic specialists who also offer Invisalign examined your teeth and recommended regular braces is a good indication that they are right and that you can trust their assessments.

This doesn’t mean that your original dentist was wrong, however. Your case sounds like one that was hard for your dentist to predict. It is notoriously difficult to correct a midline issue with Invisalign alone. So your dentist didn’t necessarily do anything wrong, but you are on the right track by seeking treatment with professionals who can offer you an alternative to Invisalign.

It still isn’t fair to pay twice for the same Invisalign treatment that didn’t work, so if you would like to request a refund for the portion of your treatment that didn’t go according to plan, you will have to work that out tactfully with your original treating dentist.

Some dentists may not see this as a failed treatment as long as the treatment was rendered correctly, but your dentist may be willing to accommodate you if you ask politely. If you encounter resistance, ask your new orthodontist to help you negotiate your refund as they can provide documented clinical evidence to support your case.

We’d also like to let you know that some patients who have been disappointed by Invisalign later discover that facial orthopedic treatment helps them correct their bites, so that is another option you may want to consider before getting braces.

This post has been published on behalf of dentofacial orthopedic Owasso dentist Dr. Heng Lim.