Like many areas involving the delivery of healthcare, the field of dentistry is currently involved in a process of rapid change in what has until recently been considered conventional practice. Such changes are taking place in many fields and are often the result of, and driven by, the integration of new computer-based digital technologies, which tend to become the core of powerful new methodologies. In the dental specialty of orthodontics, for example, the process of laser scanning and the three-dimensional imaging of a patient’s teeth and then the manipulation of the virtual tooth positions within a computer-aided-design (CAD) environment is an example. Commercial orthodontic sequential aligner laboratories such as SAT®, Clear Correct® have emerged that provide new types of services for orthodontic practitioners based on such computer-driven three-dimensional imaging methods. These new commercial enterprises, based on three-dimensional imaging and CAD manipulation of tooth positions and tooth relationships have become routinely used by orthodontic practitioners as part of a successful new approach to straightening teeth. The integration of these digital services into orthodontics has been commercially successful, and many clinicians feel that utilization of these new 3D imaging-based technologies has led to a higher standard of care.
To use the newly-available digital services, an orthodontic practitioner’s support staff first takes an impression of a patient’s teeth, gums and soft tissue. From the impression, a positive stone model is poured and allowed to cure. Instead of retaining a patient’s models for in-office case diagnosis and treatment planning as in the past, the attending orthodontic practitioners will instead ship the patient’s models or the impression to a commercial sequential aligner laboratory. A number of services are available to a dentist using such sequential aligner laboratory, and these services will be provided according to a prescription and other instructions sent along with the patient’s models to the service center.
Can I claim a Private Health Insurance rebate on SAT treatment?
If you have top dental extras cover and have met the minimum waiting period, your SAT will be claimable through your Private Health Insurance fund through your orthodontics cover. There is usually a lifetime cap on orthodontics claims per individual; some funds cover will cover up to $2600 or more. We suggest you get a health insurance predetermination before you commit to commencing treatment.
Can I claim an Income Tax rebate on SAT treatment?
It is best to seek advice from your accountant to check if you are eligible. There may be a government rebate that is available to a taxpayer whose eligible net medical expenses in the year of income exceed $1,500. The rebate is claimed when the annual income tax return is lodged. The amount of the rebate can be as much as 20% of the excess over $1,500 but cannot exceed the amount of the tax otherwise paid.
What are the aligners made of?
Aligners are made of clear, strong, medical grade, non-toxic plastic that is virtually invisible when worn. The most used product is called Zenduda®
What do the aligners look like?
Aligners are nearly invisible and look similar to clear tooth-whitening trays, but are commercially in high-tech machines for a better fit to move teeth.
How long will treatment take?
The length of treatment is dependent on the severity of the individual case and approximately corresponds to times taken with traditional braces technologies. Treatment may vary from anywhere between 6 months to two years, with an average treatment taking around 12 to 14 months. There are various treatment accelerator technologies that can be utilised to shorten treatment times by up to half, but they usually add about 10-15% to the treatment cost. In our practice we use the VPro5 which will cost about $850.
Does SAT work?
Yes. In both clinical research and in dental practices around the world, SAT has been proven effective at straightening teeth. Over one million patients have either been treated, or are in treatment, and tens of thousands of dentists have been trained on how to use SAT.
How does SAT move teeth?
Like brackets and archwires, the SAT aligner moves teeth through the appropriate placement of controlled force on the teeth. The principal difference is that SAT not only controls forces, but also controls the timing of the force application. At each stage, only certain teeth are allowed to move, and these movements are determined by the orthodontic treatment plan for that particular stage. This results in an efficient force delivery system.
Is SAT a safe and proven orthodontic technology?
As is typical of medical product introductions, SAT has been extensively tested and studied. Various US universities have conducted clinical studies and numerous clinical articles have been published by US and Australian dentists, supporting the use of this technology.
Can all orthodontic treatment needs be treated with SAT?
About 70% of all patients seeking orthodontic treatment can be effectively treated with this technology. You may be unsuitable for SAT if you have multiple missing teeth, severely tipped teeth, un-erupted or palatally impacted teeth, patients with moderate to advanced periodontal disease, or patients that may be seeking to change their facial profile that require orthognathic surgery.
Can I get treatment started immediately like with braces?
This process will typically take about 6 weeks from the time the moulds are taken of your teeth. The taking of the moulds of your teeth can be done during or after the Free Orthodontic Consult. The moulds, photos and examination findings will be uploaded to the SAT laboratory to be used to manufacture your aligners.
Is the treatment very painful?
Most people experience some pain or discomfort for day or so at the beginning of wearing each new aligner. This pain and discomfort is nothing like that experienced by wearing traditional fixed braces. Our patients typically describe this as the feeling of pressure and discomfort, and it is a sign that the aligners are doing what they are designed to do – in sequentially moving your teeth to the desired finished position.
What impact will the aligners have on my speech and wind instrument playing?
Like all orthodontic treatment options, your tongue adapts to having the aligners in your mouth, the initial minor speech impediment caused by the aligners will usually disappear quickly, which means you may have a slight lisp for a very short time. The same applied to the playing of wind instruments.
Can I still wear a mouthguard for contact sports?
Yes and we suggest that you purchase a one from us or a reputable supplier that supplies mouthguards that can be heated in warm water and moulded to your teeth. You may need to remould this mouthguard every 6 or so weeks to accommodate the changed position of your teeth. We also recommend you wear the mouthguard with the aligner still on the teeth. Do not mould the mouthguard with the aligner in place as the heat may degrade the aligner.