What is the difference between a Preferred, Premier, Premier Elite Invisalign provider?

  • Megan P
  • 3 years ago

So you have been researching options to perfect your smile, and have decided Invisalign is the way to go. You find an Invisalign Preferred Provider and think you must be in good hands if you choose them, right? After all, the Align company itself (makers of Invisalign) has said they are Preferred. Then you hear there is a Premier Provider, whose experience is greater than that of the Preferred Provider. Ok, easy choice now right? Oh but wait, there is also an Elite Premier Provider...now you are beginning to wonder if there is a Deluxe Elite Premier Provider aren’t you? Luckily no, at least not yet.

If you do a web search to see what sets these providers apart from one another it is difficult to find any information.  The Invisalign site simply ranks the designations from least to most experience, but doesn’t give the criteria to earn the specific designations. The PR firm that works for Align was kind enough to confirm the provider qualifications as listed below, with a note that the company doesn’t make this information public. No wonder it is so difficult to come by!

The Qualifications:

    Preferred Provider:

       • Treat 10 cases per year


    Premier Provider:

        • Has treated at least 50 cases total
        • Treat at least 25 cases every 6 months


    Premier Elite Provider:

        • Has treated at least 300 cases total
        • Treat 50 cases every 6 months


**There are no continuing education requirements for any of the designations, despite popular beliefs to the contrary.

If, when you look at the qualification criteria, all you see are quantity of cases and nothing that address the quality of the outcome you are not alone. When the question of if the quality of the outcome was taken into consideration before assigning the designations Align’s PR firm replied, “In terms of your question related to quality, Align provides prospective patients with information regarding Invisalign product experience. It is not a comment on or evaluation of clinical competency, which Align defers to the state licensing boards and to the profession to determine, as clinical standards of care are not within Align’s purview or authority.” So in other words, no, the results of the treatment is not evaluated by Align. The designations are only measures of the number of cases completed.

It is also worth noting that the Invisalign site states “Where multiple Invisalign providers are associated with a single combined practice, the Invisalign Advantage Program designation reflects that of the dentist or orthodontist with the most Invisalign cases submitted.” Basically if an unexperienced dentist works at the same office as an Elite Premier Provider the entire office can be promoted as that level of provider. For this reason if you use the designations to help choose your provider it would be wise to ask what level of experience the dentist who will be treating you has, and not make an assumption.

If the designations don’t assess quality, are they worth using to select your provider? If so do you go to a Preferred Provider if it will save you a few bucks, or play it safe and go with the Premier Elite Provider?

Comments (14)

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I go to a Premier provider who is also a Board Certtified cosmetic dentist. He is very experienced and I like that. He has seen so many cases he can tell me what to expect. I did not pay all up front. My insurance paid for 40% and did it monthly. I have paid as treatment progressed.
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My doctor suggested a new product from another company....Was curious if anyone has heard of it, MTM Aligner? Said I wouldnt need those buttons that invisalign would put on my teeth....Offered a cheaper price too....Any feed back would be helpful....
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Well, I stuck with my "Preferred" provider and actually finished the treatment for the top and only about 2 more months for the bottom. The results are great! The investment was well worth it. It's so nice to hae straight teeth again. I do have to tell you - the idea wearing these things in my mouth every night "forever" is sometimes just too much to think about. Can't say I'm happy about that!
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Thank you for the reply. I am on a payment plan with the office so am not completely paid off. How does this change things? Would I have to pay my account in full before they would release my records/trays? I will definately be looking at my original contract to see what it says.
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I honestly don't know the answer to those questions. You would have to ask that specific office what their policies are, or you could check with the dental board in your area if you want to check into your rights as a patient.

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I have had Invisalign for more than a year now. I am on my 3rd provider with the same ortho office. I started out with 1 ortho who began my tx. He left the office so I was transferred to someone new who did a revision. She is a Premier Preferred provider. Well, 15 trays into my revision, she leaves the practice and I am again switched to another provider. I come to find out he is only a General Provider. Needless to say, I am less than happy with this office. This latest ortho was not very nice and pretty much told me not to expect good results.
Is this normal? Can I switch offices and follow my previous provider? How does that work with payments and all my remaining trays (20 of them!!)
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Wow, I am really sorry to hear what is going on for you.

The thing to keep in mind is that the care you have paid for is through your original office, so while you can switch to any office you like the extra expense (whatever the new office has to charge to finish your case) will be your responsibility to cover.

Of course this is a major disappointment when you have already paid for a service. You can certainly speak to your current office and explain your concern and desire to go elsewhere and see if they are willing to refund part of your treatment cost. If you signed any sort of agreement before beginning treatment I would definitely go back & read that to see what it states under such circumstances.

Would love to hear what you decide to do & how things go for you.

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Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome. You are really a master.

Dentist in Bradford
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Hi Megan.. when I decided to get my Invisalign's last January, I was not aware of the different designations and treated with a "Preferred" provider. I now feel cheated of making a choice. This treatment has been not only a huge financial commitment, but a very "challenging" lifestyle commitment as well. Every patient should have the right to know this!
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Agreed. The only way for that to happen is for us to spread the word. You can hover over the green "Share" tab on the left to be given the option to post this, or any other RealSelf page, to your Facebook or Twitter to help with the effort. :)

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So I guess the tongue-in-cheek "Deluxe Elite Premier Provider" referenced above wasn't too far from the truth...Invisalign now has "Super Elite provider".

I will be looking into what the qualifications are, but for now click here to see an article that at least verifies that Invisalign really did create this new designation.

 

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I emailed the Invisalign/PR company on Sept. 14th requesting they confirm the qualifications for the Super Elite Provider. I have yet to receive a response, but will post it if/when I receive one.

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Yesterday I received a response back from the company that handles Invisalign's PR. They said "“the information regarding the Super Elite designation is not information the company is making available publicly at this time.”

We have published a blog that you can share with others about this subject. Click here to go to the blog.

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If you are choosing an Invisalign provider you might also be interested in the Forum "Dentist or Orthodontist, does it matter that much?"

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