Visualize Your Outcome

iTero® Scanner simulates results for orthodontic and dental patients.

Photos courtesy of Bell Tower Dental Care.

Jimmy (After)

When meeting someone for the first time, many people say their smile is the first thing they notice. Serving food and drinks at a country club, Jimmy* comes face to face with numerous people for the first time on a regular basis. However, greeting them with a smile is not something he’s always felt confident about.

“I was a bit self-conscious because my front teeth were crooked and I had a bit of a gap in my teeth,” Jimmy shares. “I had braces when I was younger, and I didn’t wear my retainer like I was supposed to, and that caused my teeth to shift.”

All through college, Jimmy was bothered by his lackluster smile, so when he returned home to Fort Myers, he decided to have his smile corrected. He made an appointment with his dentist of 15 years, Michael J. Andersen, DDS, of Bell Tower Dental Care.

“Jimmy and I had previously discussed correcting his teeth,” Dr. Andersen reports. “They had rotated and become crooked, and he wanted to feel more confident smiling and talking to people. We discussed all the options and agreed that the best plan was to use Invisalign® clear aligners.”

Invisalign is a great option for patients who don’t want to wear traditional metal braces. They are clear, making them almost undetectable, and patients can take them out when eating or brushing their teeth.

Seeing Your Future Smile

As part of its Invisalign program, Bell Tower Dental Care utilizes the iTero Scanner, a state-of-the-art digital imaging device that allows patients to see 3-D images of what their teeth can look like at the end of their treatment plan.

And while it was designed with that aspect of the orthodontic process in mind, the iTero Scanner can also be used in other ways, including making digital impressions that eliminate the need for the foul-tasting paste impressions that cause a gag reflex in many patients.

“We use the iTero Scanner on all our patients to give us a digital record of what their teeth look like,” Dr. Andersen notes. “It allows us to easily see if there are any crooked teeth or spaces or if they have any bite issues.

Photos courtesy of Bell Tower Dental Care.

JImmy (Before)

“We still use x-rays and clinical observation, but the scanner helps us better show the patient where their problem areas are. It gives them a visual picture that we can rotate to show them what may be causing an incorrect bite.

“We also use it for restorative work, partials, dentures and crowns. If a patient wants a new denture, we use the scanner to send digital impressions to the lab. The lab then sends the models to us with the teeth, and we try them on the patient.

“I’ve been doing partials for quite a while, and I can honestly say that, with the iTero Scanner, the bite and fit we get with our partials is perfect. Previously, I would often need to make some kind of adjustment, but with the iTero Scanner, the partials come in perfect every time.”

As he does with most of his patients, Dr. Andersen began his work on Jimmy by using the iTero Scanner to create a 3-D image of his teeth as they were then. He then used the scanner to create an image of how his teeth would look following the Invisalign treatment.

“Once we’ve completed the scan, we send it to Invisalign, and from those images, they are able to create a proper treatment plan for each person,” Dr. Andersen continues. “They deliver that plan to us through the computer, then we look to see if there are any changes we want to make. If not, they make the liners. If we have corrections, they apply them and send another treatment plan back for approval.

“Another thing the scanner allows us to do is scan the patient at different intervals throughout their treatment. That way, if certain teeth are not moving properly or we feel they should be further along than they are, we can stop them at that point, rescan and initiate new liners to be made to get back on track or to proceed on getting more movement from certain teeth.”

That advantage proved beneficial for Jimmy, who required a bite adjustment after wearing his aligners for approximately three months. At that point, though, Dr. Andersen simply arranged for another scan, from which another Invisalign program was created.

Results Lead to Big Smiles

Photos courtesy of Bell Tower Dental Care.

The iTero Scanner is a
digital imaging device that gives patients the ability to see 3-D images of what
their teeth could look like following treatment.

Each clear Invisalign aligner is designed to be worn day and night for approximately one to two weeks, after which the aligner is changed out for a new one. The entire length of time a patient wears Invisalign clear aligners depends on how misaligned their teeth are.

Jimmy wore his aligners for only a few months, and he is very happy with the results. He is also pleased with how easy the iTero Scanner made it for Dr. Andersen to develop and then correct his treatment.

“I’ve got a terrible gag reflex, so by using the scanner to create the impressions, I didn’t have to go through the hassle of having all that goop in my mouth that would have caused me to gag,” Jimmy shares. “So for me, the scanner really helped.

“As for the aligners, I could see dramatic results in the first three or four weeks of treatment. After Dr. Andersen made a new treatment plan to help correct my bite, I wore them for another nine to twelve weeks, and it was very successful.”

Jimmy celebrated his new smile with a trip to Costa Rica. When he returned, he was fit with custom-made Vivera® clear retainers. Like Invisalign clear aligners, Vivera retainers are a little different than basic orthodontic wire retainers.

They are similar to the liners that are used throughout treatment, but they’re made of thicker material and are snapped over the upper and lower teeth to keep the teeth in the correct position. This is done so there is no movement in the posterior or anterior areas.

Patients are instructed to wear the retainers for a specified amount of time to stabilize the teeth. Following that initial period, the retainers only need to be worn at night when sleeping.

“If you stop wearing the retainers, what’s going to happen is what happened to Jimmy,” Dr. Andersen states. “If he had had these Vivera retainers and wore them the first time, he would never have had to go through braces a second time.”

That second time proved to be the charm, though.

“Invisalign is a great treatment plan,” Jimmy shares. “I didn’t feel self-conscious about having braces and was able to fix my teeth the way I liked. And with the iTero Scanner, I was able to see my progress every step of the way.

“I would definitely recommend Invisalign and the iTero Scanner for sure. I also recommend Dr. Andersen and the staff at Bell Tower Dental Care. They made the whole process go smoothly. He’s been my dentist pretty much my whole life, and I plan to keep it that way.”

*Patient’s name withheld at his request.


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    • Bell Tower Dental Care

      Michael J. Andersen, DDS, earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio University and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland. Dr. Andersen also completed a post-doctoral program in advanc... Read More

    • Michael J. Andersen, DDS, P.A.

      Michael J. Andersen, DDS, earned his undergraduate degree from Ohio University and his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland. Dr. Andersen also completed a post-doctoral program in advanced general... Read More