Dr. David Sukoff discusses being a patient alongside his son
What made you decide to go through orthodontic treatment with your son?
My son, Josh, had a very narrow maxillary arch form and required palatal expansion. He also had a tendency for a Class III malocclusion. I knew that he would require orthodontic treatment from an early age. I had always wanted to improve my smile as well, so I thought there would be no better time than to do it with my son. We could both motivate each other to keep up with the weekly aligner changes. I also thought it was a cool way to “connect” with my son on a different level. It was actually a really fun experience.
Did you have similar clinical issues?
We actually do have very similar issues. We both have some overcrowding and a Class III tendency, which the Invisalign® treatment works fantastic with.
Were there any concerns that you had about the process?
I really had no concerns about my son and his treatment. He is a very responsible 14-year-old. He is also very much into technology so I knew he would be intrigued by the advanced technology that the Invisalign treatment offers. Josh is also the type of kid who always follows direction. I knew that he would be perfect for this type of treatment.
How did your son feel about it? How does he feel at this point in the process?
Josh was excited to begin the process. From the moment he was scanned for digital impressions with the Itero® Element, he was hooked! In my practice we’ve transitioned all our impressions to digital with the use of our scanner. It has completely changed our practice for the better. Our expenses have gone down (no more purchasing impression material), our Invisalign and orthodontic appliances have a much quicker turnaround time from the laboratory, and patient discomfort has been eliminated by no longer taking traditional impressions. Patients love the “wow” factor of using a digital camera to scan their teeth, and we portray the image of being a very technological advanced office compared to others.
He finds wearing the aligners to be an easy process and loves the fact that there are no food restrictions. He also goes to sleep-away camp during the summer and is gone for 7 weeks. His hygiene stays great since he removes the clear aligners to brush his teeth, and he rarely has to worry about having an emergency while he’s away from home. At this point in the process, he is almost finished. He actually wears his aligners longer than I even ask him to because I think he likes them too much! He is in no rush to finish, which is rare!
Is there anything you have done to improve the experience that you can pass on to our readers?
I have him wearing his aligners 20-22 hours a day and changing on a weekly basis. By changing every week, his aligners always stay clear, fresh, and energized. I also think because we are doing it together, we are a good source of motivation for each other.
Do you want to offer tips for getting family members through orthodontics together or to help orthodontists navigate family treatment better?
I would suggest to family members looking to undergo orthodontic treatment together that it’s a great experience. It is always easier to be successful at something when you have someone who is counting on you. I use my son as motivation, and I know he looks to me for the same. It is a way to connect with someone on a different level. On days where I may want to stop wearing my aligners, my son keeps me going and vice versa. Having a partner in my orthodontic treatment has made me much more successful in my outcome than if I had done it alone.
Has it helped with compliance for you two to be together on the process?
Absolutely! The two of us doing treatment together is a major bonus in the compliance department. I obviously want to set a good example, so I am forced to keep up with my end of the deal. It’s a win-win for both of us!
What did your son share with you about the experience? How did he feel before and during treatment with you?
He felt great during the entire treatment. He never had any self-esteem concerns, and virtually no one knew he was even wearing the clear aligners. He is going into high school next month, and I know he has lots of concerns about starting a new school. He is thrilled that by wearing Invisalign clear aligners, there will be one less thing that he will have to worry about. As an orthodontist, I see the stress and anxiety that kids have about going into high school with braces. If we have the ability to help these kids obtain a beautiful, healthy smile while not adding to the pressures and stress of high school, then everyone comes out a winner.