Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Tom Barron of Barron Orthodontics in Lutherville-Timonium Maryland. We will be asking Dr. Barron some specifics on how he customizes aligner treatment for patients as well as his experience treating a wide variety of malocclusions and case types with aligners.
Q: Hi Dr. Barron, thanks for sitting down with us today! If you could give our readers a brief overview of your qualifications and professional background as well as if possible an estimate of how many patients you have treated using clear aligners?
A: Sure, I did my undergraduate work in Boston and then went on to dental school at Tufts, followed by the University of Maryland for my ortho residency where I received my Master of Science and Oral Biology. I will be celebrating 30 years practicing in May 2021 and have seen approximately 15,000 patients in total with around 1,000 being treated with clear aligners.
Q: Wow 15,000 thousand patients!!!?? That’s is such a wealth of knowledge. You’ve probably experienced every scenario under the sun. How do you approach helping patients choose the right product for them when it comes to choosing braces vs aligners?
A: As a specialist, it’s important to reiterate to my patients that they should have an informed choice when it comes to teeth straightening options. 20 years ago, I listened to a lecture in Washington DC about clear aligner treatment and at that time, we were so excited about the new technology and being able to offer this type of treatment to new patients in our practice. Back then though, it was harder to control tooth movements with clear aligners, so the ideal results were harder to accomplish.
Q: And are there any malocclusions or case types that cause you to typically recommend aligners vs braces?
A: Two years ago, I started using Spark Clear Aligners exclusively and my experience with the mechanics including attachments, etc, I can pretty much deliver the same results, with proper patient compliance, if not better than with tradition wires and brackets.
Q: And with Spark do you feel like there are any key features that set the product apart from other brands as far as personalized customization or other options?
A: In my opinion, the two key differentiators from Spark Clear Aligners and the leading aligner brand are its clarity (which to me is nearly crystal clear) and the efficiency of sustained force tooth movements*. Spark Aligners allows for great control, flexibility, predictability, and efficiency in treatment planning combined with strong clinical outcomes and greater patient comfort.
As an orthodontist, once I diagnose my patient’s case, I have the ability to set the mechanics up to get the desired outcome. It’s important to have a doctor watching over your treatment at all times because we have the control to correct or overcorrect and monitor the patient’s progress every step of the way. Also, with the use of customized attachments on the patient’s teeth, I can determine the location, shape, and bevel for maximum efficiency.
Q: That’s so refreshing to hear, one of the emerging trends in orthodontics seems to be the growing availability of Do It Yourself (DIY), mail order aligners and teeth straightening products. Can you provide our readers with some insight on the value of doctor led teeth straightening treatment?
A: Absolutely, when it comes to remote monitoring, I can look at patient images or photographs online but there is truly no substitute for clinical examination, and it can be a huge investment for a practice. Many times, there are complex cases that may require an initial surgery or a comprehensive treatment… OR there may be even more than one treatment plan to share with the patient. This cannot be achieved without the patient in a chair, which is why it’s hard to imagine successful outcomes following the at home aligner treatments.
Q: That seems like a crucial component of a successful treatment plan to be sure. On that same note and in closing could you discuss how you align the goals and expectations of treatment with patients at the start of the process?
A: There is such a give and take relationship between the doctor and the patient. Whenever I meet with a potential new patient, I must be sure I’m listening to their chief complaint. I want to know, what are THEY looking to achieve? From there, it’s easier to provide treatment options with these goals already established.
Once a patient is in treatment, education is key. We cannot just hand them a box of aligners and tell them to wear them and their teeth will be straight. It’s important that the patient understands his or her treatment. Ultimately, this will lead to better compliance and end results. I find that showing my patient their treatment plans, or the images of their treatment along the way, help them understand their treatment journey and the mechanics behind it a little better.