10% off invisible braces, a complimentary bottle of Incognito wine and teeth whitener kit when you book a free consultation with Dr. Adam Schulhof in March! See details, below.
A less-than-perfect smile may seem like an inconvenient tooth of aging…but it doesn’t have to be. FOF recently sat down for some straight talk with Dr. Adam Schulhof, a NYC-based orthodontist who specializes in adult braces.
Dr. Schulhof is a pioneer in a special type of behind-the-teeth braces called Incognito™ and is convinced they will completely reform the orthodontics industry within ten years. “They will absolutely replace front-side braces,” he says. “This is the future.” He’s treated hundreds of patients with Incognito™ and had such successful results, that it is now the sole device he offers at his practice.
However, he remains meticulous about trying every new invisible or hidden orthodontic device that hits the market. “I lecture for Incognito but I don’t work for them,” he says. “I use their product because right now it’s the best on the market. If there’s a better one, I’m going to use that.”
Here FOF gets the straight facts on Incognito™ braces and adult orthodontics.
Can you ever be too old for braces?
No. I’ve treated a patient that was 78. It doesn’t have to do with age; it has to do with bone levels. As some patients get into their 60s and 70s their bone levels become unhealthy. We don’t want to move teeth through unhealthy bones. So sometimes we’ll have a periodontist make sure the bone levels are healthy enough. Once they are, we can move the teeth. Many times the bone levels actually get healthier when we move the teeth to a better position.
Why did you decide to specialize in adult braces?
I started my practice in 2003. My partner was a pediatric dentist, so my practice was initially quite kiddie-oriented. Very quickly my interest went to adult orthodontics. Adults are more appreciative than kids. If an adult makes time in their busy schedule to come and see me then I know it is something that has been concerning them for a while.
Do our teeth shift more as we age?
We used to think that the bone stays in one place forever, but now we know that it is continually changing. Teeth are anchored in bone. Also, as we get older, our bone level decreases. So, here you have bone that’s changing and not as dense. Suddenly you see the movement accelerating from when you were in your 30s.
About half of orthodontics patients are now adults. Why do you think this is?
I think we are more concerned with aesthetics. There was a trend for a while with veneers and lumineers, but they actually aren’t as ideal as originally thought. They generally fail after 5-7 years and then you have to reinvest. There are now quicker solutions that are more aesthetically pleasing than metal braces.
What are those solutions?
Invisalign is one option. I started working with Invisalign but found it was very limited. It’s a clear tray that fits over the teeth. It can push or pull the tooth but it can’t move the tooth up or down. It doesn’t have three-dimensional control and can’t control the roots and the bone. That’s huge. If you don’t move the root–the tooth will go back. That is why people with Invisalign often have relapse.
What do you use in your practice?
I started looking into lingual orthodontics (tongue-side braces) when I started seeing more adults. Lingual braces had a bad rap because when they were first introduced in the 70s and 80s, they weren’t perfected. In the U.S. when something burns us once, we are done with it. Over the past thirty years, orthodontists in Europe and Japan have perfected it. I got hooked up with company called Lingual Care in 2004 that makes lingual braces. It got bought by 3M and now, they call the device Incognito™.
Do you work for Incognito™?
I’m a clinical advisor and speak for them at professional orthodontic events. They liked what I had to say and have sent me all over the world lecturing and teaching because they see that I’m passionate about it. I use their product because right now it’s the best on the market. If there’s a better one, I’m going to use that.
Why do you use like Incognito™ the best?
You have full control. You can move the tooth wherever you want. With braces on the outside, they aren’t custom so there is a bit of wiggle room. You have 90% control, which on the outside is fine. On the inside, we’ve learned you have to be much more specific. Incognito™ is a custom-made brace for every tooth. We send the lab a prescription and then a robot bends the wire. We’re finding that in some cases, Incognito braces perform better than regular braces.
Many adults remember braces as a long, multi-month or even multi-year process. Is there any quick fix?
It depends on the case. I’ve been doing a lot of research and development with Incognito™. One of the things I helped come up with was Incognito Lite™. I found that so many adults just needed minor correction. Incognito Lite is Incognito™ but targets the area where the problem is and treats it. It can be done in six months or less and at a lower price. It’s been an amazing success.
What is the process for someone who decides to get Incognito™ or Incognito Lite™?
You would come in to my office in either Manhattan or New Jersey for a consultation, we’d take photos of your teeth and then we’d go over your concerns. If you decide to get treatment, we scan the teeth and create a digital model. This gets sent to Monrovia, California where they create the braces. Right now it takes about 6-7 weeks before they are sent back. The braces-on appointment usually lasts about an hour to an hour and a half. For Incognito Lite, it takes about 45 minutes. I see most patients every 4-8 weeks after, depending on the case.
How much does it cost?
A full case of Incognito™ in my office will cost $10-12k. In most practices, you are looking at $14-17k. Incognito Lite costs $6-7k, which is about what the regular braces cost. Remember, it is made from customized dental gold, not customized plastic. It’s true treatment that is going to get you a perfect, final result.
Does insurance cover it?
Every insurance varies. In order to find out exactly, the treatment coordinator will call your insurance carrier and find out how much coverage you have for orthodontics.—
Leave your name, e-mail and phone number below if you are interested in a free consultation with Dr. Schulhof and to receive a 10% discount on your treatment, complimentary teeth whitener and a bottle of Incognito wine (at the time of your consult).
Someone from The Schulhof Center will contact you to schedule your consultation.