A nudge here, a little movement there, maybe a guard to keep from grinding or a series of trays to treat relapse. I get asked all of the time by family and friends to take care of them. I always do the same thing: I refer them to you, offering to make the appliances for free.

After 30 years in this business, I know enough about orthodontics to get me into trouble. I do not want the hassle or responsibility of really screwing up somebody’s mouth. I am sure that you will do a far better job than I can: it’s what that really big degree on your wall says.

I just wish you would offer me the same courtesy, so your patients are not showing up at my doorstep asking me if I can do anything about that thing you put in their mouth.

Yes, they stop by. They bring their children. They show me the invisible retainers made for them by your assistants.

Can I be honest? They are lousy. What do you cut them with? Garden shears? Do you even have a hand piece in the office with burrs?

When your patients come to me, I use about 5-6 different burrs to finish the edges of the invisible retainers, to straighten them and smooth them out. I personally think that a patient being afraid of inserting their invisible retainer for fear of slicing through their gums is a bad thing.

I so wish they brought their casts. That material you use? It typically is lousy as well. It is the same material used for plastic coke bottles or those containers you buy produce in at the grocery store.

When I do have a set of casts, I scan them in so I can print and make new ones anytime that I want and then I make the invisible retainers with either Erkodent if they want a hard/soft retainer or Zendura if they want the best that is going to last the longest.

— The Lab Guy