We’re fortunate to live in a world where almost anything we need can be ordered and delivered to our doorstep in a matter of days. However, this has carried over into other aspects of our lives that are perhaps more problematic. For example, many people are now looking for faster, easier, and more discreet methods for straightening their smiles. It’s true that we’ve seen some incredible advances in orthodontic treatment in recent years, and clear aligner therapy like Invisalign has quickly become the most popular alternative to traditional braces. Unfortunately, this demand has also led to an increase in the number of at-home treatments available, including “mail order” aligners.
Here at Designer Smiles, we get the appeal of these products. After all, they have some brilliant marketing behind them! But the truth is that orthodontics is far more complex than just clicking a button, and there’s a reason orthodontists like Dr. Benton and Dr. Barry train for many years before they hang out a shingle. If you’ve been tempted by companies promising a perfect smile with at-home kits, keep reading to learn more about how these systems work, why we don’t recommend them, and how our expert team can give you a healthy smile using safer, more effective treatment methods!
What are at-home aligners?
As an alternative to receiving customized treatment with an experienced orthodontist, direct-to-consumer companies offer up a cheaper alternative by supplying patients with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. After an impression has been taken and mailed back in, they are meant to be reviewed by an on-site dentist or technician who will determine if the patient is a candidate for the company’s aligners. Once impressions have been taken and mailed in, they are purportedly reviewed by a dentist or technician who will determine if the patient is a candidate for their company’s aligners. If the patient is approved for the process, the aligners will be made and delivered to the patient with instructions on how to wear them.
Because the price point is low and patients don’t need to leave their homes to receive treatment, these “DIY” orthodontic services can be attractive to consumers It should be noted, however, that the criteria for being accepted as a patient is very loose. In fact, many people are approved for treatment even though they shouldn’t be. This can lead to a variety of potential risks, many of which may lead to unsatisfactory results. For this reason, large numbers of orthodontists and dentists do not endorse them.
No examination before recommending treatment
Orthodontists do more than straighten teeth. They’re also able to identify and treat oral conditions from simple to severe, a process that begins with a comprehensive orthodontic examination. Along with high-quality digital photos and x-rays, this evaluation allows orthodontists to create a customized treatment plan for each patient based on their unique needs.
This information is also used to create the ideal bite for a patient, a difficult but important part of treatment. Misalignment can cause pain, discomfort, and uneven wear and tear to the teeth. Additionally, many oral health issues are overlooked with at-home kits since cavities, gum disease, and other problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. This can lead to trouble since the teeth and gums should always be in good shape before attempting tooth movement with any type of orthodontic appliance, including aligners.
Lack of supervision during the treatment process
Routine check-ups are an essential part of the orthodontic process. These visits allow the orthodontist to ensure that the patient’s teeth are moving safely, efficiently, and according to their treatment plan. Adjustments can also be made at any time if they become necessary.
Unfortunately, using mail order aligners leaves patients without any meaningful supervision. That means aligners can be poorly fitted and the patient may not notice. The teeth might move too quickly or more slowly than anticipated. Cavities or gum disease may develop. If there’s no orthodontist overseeing treatment, these problems may go untreated, causing damage to your overall oral health as well as your bite. In some cases, patients could end up with more serious issues than they had when they began treatment!
The treatment isn’t customized
While clear aligner therapy can be a great choice for many patients, not everyone is an ideal candidate. In particular, cases that are fairly complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide.
Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Benton and Dr. Barry know how important it is to take into account the specific needs, lifestyle, and goals of a patient before recommending the treatment method that will work best for them. Because they don’t have access to a patient for an examination, x-rays, or photos, mail order businesses may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a suitable candidate for aligners.
Trust your unique smile to the expert team at Designer Smiles
Direct-to-consumer aligner companies might seem like an easy way to straighten your smile and save some money, but they could prove more costly than you’d expect in the long run. Even the American Association of Orthodontists asks, “What other transforming medical treatment would you undergo without an in-person, pre-treatment evaluation or ongoing in-person supervision from a medical professional?”
Orthodontists are often able to compete with the cost and time that many of these mail order companies claim. At Designer Smiles, we offer a variety of treatment options for patients of all ages, and have a number of payment options designed to make high-quality orthodontic care available for every budget. We also offer a complimentary consultation for new patients. This visit includes an examination by one of our doctors as well as an explanation of the options available.
There’s no denying that a truly perfect smile requires an investment of your time and funds, but when it comes to orthodontic treatment, you really do get what you pay for. Mail order aligner companies simply cannot offer patients the same level of care a trained orthodontist can. They may not be able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and safe treatment options.
Only experienced orthodontists like Dr. Benton and Dr. Barry have the education, skill, and equipment necessary to give you the most effective treatment options and best results! If you’re in the Oxford, AL and would like to learn more about our safe, effective treatment options for achieving a beautiful smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your complimentary consultation!