It seems like every day it gets easier to get almost anything we need cheap, fast, and delivered to your door. There’s no denying that this kind of convenience culture has many benefits, but there have been a few unintended consequences as well. That’s true even in the world of orthodontics! Over the last year or two, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer treatments that come in the mail. That’s why we wanted to explain some benefits of choosing an orthodontist over direct to consumer mail-order aligners.
Most of the time, these treatments are in the form of clear aligners. These companies tout their products as a cheaper way to straighten teeth from the comfort of home. Given their sizable advertising budget and slick marketing, we can understand why this option would seem appealing!
The truth is, however, that most orthodontists and dentists won’t recommend these treatments. Let’s take a closer look at what DTC mail-order aligners are and why you should only trust your smile to orthodontic experts like Seabreeze Orthodontics.
What are direct-to-consumer aligners?
Companies that market these aligners present themselves as an alternative to professional treatment. That means that they supply customers with an in-home impression kit and mailed their clear aligners instead of visiting an orthodontic office to receive treatment from an experienced orthodontist. After you send in your impression, a dentist or technician will determine if you’re a suitable candidate for the aligners. They’ll make your aligners with the impressions you provided and mail them to you with instructions on wearing them.
There are no stringent requirements to be approved for this process. The bar for using DTC mail-order aligners is set very low in most cases. This may sound like a good thing, but it means that many people get the okay for aligner treatments even if they aren’t great candidates for successful and safe treatment. That’s because there are several essential components of the orthodontic process that are missing when it comes to mail-order aligners.
Assessing the unique needs of each patient
Orthodontics isn’t just about straightening someone’s smile. Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Juan have spent years learning how to identify and treat various orthodontic issues. That’s why the first step for any patient should be a consultation that includes a thorough oral examination.
Here at Seabreeze Orthodontics, we take digital photographs of your teeth during your initial appointment and will also do x-rays if we feel they’re necessary. These images allow us to see the teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue in incredible detail and give our doctors the information they need to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
DTC mail-order aligner companies are forced to rely on nothing more than the patient’s basic information. Unfortunately, many oral issues can be missed this way. For example, cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. This can be a problem since teeth and gums should always be in good condition before you try to move them. When a trained orthodontist supervises your treatment, it eliminates these risks since we make your plan just for you, including any dental work that’s needed.
Customized treatment plans for your unique smile
While clear aligner therapy can be an excellent option for many patients, it isn’t for everyone. Some cases are complex or severe enough to need more precise control than aligners can provide. For these patients, metal or clear braces may be a better option.
Dr. Juan will always consider each patient’s specific needs when choosing the best treatment method for their smile. This process begins with their initial consultation. Without access to the patient for an in-person examination or x-rays, mail-order aligner companies may not accurately determine if someone is a good fit for aligners or not.
Professional supervision throughout the treatment process
Regular check-ups are an essential part of every orthodontic patient’s treatment process, whether they’re in braces or aligners. These visits occur every 4-8 weeks and allow orthodontists to observe how the teeth are moving and make any necessary adjustments.
Mail-order aligner companies don’t provide any meaningful supervision, so it leaves patients in charge of their orthodontic journey. This can cause several issues. For example, aligners may fit poorly, causing irritation and pain. An improper fit may also move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. As we noted above, cavities or gum disease can develop or worsen without the patient knowing. When no orthodontist is directly involved, problems like this may go unnoticed and thus untreated. This can eventually cause damage to a patient’s oral health and bite.
You’ll receive comparable pricing and treatment times with an orthodontist
You get what you pay for with your smile. Achieving a healthy and functional mouth can be an investment of your time and funds. While mail-order aligners may seem like a way around this, they can end up costing more in the long run when you consider all the potential risks! These companies just can’t provide patients with the same supervised care level that a trained orthodontist can.
Most orthodontic practices can compete with the cost and treatment times that mail-order companies claim, anyway. Seabreeze Orthodontics is proud to offer various affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign and Invisalign Teen clear aligners. We have affordable payment plans to fit every budget, and we also accept most major credit cards and insurance plans.
Trust your smile to the experts at Seabreeze Orthodontics
If you wouldn’t undergo any medical procedure without an initial evaluation or ongoing supervision from a trained professional, you owe your smile the same consideration. Right? While mail-order aligner companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing their approval process, nothing compares to working with an orthodontist who has the education, training, and skill needed to move teeth successfully.
Here at Seabreeze Orthodontics, our talented team has years of experience creating beautiful, functional smiles. If you want to learn more about how you can safely achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation.