When it comes to any service or product we pay for, we typically prefer cheap, fast, and at our door in just a few days. This has made many aspects of our lives much more convenient, but it’s also had a few unintended, negative side effects. You can even find these deceptively convenient offshoots in the world of orthodontic care. Our team at Orthodontics Exclusively has noticed a significant increase in the number of available direct-to-consumer orthodontics in the last few years. That’s why we want to explain some of the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over mail-order aligners.
At Orthodontics Exclusively, we understand why this kind of treatment is so appealing to many people. However, it’s important to know that most orthodontists don’t recommend these treatments. That includes our team of doctors! To help you make the best decisions for your smile, let’s look over what DTC mail-order aligners are and why you should only trust your smile to an experienced orthodontist.
What are mail-order aligners?
Mail-order companies present themselves as an easier alternative to professional orthodontic treatment. Rather than being treated in an office under an orthodontist’s expert supervision, customers are supplied with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. After you take the impression and mail it back, a dentist or technician will review it and determine if you are a good candidate for their aligners. If you’re approved for the process, aligners will be made from the impression provided. They will then be sent to you at home with instructions on how to wear them.
The bar for qualifying for these mail-order aligners is set extremely low. While this may sound like a positive thing, many people are approved for aligner treatments even if they aren’t necessarily the right candidates. There are several essential components of the orthodontic process that are missing when it comes to mail-order aligners. Let’s take a look at a few things that mail-order aligners will not provide you:
Assessment of your unique needs
Orthodontics does more for patients than just straightening their teeth. An educated orthodontist is trained to identify and treat all kinds of oral problems. The first step for any patient should be a consultation that includes a thorough examination of your mouth and jaw.
Here at Orthodontics Exclusively, we’ll take digital photographs of your teeth. Sometimes we’ll do a series of panoramic and cephalometric x-rays if we feel it’s necessary. All of these images allow us to see the teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue, giving our doctors what they need to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
In contrast, mail-order aligner companies rely on nothing more than the basic information that is provided to them, and they might miss significant oral issues. For example, cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. This can be a big problem since teeth and gums should always be in good condition before trying to move your teeth. One of the benefits of working directly with an orthodontist is that it eliminates any risk since the treatment is built around your specific needs. This includes any necessary dental work.
Quality supervision during the treatment process
Regular check-ups are an essential step of the treatment process for each of our orthodontic patients. These visits occur every 4-8 weeks or so, and our doctors will use this time to observe how your teeth are moving and make any necessary adjustments.
Mail-order aligner companies can’t provide any supervision, which leaves you in charge of your own treatment. This can come with a lot of risks and unintended consequences. 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 your knowledge. With no orthodontist involved, problems like this may go unnoticed, eventually causing damage to your bite and overall oral health.
Creating a personalized treatment plan
Clear aligner treatment, like Invisalign, can be a great fit for many patients, but like this any other type of treatment, it isn’t for everyone. Cases that are especially complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide. For these patients, metal or clear braces may be a better option.
Our team of well-trained orthodontists takes each patient’s unique needs, lifestyle, and goals into account when choosing the best treatment. Without access to the patient for an in-person examination or x-rays, mail-order aligner companies will not be able to accurately determine if you’re a good fit for this option.
Comparable pricing and similar treatment times
A healthy smile that looks great and functions correctly requires an investment of your time and money no matter what. Although mail-order aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to improve your smile, they can cost more in the long run when you consider the potential risks. That’s because these companies are simply unable to provide patients with the same level of supervised care that a trained orthodontist can.
Many qualified orthodontists can compete with the cost and treatment times that most mail-order companies claim, anyway. Orthodontics Exclusively is proud to offer various affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign clear aligners. We have flexible payment plans to fit every budget, and we also accept most major credit cards and insurance plans. Our team will be happy to file the insurance claims on your behalf, as well.
Get the best at Orthodontics Exclusively
Here at Orthodontics Exclusively, we want to be by your side no matter what kind of treatment you’re looking for. Our team is all accomplished orthodontists who are University of Oklahoma faculty in addition to running our practice. They have many years of experience creating beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in Norman, Oklahoma City, and the surrounding areas. Our offices use cutting-edge technology to give you comfortable treatments and exceptional results as quickly as possible.