As the holiday season winds down, many of us are thanking our lucky stars that we exist in a time where we can order almost anything we need online and have it delivered a day or two later! As convenient as that is in the Christmas rush, normalizing this kind of quick service has had some unintended side effects. For example, we’re seeing people seek out the fastest, easiest, and cheapest methods for everything from straightening their hair to straightening their teeth!
The latter has actually led to an increase in the number of at-home treatments now crowding the market, mainly “mail order” aligners. However, orthodontics is far more complex than just following instructions on a website. There’s a reason that orthodontists like Dr. Nielson and Dr. White have to study and train for many years before they’re able to hang up an orthodontic shingle, after all!
While these kits can be tempting, most orthodontists and dentists don’t recommend them. Keep reading below to learn why, and to find out more about how Advanced Orthodontics can give you a healthier smile safely and effectively.
What are DIY orthodontic kits?
Direct-to-consumer companies have created Do It Yourself treatment (DIY) and cashed in by offering up a cheaper alternative to customized treatment in an orthodontist’s office. Instead of receiving treatment directly from an experienced orthodontist, these companies supply patients with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. After an impression has been taken and mailed back in, they are purportedly reviewed by a dentist or technician who will then determine if the patient is a candidate for the company’s aligners. If they are approved for the process, aligners will be made from the impression then delivered to the patient with instructions on how to wear them.
The dangers of DIY treatments
It’s easy to understand why these types of companies are popular with consumers, as they often boast a lower price point and no in-office visits. They’ve got a pretty impressive marketing team, too! It’s worth noting, though, 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 comes with a number of potential risks, many of which can lead to unsatisfactory results. Some patients may even end up in a worse situation than they were before they began treatment.
No examination before beginning treatment
A good orthodontist will go beyond simply straightening teeth. They’re also able to identify and treat a wide range of oral conditions, a process that begins with a comprehensive orthodontic examination. Along with high-quality digital photos and x-rays, this evaluation allows orthodontists to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient based on their unique smile and needs.
This information is also used to create the ideal bite for a patient. Although it can be a tricky part of treatment, it’s important. That’s because a misalignment of the teeth and jaw can cause pain, discomfort, and uneven wear and tear to the teeth. Many oral health issues are easy to overlook with at-home kits, too. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions, which can be problematic since the teeth and gums should be in good shape before attempting any tooth movement.
Lack of supervision throughout the process
Whether a patient is in braces or aligners, routine check-ups are an essential part of the treatment process. These visits allow the orthodontist to observe how the patient’s teeth are moving, and check that everything is proceeding according to their treatment plan. This also allows them to make adjustments at any point if they become necessary.
Mail order aligner services unfortunately leave patients without any meaningful supervision. Aligners may be poorly fitted, or they may move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. As mentioned above, cavities or gum disease may develop without the patient knowing. With no orthodontist overseeing treatment, these problems can end up going untreated, eventually causing damage to your overall oral health as well as your bite.
Treatment is not customized the way it should be
Although clear aligner therapy can be an excellent choice for many patients, not everyone is a good candidate for it. Cases that are particularly complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide.
Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Nielson and Dr. White understand the role a patient’s needs, lifestyle, and goals play in creating a personalized treatment plan for them. Without access to a patient for a thorough examination, x-rays, or photos, mail order businesses may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a suitable candidate for aligners or not.
Trust the experts at Advanced Orthodontics to deliver the best results
While we understand the allure of direct-to-consumer aligner companies, what seems like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile could end up costing your more over time! Even the American Association of Orthodontists has asked:
“What other transforming medical treatment would you undergo without an in-person, pre-treatment evaluation or ongoing in-person supervision from a medical professional?”
The good news is, many qualified orthodontists are often able to compete with the cost and time that most mail order companies claim. For example, our own practice offers a variety of treatment options for patients of all ages. We also have a number of payment options designed to make high-quality orthodontic care available for every budget, including financing options, credit card payments, and bank drafts. Your first consultation with us is always complimentary, and includes a complete examination with one of our doctors along with an explanation of the options available to you!
You can’t escape the fact that a smile that looks good and feels great will require an investment of your time and funds. But when it comes to orthodontic treatment, what you get really is what you pay for! Mail order aligner companies simply cannot provide patients the same level of care that a trained orthodontist can.
Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Nielson and Dr. White have the education, training, and skills necessary to provide you the most effective treatment options and the very best results! If you’re in the Centennial or Aurora area and want to learn more about how to safely achieve a beautiful smile with our expert team, get in touch with us today and schedule your complimentary consultation!