If you’ve ordered anything online lately, you’ve no doubt said a word or two of thanks that we live in a time where just about anything we need can be ordered, fulfilled, and delivered to our front door just a day or two later. While this can be incredibly helpful (especially during the holidays!) it also creates an expectation that every aspect of our lives should be just as quick and convenient.
Take orthodontics, for example. We’ve seen some fantastic advances in orthodontic treatment in recent years, including the rise of clear aligner therapy like Invisalign, which is the most popular alternative to traditional braces. Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in the number of at-home treatments crowding the market in order to get a piece of the action!
These “mail order” aligners are definitely a hot commodity these days, and we certainly understand the appeal of these products. If nothing else, they’ve got a brilliant marketing team behind them! However, there’s a reason that orthodontists like Dr. McGrogan studied and trained for many years before hanging out their orthodontic shingle. That’s because orthodontics is far more complex than just clicking a button and ordering an aligner.
If you’ve found yourself tempted by some of these companies promising you a straighter smile with at-home orthodontic kits, we get it. But keep reading below to learn more about how these systems work, why we don’t recommend them, and how Shine Orthodontics can give you a healthy smile using a variety of safe and 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.
The dangers that can come with DIY treatment
DIY orthodontic services offer eager patients a lower price point and no in-office visits, so it’s easy to see why they’re attractive to consumers. It’s worth noting, though, that the criteria for being accepted is very loose. In fact, many people are approved for treatment even though they shouldn’t be! This comes with a variety of potential risks, many of which can lead to unsatisfactory results. This is exactly why many orthodontists and dentists refuse to endorse them. Dr. McGrogan is among them.
There is no real exam before treatment begins
Orthodontists don’t just straighten teeth, they can also identify and treat oral conditions from simple to complex. This process begins with a comprehensive orthodontic examination. Along with the information collected from high-quality digital photos and x-rays, an in-person evaluation allows an orthodontist like Dr. McGrogan to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient. This treatment plan is based on their unique smile and specific needs for the best results.
This information is also used to create the ideal bite for a patient, a difficult but important part of treatment. Misalignments between the teeth and can cause pain, discomfort, and uneven wear and tear to the teeth. Not only that, but many oral health issues are easy to overlook with at-home kits. That’s because cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. This can be problematic since the teeth and gums should always be in good shape before attempting tooth movement of any kind.
Critical lack of supervision
Routine check-ups with an orthodontist are a critical part of the treatment process. These visits allow us to observe how the patient’s teeth are moving, if everything looks good, and if movement is proceeding on schedule. Adjustments can also be made at these visits if they become necessary at any time.
On the other hand, mail order companies leave patients without any meaningful supervision. That means aligners can be poorly fitted, or they may move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. As we mentioned above, 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 and your bite that may be worse than what you were dealing with when you began!
The treatment isn’t truly 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.
An experienced orthodontist like Dr. McGrogan understands the importance of reviewing a patient’s specific needs, lifestyle, and goals before recommending any particular treatment method. 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 oral health to the expert team at Shine Orthodontics
DIY aligner companies may seem like the ideal way to straighten your smile and save you some money, but they could actually prove more costly in the end than traditional treatment! 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 truth is that many excellent orthodontists are able to compete with the cost and time that these mail order companies claim. In fact, our practice offers a wide variety of treatment options for patients of all ages. We also have a number of payment options designed to make high-quality orthodontic care affordable and attainable for every patient who needs it, whatever the budget.
There’s no getting around the fact that a healthy, beautiful smile will require an investment of your time and funds. When it comes to orthodontic treatment, however, you really do get what you pay for! These various mail order aligner companies are simply unable to provide patients the same level of care a trained orthodontist can.
Only an experienced orthodontist like Dr. McGrogan will have the education, training, and skills necessary to safely and effectively straighten your smile! If you’re in the Holly Springs area and would like to learn more about how professional orthodontic treatment can help you achieve a beautiful smile, get in touch with us today and schedule your complimentary consultation!