In our society, we have access to nearly anything we need and, in most cases, can have it delivered to our doorstep in just a few days. While this kind of quick service is certainly convenient, it’s come with some unforeseen side effects, even in the field of orthodontics. It’s normal to want the fastest, cheapest, and easiest method for everything, and in the orthodontic world, this has led to an increase in direct-to-consumer or DTC aligners. Dr. Jared Lee is here to tell you the benefits of an orthodontist over DTC aligners and the potential risks that come with at-home treatment.
DTC aligner companies like Smile Direct Club use flashy advertising to promote their cheaper aligners with the promise of a straighter smile from the comfort of home. While we can see why this is attractive to many consumers, most orthodontists won’t recommend DTC aligners to patients seeking to improve their smile. Keep reading below to learn more about DTC aligners, why we aren’t big fans and the many benefits of an orthodontist over DTC aligners!
What are DTC aligners?
Direct-to-consumer aligner companies market themselves as an alternative to in-person orthodontic treatment. Instead of supervised treatment with an established practice, these companies supply patients with an at-home impression kit for their clear aligners. Once the impression has been taken and mailed back in, they are said to be reviewed by a dentist or technician who works for the company. This person will determine if the patient is a good candidate for their aligners. If the person is approved for the process, aligners will be made from the impression they provided, then delivered to them at home with instructions on how to wear them.
DTC aligners like to attract potential patients with lower costs and no in-office visits. This kind of do-it-yourself treatment comes with a number of potential risks, many of which can lead to unsatisfactory results–or worse. There are many important aspects of the orthodontic process missing with DTC aligners, including the following:
Starting treatment off on the right foot
Orthodontics is about so much more than simply straightening your teeth. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Lee is trained to identify and treat a variety of oral conditions, ranging from simple to complex. The first step in that process is a free consultation that includes an orthodontic examination. At 805 Orthodontics, this initial appointment is completely free! This comprehensive exam includes digital photographs and x-rays to help Dr. Lee determine if you require treatment, and if so, which option would be best for your unique smile. The photographs, x-rays, and thorough exam provide Dr. Lee with all the information he needs to create a completely customized treatment plan for each patient.
In contrast to this, companies like Smile Direct Club must rely on the basic information that is provided to them by the patient. Unfortunately, many oral health issues can be missed this way. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems aren’t visible from just a few photos or impressions. This can be problematic since the teeth and gums should always be in good condition before any type of tooth movement is attempted. Working directly with an orthodontist’s office eliminates this unnecessary risk by building a treatment plan around your specific needs, including any dental care that may be necessary.
Supervising the treatment process
Whether a patient is wearing braces or clear aligners, regular check-ups are an essential part of the orthodontic process. These visits occur roughly every 6-10 weeks, and Dr. Lee uses this time to observe how your teeth are moving, make any necessary adjustments, and ensure that everything is proceeding according to your unique treatment plan.
There is no meaningful supervision with DTC aligner companies, essentially leaving patients in charge of their own orthodontic treatment. This can have many unexpected consequences and lead to subpar results. 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 mentioned above, cavities and gum disease can develop or worsen without the patient knowing. Without a trained orthodontist involved, these conditions may go unnoticed and thus untreated, which could cause long-term damage to a patient’s oral health and bite.
Creating personalized treatment plans
While clear aligner therapy can be an excellent choice for many patients, it’s not right for every patient. Some cases that are more severe may have better results when treated with traditional braces.
An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Lee will always consider your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals when creating your customized treatment plan. This happens in conjunction with the results of your initial consultation. DTC aligner companies don’t have access to the patient for an in-person examination or x-rays, meaning they may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a good candidate for aligners or if they would benefit more from another type of treatment.
Providing comparable pricing and treatment times
There’s no denying the fact that it takes an investment of your time and funds to achieve a smile that looks and feels great. When it comes to your orthodontic treatment, you really do get what you pay for! While DTC aligners may seem like a cheap, quick, and easy way to straighten your smile at first glance, they can end up costing more in the long run when you consider the potential risks. That’s because these companies just can’t provide patients with the same level of supervised care that a trained orthodontist like Dr. Lee can.
In many cases, qualified orthodontists are actually able to compete with the cost and treatment times that most DTC companies claim. The Orthodontic Offices of Dr. Jared Lee offers a variety of affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, along with full-payment discounts and in-office interest-free financing. Our office also utilizes the latest in orthodontic technology and techniques to give you the most optimal results in the shortest amount of time possible.
Expert care you know you can trust
You only get one smile, and it is too important to trust anyone other than an expert. DTC aligner companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing their approval process, but there is no substitute for the education, training, and skills that an orthodontist will have. Dr. Lee is an expert orthodontist with years of experience creating healthier, straighter smiles for patients in Oxnard, Santa Paula, and the surrounding communities. Your smile will be in the best hands at 805 Orthodontics.
For safe and effective orthodontic treatment, visit 805 Orthodontics
Consider this: would you undergo any type of medical treatment without an initial evaluation or ongoing supervision from a medical professional? Of course not! We believe your smile deserves that very same consideration. The talented team at 805 Orthodontics will provide you with a rewarding, stress-free orthodontic experience from your first appointment to your last!