March 15, 2020
Our world is focused on convenience. We’ve all gotten used to getting almost everything we need quickly and fairly inexpensively. While this makes our lives easier, there are some not-so-great side effects. In the wide world of orthodontics, this manifested in the mail-order aligner trend that’s become very popular in the last year or two. But there are some benefits of choosing an orthodontist over mail-order aligners.
These companies and their exceptional marketing teams have cracked the code when it comes to getting people excited. You’ve almost certainly seen their ads on TV or social media. They promise to straighten your teeth at home for a fraction of the cost of an orthodontist. While we understand the appeal, most orthodontists won’t recommend these treatments for a variety of reasons, including Dr. Parikh.
You only get one smile, and it’s too important not to trust it to anybody but an expert. To learn more about why an experienced orthodontist should always be your first choice for orthodontic care, keep reading below!
What are mail-order aligners?
Mail-order companies like Smile Direct Club or Clarity market themselves as an alternative to professional orthodontic treatment that you receive in an office under the supervision of an orthodontist. Customers get an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. Once the impression has been taken and mailed back in, a dentist or technician will review it and decide if the patient is a good candidate for their aligners. If they’re approved for the process, they will make aligners from the impression provided, then deliver them to the patient at home with instructions on how to wear them.
If you or anyone you know has ever considered using mail-order aligners, you should be aware that the bar for being approved is set extremely low. While that may sound like a good thing, in theory, it’s fairly likely that you could get approved for aligner treatment even if it’s not the best choice for your needs.
Mail-order aligners are a little bit like DIY orthodontic treatment. There are a lot of possible risks. Some can lead to unsatisfactory results or unexpected problems. There are several important parts of orthodontic treatment missing from the mail-order aligners process, including:
Assessing the specific needs of individual patients
Orthodontics is about more than simply straightening the teeth. An experienced orthodontist is trained to identify and treat a variety of oral issues, from simple to complex. The first step in any orthodontic journey is a consultation that includes a thorough examination of the mouth. Here at Hidden Smiles Orthodontics, we also take digital photographs of your teeth, along with x-rays if necessary. These images allow us to get a good look at your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. The information we gather during this appointment gives Dr. Parikh what she needs to create a personalized treatment plan designed just for you.
Mail-order aligner companies can’t provide this kind of detailed look and only use basic information you provide from a distance. Lots of oral problems can be missed this way. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. Your teeth and gums need to be healthy before your teeth are moved at all, so this can become a huge problem. These unneeded risks go away when you work with an orthodontist like Dr. Parikh. She’ll explain any dental treatment you may need before starting your orthodontic treatment.
Customized treatment plan
While clear aligners can be a great fit for many patients, they aren’t for everyone. Complex and severe cases need more specific planning and tooth control and aligners are capable of providing. For these patients, metal, or clear may be a better option.
At Hidden Smiles Orthodontics, our talented team creates personalized treatment plans by considering your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals. This happens in conjunction with the results of their initial consultation. Without access to the patient for an in-person examination or x-rays, mail-order aligner companies may not be able to tell if someone is a good fit for aligners or not.
Supervising the treatment process
Regular check-ups are an essential part of any treatment process. These visits happen about every 4-8 weeks, and Dr. Parikh will use this time to make any necessary adjustments and check that everything is proceeding according to the treatment plan.
Mail-order aligner companies don’t provide any real or significant supervision. This mostly leaves you in charge of their own orthodontic journey. While you have your own talents, orthodontics problem isn’t one of them, so things are more likely to go wrong. For example, aligners may fit poorly, irritating your gums and causing pain. An incorrect fit may also move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected.
As we mentioned, cavities or gum disease can develop or worsen without the patient knowing. With no orthodontist involved, problems like this may go unnoticed and thus untreated, eventually causing damage to a patient’s oral health and bite.
Virtual Consultations Provide the Same Convenience
We offer virtual consultations for new patients and virtual visits for current patients. This means you can receive all of the benefits such as a customized treatment plan and expert oversight from Dr. Parikh without having to sacrifice the convince of treatment in your own home. At Hidden Smiles Orthodontics, we believe that nothing should stand in the way of your new smile. We’re committed to constantly exploring new technologies to serve you better.
Orthodontists offer comparable costs and treatment times
“You get what you pay for” most definitely applies to orthodontic treatment. Revealing your healthy, hidden smile that looks great and functions properly requires an investment of your time and funds. Mail-order aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile, but they might end up costing more than you bargained for in the long run. That’s because these companies are simply can’t provide the same level of supervised care that a trained orthodontist can.
When you really break things down, a qualified orthodontist like Dr. Parikh will actually be able to compete with the cost and treatment times that most mail-order companies claim, anyway! Our practice offers a variety of affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign clear aligners. We also have payment plans to fit every budget and accept most major credit cards for your convenience. If you have dental insurance that covers orthodontic treatment, we’ll even be happy to file the claims for you.
Leave your smile to the trusted experts at Hidden Smiles Orthodontics
Would you get medical treatment without an initial evaluation, or supervision during the whole treatment from a medical professional? We think you should give your smile the same consideration. While mail-order companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing their approval process, nothing compares to working with a trained orthodontist who has the expertise and skill to successfully correct your orthodontic issues.
Dr. Parikh and the rest of our talented team have years of experience creating bright, beautiful smiles in Huntington and the surrounding communities. If you’re ready to learn more about how Hidden Smiles Orthodontics can safely and effectively transform your smile, get in touch with us to schedule your FREE consultation, or head to our website and complete your free virtual consultation in as little as 10 minutes!