It’s easier than ever to get anything you need cheap, fast, and at your door in just a few days. This has undeniably made several aspects of our lives much more convenient, but it’s also had a few unintended side effects as well. Believe it or not, you’ll even find these offshoots in the world of orthodontics! Our team at Sawgrass Orthodontics has noticed a significant increase in the number of available direct-to-consumer orthodontics in the last few years. That’s why we wanted to explain some of the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over mail-order aligners.

You’ve probably seen these companies advertising a cheaper method for straightening your teeth from the comfort of home. We obviously understand why this kind of treatment is so appealing to many people. You should know, however, that most orthodontists won’t recommend these treatments. That includes our doctors! 

To learn more about what DTC mail-order aligners are and why you should only trust your smile to an experienced orthodontist, keep reading below.  

What are Mail-order aligners?

Direct-to-consumer mail-order companies market themselves as an alternative to professional orthodontic treatment. Rather than being treated in an office under an orthodontist’s 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 the patient is a good candidate for their aligners. If they’re approved for the process, aligners will be made from the impression provided. They will then be sent to the patient at home with instructions on how to wear them.

The bar for using mail-order aligners is set extremely low. While this may sound like a good thing, many people get the okay for aligner treatments even if they aren’t necessarily good candidates. There are several vital components of the orthodontic process that are missing when it comes to mail-order aligners. Let’s explore some of those. 

Assessing a patient’s unique needs

Orthodontics goes beyond merely straightening the teeth. An experienced orthodontist is trained to identify and treat all kinds of simple and complex oral problems. The first step for any patient should be a consultation that includes a thorough examination of your mouth.

Here at Sawgrass Orthodontics, 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.  

Mail-order aligner companies, on the other hand, must 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 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 over getting mail-order aligners eliminates any unnecessary risk since the treatment is built around your unique needs, including any needed dental work.

The benefits of choosing and orthodontist over mail-order aligners

Creating a personalized treatment plan

Clear aligner therapy can be a great fit for many patients, but it isn’t for everyone. Cases that are incredibly 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.

Dr. Kristen and Dr. Penny are experienced orthodontists who take each patient’s unique needs, lifestyle, and goals into account when choosing the best treatment method. Without access to the patient for an in-person examination or x-rays, mail-order aligner companies may not be able to accurately determine if you’re actually a good fit for clear aligner treatment. 

Quality supervision during the treatment process

Regular check-ups are an essential part of the treatment process for every orthodontic patient. 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 meaningful supervision, which leaves you in charge of your own treatment. This can come with 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 and untreated, eventually causing damage to your bite and overall oral health. 

Comparable pricing and similar treatment times already exist. 

Achieving a healthy smile that looks great and functions the way it should requires an investment of your time and funds no matter how you decide to you about it. Although mail-order aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile, they can end up costing 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. Sawgrass Orthodontics 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.

Trust your smile to Sawgrass Orthodontics and enjoy the benefits

You wouldn’t undergo any type of medical treatment without an initial evaluation or ongoing supervision from a medical professional, right? Your smile is just as important!

While DTC mail-order companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing their approval process, nothing compares to working with an orthodontist who has the education, training, and skill needed to move teeth successfully. Our doctors have years of experience creating beautiful smiles in Davie, Weston, Plantation, Cooper City, Sunrise, and the surrounding communities. You can trust our team to provide you with the highest quality orthodontic care at affordable prices!

If you’re ready to learn more about the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over mail-order aligners and how you can safely achieve a beautiful smile with Sawgrass Orthodontics, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation!

- Dr. Langford

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