In our society, we value convenience—from grocery shopping to scheduling appointments, we can do just about anything with the tap of a screen. This has been highly beneficial for the most part, but we’ve seen some drawbacks in the orthodontic industry. One of these is at-home aligner treatments.
Chances are good that you’ve seen the advertising for these companies in commercials or online. These clever marketing campaigns promote DIY treatment with mail-order aligners. As you can imagine, this can be a tempting prospect for anyone on a budget who wants to straighten their smile without many office visits. But, as the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and that’s certainly the case with mail-order aligners.
Many dental professionals encourage people to steer clear of these companies, as there are many questions about the safety and efficiency of their products. Only an established practice like Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics can give you a variety of safe and effective treatment options, including clear aligners from Invisalign. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over mail-order aligners.
What are mail-order aligners?
Companies that offer clear aligners through the mail are a form of “online” orthodontics. Instead of visiting an orthodontic office for an exam, each step of the treatment process will typically be handled virtually by technicians on their website. The first step is applying to the company of your choice.
Once you have been approved, you can visit one of their local offices or have a kit sent to your home to make a 3-D mold of your teeth. One of their technicians will use that mold to create a series of clear aligners for you. Like the clear aligners we use, these are designed to gradually move your teeth into the desired positions, which can take several months to complete.
That’s where the similarities end. Mail-order companies can only check in on your progress with photos of your mouth that you provide them at regular intervals, so they can’t see all the details. While this may seem straightforward, anyone considering these companies should give it a great deal of thought before signing on. There are several risks associated with this kind of care and plenty of concerns about the lasting impact it may have on oral health. There are also far more benefits associated with using an experienced orthodontist.
Personalized care throughout the treatment process
One of the primary selling points for mail-order aligners is that no in-office orthodontic visits are necessary. While it may sound good, you could also view this as one of the biggest red flags! These companies don’t require orthodontic visits before beginning treatment, and you aren’t going to see an orthodontist during the treatment process, either.
This is a problem because moving teeth is a process that requires a particular skill set and impacts your entire mouth. Even in relatively mild cases, the treatment affects the teeth’ gums, bones, and roots. For the best results, you should consult an orthodontic specialist before and during the treatment process to ensure the safe movement of the teeth.
Your first visit with Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics will include:
- Digital photographs of your teeth.
- A discussion of your concerns with one of our Board Certified Orthodontists
- A complete oral examination.
If you aren’t sure about traditional braces, our doctors will let you know if clear aligners are a good fit for your smile. If you decide to move forward, we’ll begin by scanning your mouth to create a 3D image of your teeth to create your first set of aligners.
This personalized approach ensures a custom fit that’s comfortable and effective. You’ll also be scheduled for regular follow-up visits with your doctor every 6 to 10 weeks so we can track your progress and ensure your teeth are moving correctly. Check-ups also allow us to make any adjustments to the treatment plan.
Once you finish treatment, we’ll give you retainers to keep your newly straightened teeth in place. With Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics, you’ll have support from our team from your first appointment to your last—and beyond!
Personalized treatment plans
Most at-home treatments use computer systems to predict the movements of your teeth to give you a straighter smile. We use computers at our practice, too, so you may wonder why this even matters, but teeth don’t always get the memo about following those computer-predicted movements!
When mail-order companies create all of your aligners simultaneously, it can be an issue if your teeth movements fall outside what’s predicted. This may lead to ill-fitting aligners, which can cause discomfort, pain, and subpar results. Without an orthodontist overseeing the process, it’s easy to miss the signs of poorly fitted aligners until it’s too late. We’ve seen patients with crossbites, misalignments, and other serious dental issues after using these products.
Our expert orthodontists create personalized treatment plans for every patient they see. Your treatment plan is built around your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. When combined with careful monitoring, this approach produces the best results in the shortest time possible.
Customized treatment options for your unique smile
Clear aligners can be an excellent option for many patients, but they aren’t a good fit for everyone. For example, patients with especially severe or complex cases may require more precise tooth control than removable aligners can provide. A different method may be a better option for these patients, like traditional or clear braces. At Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics, we offer the following affordable treatment options for patients of all ages.
Traditional metal braces have come a long way in recent years. The brackets are much smaller and no longer wrap around the entire tooth. Thinner archwires are used to move the teeth with more comfort and speed. You can even put a pop of personality into your treatment journey by choosing fun colors for your elastic bands! Metal braces are usually the most economical treatment option and ideal if you have a more serious or complex issue.
Clear braces are the same shape and size as metal braces but use clear or tooth-colored brackets to blend in better with your natural smile. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics, they give you a subtle way to straighten your teeth. Clear braces can be an excellent option for adults who want the benefits of traditional metal braces without the visibility of metal.
Instead of brackets and wires, clear aligner systems use a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth. These are made from a special thermoplastic resin and customized to fit over your teeth firmly but comfortably. Because they’re removable, they give you more flexibility than braces so that you can brush, floss, and eat as you usually would. When worn as directed, aligners can be used to treat many of the most common orthodontic issues.
Regular visits with expert orthodontists
The companies behind mail-order aligners assume their clients have healthy dental habits, schedule regular check-ups with a dentist, and are proactive with oral health. But that isn’t always the case, and it can be detrimental.
Your teeth and gums should always be in good condition before tooth movement. Having patients provide their images and impressions means cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues can be missed or worsen over time.
When you have regular visits with an orthodontist, we will monitor your oral health, and we can adjust treatment if it becomes necessary. With expert orthodontists like the doctors at Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics guiding your orthodontic journey, you’ll have access to trusted support and supervision throughout the process. That’s something mail-order companies can’t offer!
Trust your smile to the experts you trust at Dietrich & Kelso Orthodontics
If you’re interested in improving your smile, we recommend consulting an orthodontist first. We offer every potential patient a complimentary consultation to determine if treatment is necessary. If braces or clear aligners are necessary for your smile, we’ll create a personalized treatment plan for your unique needs with expert guidance every step of the way. You won’t find that kind of individualized care from any company that offers mail-order aligners!
We’ve made it easier than ever to achieve a confident smile with eight convenient locations throughout Central Florida. If you’d like more information on how our expert team can safely transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with one of our board-certified orthodontic specialists!