In today’s society, we’ve all gotten used to convenience, since it’s easier than ever to get just about anything we need faster and cheaper than ever. There’s no denying that this can make our lives easier, however, it’s also led to some unforeseen side effects. In the field of orthodontics, we can see this in the increase of direct-to-consumer aligners available. We’re here to tell you the benefits of an orthodontist over DTC aligners!
These DTC companies have stellar marketing teams behind them so there’s no doubt that you’ve seen their commercials on TV or noticed their online ads. Most of them promise to straighten your smile at home for a fraction of the cost an orthodontist would charge. While we can certainly understand why this would be tempting to some consumers, most orthodontists, including Dr. Bennett, won’t recommend these treatments for a variety of reasons.
You only get one smile, and it’s too important to trust to anyone other than a trained expert. To learn more about why an experienced orthodontist should always be your first choice for orthodontic care, keep reading below!
What are DTC aligners?
Direct-to-consumer companies market themselves as an alternative to professional orthodontic treatment that takes place in an office under the careful supervision of an orthodontist. After signing up, customers are supplied with 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 determine if the patient is a good candidate for their aligners. If the patient is 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 DTC aligners, you should know that the bar for being approved is set very low. While that may seem like a good thing, in theory, many people are approved for aligner treatment even if they would benefit more from another type of treatment.
DTC aligners are essentially a DIY orthodontic treatment. That comes with a number of potential risks, some of which can lead to unsatisfactory results or unexpected problems. There are several important components of the orthodontic process missing when it comes to DTC aligners, including:
Assessing the specific needs of individual patients
Orthodontics is about more than simply straightening the teeth. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Bennett 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 Bennett Orthodontics, our team will 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. Bennett everything he needs to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
DTC aligner companies lack this kind of detailed look and rely only on the basic information that is provided to them by the patient. This can lead to many oral health issues being overlooked and untreated. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. Since the teeth and gums should always be in good condition before any type of tooth movement is attempted, this can be problematic. Working directly with an orthodontist like Dr. Bennett will eliminate any unnecessary risk since your treatment plan is built around your unique needs, including any dental work that may be necessary.
Creating a customized treatment plan
While clear aligners can be a great fit for many patients, they aren’t the right fit for everyone. Cases that are particularly complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than aligners can achieve. For these patients, metal or clear braces may be a better choice.
At Bennett Orthodontics, our talented team takes each patient’s unique needs, lifestyle, and goals into consideration along with the results of their initial consultation when creating a personalized treatment plan. Without access to the patient for an in-person examination or x-rays, DTC aligner companies may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a good fit for aligners or not.
Supervising the treatment process
Regular check-ups are an essential part of the process with any type of orthodontic treatment. These visits occur roughly every 4-8 weeks, and Dr. Bennett will use this time to check that everything is proceeding according to the treatment plan and make any necessary adjustments.
DTC aligner companies can’t provide any meaningful supervision, which leaves patients completely in charge of their own orthodontic journey. This can lead to unintended (and less than desirable!) 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 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.
Orthodontists offer comparable costs and treatment times
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there’s a lot of truth in the old saying “you get what you pay for”! Achieving a healthy smile that looks great and functions properly will require an investment of your time and funds. Although DTC aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile at first, 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, detailed care that a trained orthodontist can.
In reality, a qualified orthodontist like Dr. Bennett will actually be able to compete with the cost and treatment times that most DTC companies claim, anyway! Bennett Orthodontics 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 we accept most major credit cards for your convenience. If you have dental insurance that covers orthodontic treatment, our team will even be happy to file the claims for you.
Leave your smile to the trusted experts at Bennett Orthodontics
You’d be unlikely to undergo any type of medical treatment without an initial evaluation or ongoing supervision from a medical professional, right? We believe you should give your smile the same consideration! While DTC companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing their approval process, nothing can compare to working with a trained orthodontist who has the expertise and skill to successfully correct your orthodontic issues.
Dr. Bennett and the rest of our talented team have years of experience creating healthy, beautiful smiles in Mobile and the surrounding communities. If you’re ready to learn more about how Bennett Orthodontics can safely and effectively transform your smile, get in touch with us to schedule your FREE consultation!