In today’s society, we can get almost anything we need delivered in just a few days with the touch of a button. While this kind of quick service is definitely convenient, it’s also had some unforeseen side effects, even in the field of orthodontics. We’ve all grown accustomed to wanting the fastest, cheapest, and easiest methods for everything, and in the orthodontic world, this has led to an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer treatments available. We’re here to tell you the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over DTC aligners and the potential risks that come with at-home treatment.
With their flashy advertising and promises of cheaper aligners and straighter smiles from the comfort of home, we can certainly understand why these companies are tempting to consumers. However, most orthodontists and dentists won’t recommend them to patients seeking to improve their smile. Keep reading below to learn more about what DTC aligners are, why we aren’t big fans of them, and why choosing an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Jessica Bowen matters more than you might think!
What are DTC aligners?
Direct-to-consumer companies market themselves as a successful alternative to in-office orthodontic treatment. Instead of supervised treatment from an established practice, these companies supply patients with an in-home impression kit for 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 sent in, then delivered to them at home with instructions on how to wear them.
DTC aligners like to lure potential patients in with reduced costs and no in-office visits. This kind of DIY treatment comes with a number of potential risks, many of which can lead to unsatisfactory results–or worse. There are many important components 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 teeth. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Bowen is trained to identify and treat a variety of oral conditions, ranging from simple to complex. The first step in that process is a consultation that includes an orthodontic examination. At Bowen Family Orthodontics, this initial appointment is completely complimentary! This smile assessment is a comprehensive exam that includes digital photographs and x-rays to help us determine if you require treatment, and if so, which option would be best for your unique case. The photographs, x-rays, and thorough exam provide Dr. Bowen with all the information she 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 consumer. 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.
Supervising the treatment process
Whether a patient is in braces or wearing aligners, regular check-ups are an essential component of the orthodontic process. These visits occur roughly every 6-10 weeks, and Dr. Bowen uses this time to make necessary adjustments, observe how the teeth are moving, 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 lead to unexpected consequences and 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 noted above, cavities or 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 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, not everyone is a good candidate. Some cases yield better results when treated with traditional braces.
An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Bowen will always consider a patient’s unique needs, lifestyle, and goals when creating their customized treatment plan. This happens in conjunction with the results of the initial consultation. A DTC aligner company doesn’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 not.
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 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 just don’t have the ability to provide patients with the same level of supervised care that a trained orthodontist can.
The funny thing is, many qualified orthodontists are actually able to compete with the cost and treatment times that most DTC companies claim. Bowen Family Orthodontics 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 but an expert. DTC companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing the approval process for aligners, but this is no substitute for the education, training, and skills that an orthodontist will have. Dr. Bowen is an award-winning orthodontist with years of experience creating healthier, straighter smiles for patients in Mullica Hill and the surrounding communities. Your smile will be in the best hands at Bowen Family Orthodontics.
For safe and effective orthodontic treatment, visit Bowen Family Orthodontics
Think about it this way: 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 the same consideration. The talented team at Bowen Family Orthodontics will provide you with a rewarding, stress-free orthodontic experience from your initial consultation to your final appointment!
If you’re ready to learn more about how to safely achieve a beautiful smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Bowen!