We all prefer the services we pay for to be fast and inexpensive. While this makes our lives easier, there can be harmful side effects to quick solutions. This preference has manifested in mail-order aligners, a trend that’s become very popular in the last few years.
The companies who make these aligners, and their exceptional marketing teams, know to excite customers with promises of faster treatment. They promise to straighten your teeth at home for a fraction of the cost of an orthodontist. While we understand the appeal, most orthodontists, including our own Dr. Caballero, don’t recommend these treatments for a variety of reasons
it’s important not to trust your smile to anyone but an expert. Here’s why an experienced orthodontist should always be your first choice for orthodontic care.
What Are Mail-Order Aligners?
Mail-order companies like Smile Direct Club or Clarity present themselves as an alternative to professional orthodontic treatment. Customers get an in-home impression kit for these clear aligners. Once the impression has been taken and mailed back to the company, a technician will 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 have ever considered using mail-order aligners, you should be aware that the bar for being approved is extremely low. While that may sound like a good thing, in theory, you will likely get approved for aligner treatment even if it’s not the best choice for your orthodontic needs.
Mail-order aligners are similar to DIY orthodontic treatment. There are many potential risks. Some can lead to unsatisfactory results or unexpected, even harmful, problems. There are several important parts of orthodontic treatment missing from the mail-order aligners process. Here are just a few:
Customized treatment plan
Clear aligners can be a great solution for many patients, but like with any other type of treatment, they aren’t for everyone. Complex 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 Master Orthodontics, Dr. Caballero creates personalized treatment plans by considering your unique needs and goals. This process happens in conjunction with the results of your 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.
Supervision during the treatment process
Regular check-ups are an important part of any orthodontic treatment process. These visits happen about every 4-8 weeks. Dr. Caballero 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 significant supervision. This leaves you in charge of your own orthodontic journey. While you know your own smile and needs, you need a professional to keep your smile safe. 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 discussed 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.
Assessment of your individual needs
Orthodontics is more than just straightening your teeth. A professional orthodontist is trained to treat a variety of oral issues. The first step in any orthodontic journey is a consultation that includes a thorough examination of the mouth. At Master Orthodontics, we take digital photographs of your teeth, along with x-rays. These images help us to get a good look at your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. The information we gather during this appointment gives Dr. Caballero what he needs to create a personalized treatment plan designed just for you.
Mail-order aligner companies can’t provide this kind of detailed exam. Many 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. These unnecessary risks go away when you work with an orthodontist like Dr. Caballero. He’ll explain any dental treatment you may need before starting your orthodontic journey.
Comparable costs and treatment times
Revealing your newly improved smile that both looks great and functions properly requires an investment of your time and money. Mail-order aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile, but they might cost more than you bargained for in the long run. That’s because these companies can’t provide the same level of supervised care that an experienced orthodontist can.
When you break things down, a well-trained orthodontist like Dr. Caballero will be able to compete with the cost and treatment times that most mail-order companies claim! Our practice offers a variety of affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including 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 glad to file the claims for you.
Get the best at Master Orthodontics
At Master Orthodontics, we aim to provide patients with a professional and stress-free orthodontic experience, from your first visit to the day your brand new smile is revealed. Our offices in Bremerton, Gig Harbor, and Port Orchard believe every patient should have access to high-quality, affordable orthodontic care, and we work hard to ensure this for every patient. Contact our office to schedule your complimentary consultation to learn more about treatment, costs, and payment options. No matter your age, we want to be there for you every step of your orthodontic journey. Get in touch to schedule your FREE consultation today for prolonged oral health!