In today’s fast paced society, time seems to be in short supply. With more obligations than ever, people are always looking for ways to get what they need faster, cheaper, and more convenient than before. However, there are some instances, such as your health, where you may not want to choose the cheaper option.

Many patients interested in straightening their teeth have likely seen the ubiquitous advertising campaigns being pushed by so called “direct-to-consumer” aligner companies. These companies promise to straighten your teeth quickly from the comfort of your home for less money than getting treatment from a trained orthodontic specialist like those at Roseman Dental & Orthodontics.

Wow, cheaper and easier! Sounds great right? With such lofty promises, we understand that this may be a tempting option for many people looking to improve their smile. However, there can be many unintended consequences of treatment through DTC aligner companies that people are not aware of. There’s a reason no dentist or orthodontist would ever recommend mail order aligners to their patients! There are many crucial aspects of proper orthodontic treatment missing from mail order aligners, that can lead to very unsatisfactory outcomes, or worse – do permanent damage to your teeth and jaws! If you are interested in learning the differences between mail-order aligners and Invisalign treatment supervised by a trained orthodontic specialist, like here at Roseman Dental & Orthodontics, keep reading!

How DTC Aligner Companies Processes Work

When you begin treatment with a “DTC aligner” company, they will send you a kit to take an impression (or a mold) of your teeth at home, which they then use to fabricate custom aligners. In some cities (including Las Vegas!), these companies have opened small offices where you can go to have a digital scan (NOT an x-ray) of your teeth taken by an employee.

Once the tooth impression is completed, DTC aligner companies say that your case will be sent to a dentist to approve your case for aligner treatment, and they claim that only appropriate “mild to moderate” cases will be approved. In reality, nearly every case gets approved, regardless of complexity.  At no point throughout the process has a patient been seen by a dentist involved in the orthodontic treatment.

After the case is approved by a remotely located dental professional, the aligner trays are manufactured and shipped directly to the patient.  At the “completion” of the treatment, the patient has the option of getting rescanned or having retainers sent to them.  Again, this is without ever having to see an orthodontist to evaluate the treatment progress or finish.

What DTC Aligner Companies Do Not Do

As stated earlier, there are some serious compromises to achieve the convenience of DTC aligners. For example:

  1. DTC aligner companies do not have x-rays to evaluate the teeth: X-rays are important to understand the limits of how far the teeth can move.
  2. DTC aligner companies do not evaluate for periodontal disease: Orthodontic treatment for patients with active periodontal disease can lead to worsening of the condition, loosening of the teeth, or worse, loss of teeth.
  3. DTC aligner companies do not conduct a dental exam: Dental exams are necessary to assess the patient’s overall needs, including restorations, extractions, and other needed dental work. Failure to do so can result in less-than-optimal results.
  4. DTC aligner companies have a very limited focus: There are many other issues involved in orthodontic treatment other than straightening the teeth. These issues can only be properly assessed through an orthodontic exam.
  5. DTC aligner companies have no oversight: Patients may not understand when things go wrong and treatment has to be recalculated. Imagine driving to your destination and making a wrong turn along the way – you will never get to your planned end point.

It is understandable to want to get something done “faster, cheaper & easier”, unfortunately healthcare, including dentistry and orthodontics, is not one of those that we should compromise on. DTC aligner companies have used this to their advantage, but the one adjective they have not incorporated is “better” – and that is not something to be compromised.

Roseman Dental & Orthodontics can help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed about. Utilizing advanced technology with new treatment methods, we will create individualized treatment plans based on the patient’s unique situations and treatment needs at costs up to 50% less than that of a private practice.  Come in for an evaluation today.

Author: Dr. Anthony Decker