November 30, 2020
This time of year, and especially this year, it’s clear how fortunate we are to live in a world where anything we need is practically at our fingertips. From toilet paper and cereal to cat food and Christmas presents, most of us are used to buying what we need with the click of a button and having it delivered to our doorstep a day or two later. While this culture of convenience has certainly made life easier, it’s come with some unexpected consequences as well. That’s true even in the world of orthodontics. That’s why we’re taking a look at the benefits of choosing an orthodontist vs. DTC aligners.
Recently, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies promising patients a cheaper way to straighten their teeth without leaving home. It’s easy to see why this would be tempting to those hoping to improve their smile from the comfort of their own couch! Yet most dental and orthodontic professionals are warning against using these aligners. Why? Keep reading below to find out what Dudley Smiles has to say about DTC aligners and why you should only trust your teeth to an expert like Dr. Dudley and Dr. Freelove!
Based on Invisalign aligners
We’re proud to offer Invisalign clear aligners to patients in Issaquah, Kent, and the surrounding communities. This innovative system uses a series of customized removable aligners to move a patient’s teeth into the desired positions over time and is our most popular alternative to traditional braces. Most direct-to-consumer companies have based their aligners on the unique design Invisalign pioneered, but don’t be fooled! While they may look similar and work in essentially the same way, there are several key differences in how the treatment process works.
What treatment looks like with an experienced orthodontist
A trained orthodontist spends many years learning how to identify and treat common orthodontic issues like misalignments and crowded teeth. The first step in any orthodontic journey will normally be an evaluation, which we offer at no charge. At Dudley Smiles, your initial visit will include a complete oral exam and a discussion with one of our doctors about any areas of concern. We’ll be able to tell you if you’re a good fit for Invisalign following this exam.
If you decide to move forward with Invisalign treatment, we’ll begin by taking a set of digital photos and x-rays to create a 3D image of your mouth. We’ll generate your first set of aligners from these images, ensuring a custom fit that’s both comfortable and effective. You’ll be scheduled for regular follow-up visits throughout the treatment process so we can ensure everything is proceeding according to your treatment plan.
Once treatment is complete, you’ll be provided with a retainer to help keep your newly straightened teeth in place. As you can see, our team will give you expert support and top-quality care from your first appointment to the last—and beyond!
How does this differ from treatment with DTC aligner companies?
When you choose aligners from a direct-to-consumer company, the treatment process is very different. The biggest issue is that there is no expert guidance involved. You won’t receive an oral exam or have any digital images taken before deciding on a treatment plan. The company will ask you for some basic healthcare information, but you’ll be expected to take your own tooth impressions and send them back in. Since most patients aren’t trained in taking orthodontic impressions, this isn’t ideal and can easily lead to inaccurate molds.
Dental health can also be an issue. The teeth and gums should always be in good condition before attempting any type of tooth movement. When you have a patient providing their own images and impressions, cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems can be missed or worsen over time. This can lengthen treatment times and end in less than optimal results.
Additionally, clear aligners are not recommended for everyone. For example, patients who have especially complex or severe cases may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide and traditional braces may be a better option. Without the guidance of a trained orthodontist, you may be signing up for a “one size fits all” approach to straightening smiles.
Why should the treatment process be supervised by an orthodontist?
When you work with experienced orthodontists like Dr. Dudley and Dr. Freelove, you’ll have access to guidance and supervision throughout your orthodontic journey. This is something DTC aligner companies just aren’t able to provide to patients. Unfortunately, this leaves you more or less on your own through the treatment process, which can open you up to a number of unforeseen issues.
Take aligners that don’t fit well, for example. The friction can cause irritation and pain, and may also affect how effective the treatment process is. With no orthodontist directly involved, this can go untreated and may cause damage to your bite over time. It can even impact your overall oral health, eventually. While DTC aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile from home, they could end up costing you more in the long run when you take into account all the potential risks.
Trust your smile to the expert team at Dudley Smiles
Your smile is too important to trust to anything less than an expert! When you choose Dudley Smiles for all your orthodontic needs, you’ll receive a customized treatment plan that’s built around your unique smile, preferences, and goals. Our doctors will always recommend the best treatment method for you, whether it’s Invisalign aligners or another option. You won’t receive this level of skill or supervised care with a generic direct-to-consumer company!
Not only that, but many orthodontic practices offer pricing that is comparable to DTC aligner companies anyway. At Dudley Smiles, we’re committed to providing a variety of affordable treatment options and payment plans to fit every budget. Would you like more information on how our expert team can safely and effectively transform your smile? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our expert team!