In today’s world, we’ve gotten used to getting everything we need faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before. While this is certainly convenient, it’s had some unforeseen side effects, even in the field of orthodontics! Most notably, it’s led to an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer treatments available, such as mail-order aligners. You may be wondering if there is really any benefits of an orthodontist vs Smile Direct Club or other similar companies.
With their flashy ads and promises of cheaper, at-home aligners, we certainly understand why this is tempting for a lot of consumers. However, most orthodontists and dentists don’t recommend them, and we’re here to tell you why! Keep reading below to learn more about what mail-order aligners like Smile Direct Club are, and how Hemphill Orthodontics can more safely and effectively give you the smile you want and deserve.
What are Mail-Order aligners?
Mail-order aligner companies market themselves as an alternative to orthodontic treatment that takes place in an office under the supervision of an orthodontist. The first step is supplying customers 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 decide if the patient is a good candidate for their aligners. If they are approved for the process, aligners will be made from the impression you sent in. These will then be delivered to you at home with instructions on how to wear them.
Anyone considering using aligners from Smile Direct Club or other companies should be aware that it’s extremely easy to get approved. Although it sounds appealing, it is important to note that many people get approved when there is a better course of action that would be more effective for the patient.
This kind of DIY treatment comes with a number of potential risks, many of which can lead to unsatisfactory results–or worse! There are several important components of the orthodontic process missing with mail-order aligners, some of which we’ve outlined below.
Assessing your specific needs
Orthodontics is about more than straightening the teeth. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Hemphill is trained to identify and treat a variety of oral issues, ranging from simple to complex. This attention to your individual needs is a major benefit of treatment from an orthodontist vs. Smile Direct Club. The very first step is setting up a free consultation that includes an orthodontic exam. At Hemphill Orthodontics, we take digital photographs of your teeth, along with a panoramic and cephalometric x-ray. These images allow us to see your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. Then Dr. Hemphill will perform a thorough examination to evaluate teeth AND surrounding tissues to make sure nothing gets missed. Together, this detailed information gives us what we need to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
In contrast to this, mail-order aligner companies have nothing more to rely on than the basic information provided by the customer. Unfortunately, this can lead to many oral health issues being missed. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. Since your teeth and gums should always be healthy before you attempt to move your teeth, this can be a real problem. When you see an orthodontist in-office, it eliminates this unnecessary risk. Treatment plans are built around your unique needs, including any dental work that may be needed.
Creating customized treatment plans
Clear aligner therapy can be an excellent choice for many patients, but it isn’t for everyone! In particular, cases that are complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide. For these patients, traditional metal or clear braces may be a better option.
Our team is made up of Dr. Hemphill, an experienced orthodontist, and a wonderful support staff who always consider a patient’s needs, lifestyle, and goals when creating an individualized treatment plan for them. This happens in conjunction with the results of their initial consultation. Without access to the patient for an in-person examination or x-rays, mail-order aligner companies like Smile Direct Club may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a good fit for aligners or not.
Supervising the treatment process
Whether a patient is wearing braces or aligners, regular check-ups are an essential part of the orthodontic process. These visits take place roughly every 6 weeks, and Dr. Hemphill uses this time to observe how the teeth are moving, check that everything is going according to the treatment plan, and make adjustments if necessary.
With mail-order companies, there is no orthodontic supervision. For all intents and purposes, patients are left in charge of their own orthodontic experience, which can lead to unexpected consequences. For example, aligners may fit poorly, causing irritation and pain. An improper fit may also move the teeth too quickly, too slowly, or NOT AT ALL. As we noted above, cavities or gum disease can develop or worsen without you even knowing. With no orthodontist involved, these problems may go unnoticed and untreated, eventually causing damage to your overall oral health.
Comparable pricing and similar treatment times
There is no denying that it takes an investment of your time and money to get the smile you want. The old saying that you get what you pay for couldn’t be truer when it comes to orthodontic treatment! While mail-order aligners may seem like a quick and easy way to straighten your smile, 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 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 mail-order aligner companies claim! Here at Hemphill Orthodontics, we offer a variety of affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including clear braces and Invisalign. To ensure treatment is affordable, we accept low down payments, we allow flexible financing plans at no interest, and we accept checks, cash, all major credit cards, and third-party financing with our partner Care Credit. Additionally, we will verify your orthodontic insurance and present you with any costs you may have during a personalized financial presentation.
Our office takes advantage of the latest in orthodontic technology and techniques to give you the most optimal results in the shortest amount of time possible.
Expert care that you can trust
You only get one smile, and it’s too important to trust to anything less than an expert! While mail-order aligner companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing the approval process for their aligners, there’s no substitute for working with an orthodontist who has education, training, and expertise in moving teeth successfully. Dr. Hemphill has years of experience creating beautiful, healthy smiles in our community, so you can always trust in him to provide the highest quality orthodontic care!
For treatment that’s safe and effective, visit Hemphill Orthodontics
Think about it: 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. At Hemphill Orthodontics, we aim to provide you with a rewarding, stress-free orthodontic experience from your first appointment to your last. If you’re ready to learn more about how you can safely achieve a beautiful smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation!