May 28, 2020
In a world where convenience is everything, we’ve all grown pretty accustomed to having access to just about everything we need faster and cheaper than ever with just the push of a button. While this can certainly make our lives easier, it’s also had some unforeseen consequences, even in the field of orthodontics. There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of at-home treatments which can lead many patients to wonder about the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over dtc aligners.
These companies use flashy advertising and attention-grabbing marketing techniques so there’s no doubt you’ve heard of them. Most of them promise customers a straighter smile from home for a fraction of the cost an orthodontist would charge. While we definitely understand how this could be enticing to some consumers, the orthodontists at Central Virginia Orthodontics won’t recommend this type of treatment for many reasons.
You only get one smile and it’s much too valuable to trust anyone other than an expert for treatment and care. To learn more about the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over direct-to-consumer aligners, keep reading below!
What are DTC aligners?
Direct-to-consumer aligner companies market themselves as an equal alternative to professional orthodontic treatment that takes place in an office under the supervision of an orthodontist. Customers are sent an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. Once the impression has been taken and sent back to the company, a dentist or technician will review it and determine if the individual will be a good candidate for their aligners. If the patient is approved for the process, the company will make aligners based on the impression provided and deliver them directly to the patient’s doorstep along with instructions on how to use them properly.
If you or someone you know is considering using DTC aligners, you should be aware that the bar for approval is extremely low. While that may seem like a good thing at first, many people get approved for aligner treatment even if they would benefit more from another orthodontic treatment method.
DTC aligners are essentially a do-it-yourself orthodontic treatment. That can come with a number of potential risks, some of which can lead to unsatisfactory results or unexpected consequences. There are several important components of the orthodontic process missing when it comes to DTC aligners, including:
Assessing the specific needs of individual patients
Orthodontics is about much more than just straightening the teeth. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Baugher or Dr. Claiborne is trained to diagnose and treat any number of oral health issues, from simple to complex. The first step in the orthodontic journey is a consultation that includes a thorough examination of the mouth, teeth, and gums. Here at Central Virginia Orthodontics, we’ll also take digital photos of your teeth, along with x-rays if necessary. These images allow us to get the best possible look at your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. The information we gather during this appointment gives our doctors what they need to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
DTC aligner companies don’t have access to this kind of detailed perspective and must rely on nothing more than the basic information provided by the patient. Since cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen just from a few photos and impressions, this can lead to many oral health issues being overlooked and, therefore, untreated. Since the gums and teeth should always be in good condition before any movement is attempted, this can end up causing more harm than good. Working one-on-one with an orthodontist like Dr. Baugher or Dr. Claiborne will eliminate any unnecessary risks since your treatment is built around your specific needs, including any dental work that may be required.
Creating a customized treatment plan
While clear aligner therapy can be a great option for many of our Central Virginia Orthodontics patients, it isn’t right for everyone! Cases that are more complex or severe may require more precise tooth movement than is possible with aligners. For these patients, metal or clear braces may be a better fit.
Dr. Baugher and Dr. Claiborne are dedicated to creating individualized treatment plans for each patient by considering their unique needs, lifestyle, and goals. This, combined with the information gathered at your initial consultation, will lead to a successfully straightened smile! Without access to the patient for an in-person examination and x-rays, DTC aligner companies aren’t able to accurately determine if a person would benefit from aligners or if they should pursue another option.
Supervising the treatment process
With any type of orthodontic treatment, regular check-ups are essential to keep your smile progressing according to plan. These visits usually take place every 4-8 weeks and your doctor will use them to make any necessary adjustments to your wires and bands.
DTC aligner companies don’t provide any meaningful supervision during the treatment process, which leaves patients completely in charge of their own orthodontic journey. This can have some less-than-desirable outcomes. For example, if aligners fit poorly, they can cause irritation and pain. An improper fit may also move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected.
As we mentioned before, cavities or gum disease may develop or worsen without a patient ever knowing. Without an orthodontist directly involved, issues like this may go unnoticed and untreated, leading to more long-term or severe damage to a patient’s oral health and bite.
Orthodontists offer comparable costs and treatment times
When it comes to your orthodontic treatment, you really do get what you pay for! Achieving a healthy smile that looks beautiful and functions properly definitely requires an investment of your time and finances. Although DTC aligners may seem like a cheap and easy way to get a straighter smile, they can end up costing you more in the long run once you consider the potential risks involved. That’s because these companies just aren’t able to provide patients with the same level of supervised care and guidance that a trained orthodontist like Dr. Baugher or Dr. Claiborne can.
In reality, the doctors at Central Virginia Orthodontics are actually able to compete with the cost and treatment times that many DTC companies claim, anyway! Our practice offers a variety of affordable and efficient treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign clear aligner therapy. We also offer multiple payment options to ensure that your treatment fits your budget! If you have dental insurance that covers orthodontic treatment, we’ll even be happy to file your claims. The benefits of choosing an orthodontist over DTC aligners far outweigh any difference in cost that may arise!
Leave your smile to the trusted experts at Central Virginia Orthodontics
If you found out you needed any kind of medical treatment, you wouldn’t want to go forward as long as you knew you were receiving expert care from a trained professional. We believe your smile deserves the same treatment! While DTC aligner companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing the approval process, nothing compares to working alongside a trained orthodontist who has the expertise and skill necessary to successfully straighten your smile and correct any orthodontic issues. Once you know the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over DTC aligners, it’s an easy decision!
Dr. Baugher, Dr. Claiborne, and the rest of our skilled team have years of orthodontic experience creating bright, healthy smiles in Lynchburg and the surrounding communities. If you’re interested in finding out more about how we can help you get the smile of your dream, contact our office today and schedule your FREE consultation!