Your orthodontic treatment plan should be unique, just like you. Quality orthodontic care takes the individual into account when crafting a plan, and there is no substitute for that level of personalization. Unfortunately, many patients are leaving these important factors behind and turning to mail-order orthodontics, and this shift concerns many orthodontists across the country.
This concern lies in the fact that mail-order appliances make promises that they simply can’t keep. They claim they can cut out the need for appointments, provide care at a cheaper rate, and allow you to take charge of your treatment from the very beginning. While these promises may sound exciting, they are simply too good to be true.
At Scaffidi Orthodontics, we believe in giving our patients the highest quality care possible. That is why it is so important to warn our patients about the misleading advertising of mail-order orthodontics. Let’s review the three things you won’t get with mail-order aligners (and what you will get from your team at Scaffidi Orthodontics)!
What are mail order aligners?
SmileDirect Club is one of several mail-order aligner companies that attempt to provide patients with a remote orthodontic experience by giving them a series of clear aligner trays — and an app to monitor their progress.
Mail-order aligner companies claim that with their product, there is no need to meet with an orthodontist regularly and that you, as the patient, can make the most important decisions about your treatment plan. Mail-order orthodontics may seem like a cheaper alternative, but they subtract that discount from the quality of care you’ll receive at the end of the day.
A good rule of thumb for determining whether to trust any product – especially products that claim to benefit your health and wellness – is to watch out for statements that sound too good to be true. Be skeptical of loaded words like “Smart” or “Pro.” Be wary of prices that are drastically different than what professionals charge. In the health world, we often find that patients are led astray by companies claiming to have their best interests at heart when really they are providing a shortcut to rejuvenation that skips many of the necessary steps. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Lack of Specialized Care
Imagine you needed surgery to alter the way your body functioned. Would you feel comfortable if your surgeon allowed you to decide how to perform the surgery? Orthodontic treatment is a long-term process requiring specialized care from a physician. Most mail-order orthodontics put the ball in your court, allowing you to make serious decisions regarding your healthcare.
With mail-order orthodontics, you make your own impressions. You choose how long to wear your aligners and when. You decide when to consult your doctor. But at Scaffidi Orthodontics, we know that every smile is different. From the way your teeth grow naturally to the bite pattern or malocclusion you exhibit, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan – no matter what mail-order orthodontics may tell you! Without the direct supervision of your orthodontist, your treatment plan cannot adapt to the way your mouth reacts to treatment. Without adjusting, you may cause more damage to your teeth overall. Besides, there is a range of treatment options, and aligners aren’t designed for every individual’s needs.
No Direct Supervision
The first step towards a straighter smile is a comprehensive exam conducted by a professional orthodontist. This exam allows the doctor to determine the type of treatment required for alignment and assess the patient’s need for additional dental care. After the initial exam, you’ll be expected to meet with your orthodontist twice every 6-8 weeks to check on progress. These in-person meetings are vital to ensure your teeth are straightened safely and successfully.
Mail-order orthodontics claim that these visits aren’t necessary. Instead, they outsource the direct supervision of a trained orthodontist to a virtual appointment at best and an app on your phone at worst. Perhaps the mail-order club mitigates the lack of in-person care by offering for you to meet on occasion at one of their physical locations. However, these locations are not always nearby and may not even exist in your state at all. No matter what mail-order orthodontics may claim, an app cannot replace years of school and experience. Without direct supervision of your care, your treatment plan becomes drastically cookie-cutter, which leads us to our next point.
The Bottom Line: Mail-Order Aligners May Ruin Your Teeth
Without the proper care provided by a trained orthodontist, mail-order orthodontics run the risk of ruining your teeth in the long run. In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) are decidedly not in favor of mail-order aligners for the reasons listed above. There are multiple active lawsuits against companies like SmileDirectClub due to the ineffective treatment of their patients, which has in some cases caused worsened alignment and long-term pain.
When mail-order aligners cause issues for patients, professional orthodontic treatment is often required to address these issues, leaving the patient right back where they started and owing even more money to their orthodontic journey than if they had simply begun this process with an orthodontist.
Stick With the Professionals at Scaffidi Orthodontics
Our trained professionals at Scaffidi Orthodontics provide our patients with expert care and a unique treatment plan that fits their needs. Dr. Scaffidi knows that every mouth is different, and everyone comes to the office with a different set of needs for their smile journey.
Mail-order orthodontics simply can’t give you the treatment plan you deserve. If you’re considering mail-order care, why not try out a free consultation with Dr. Scaffidi first? You’ll feel so much better with a team of experts by your side.