This time of year, it’s more apparent than ever that we live in a world built around convenience. Living through a pandemic has made that even clearer! Whether we need toilet paper or Christmas presents, we’re almost guaranteed to get anything we need quickly and cheaply. This has undoubtedly made life easier for us, but there have been some unintended consequences as well. We’ve seen the knock-on effects of this even in the world of orthodontics, with a significant increase in the number of direct-to-consumer aligners available.
You’ve probably noticed their marketing machine in action with commercials and online ads. Most claim they can straighten your teeth from home for a fraction of the cost you would normally pay. Although we can understand why this would be tempting to some consumers, most orthodontic and dental professionals encourage patients to steer clear of these companies. Keep reading to learn more about why you should only trust your smile to an expert like Dr. Scaffidi!
It all began with Invisalign clear aligners
At Scaffidi Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer Invisalign clear aligners to our patients in New Orleans, Kenner, and Slidell. As our most popular alternative to braces, Invisalign can achieve the same beautiful results without the use of brackets and wires. Instead, the Invisalign system is built around a series of customized removable aligners.
It’s this aligner design that most DTC companies have “borrowed.” Even though they look the same and work similarly, these two treatments have several key differences when it comes to the actual treatment process. We’ll highlight some of these below.
The treatment process with an experienced orthodontist
A trained orthodontist like Dr. Scaffidi has spent many years learning how to identify and treat a variety of orthodontic issues. If you’re considering treatment with an orthodontist, the first step will normally be a consultation. At Scaffidi Orthodontics, this first visit will include digital photographs of your teeth and a discussion with Dr. Scaffidi about any specific areas of concern. He’ll be able to tell you at this appointment if you’re a good fit for Invisalign.
If you do 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. Your first set of aligners will be generated from these images, ensuring a custom fit that’s comfortable and effective. You’ll be scheduled for regular follow-up visits with Dr. Scaffidi throughout the treatment process so he can check that your teeth are moving healthily.
Once treatment is complete, you’ll be provided with a retained and expected to wear it as directed to keep your newly straightened teeth in place. From start to finish, you’ll be supported by our entire team.
The treatment process with direct-to-consumer 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 exam or have any digital images taken before deciding on a treatment plan. The company will ask you for some basic healthcare information and expect you to take your own tooth impressions and send them back in. Since most patients aren’t trained in taking orthodontic impressions, this isn’t an ideal set-up. It can easily lead to inaccurate or inexact molds that produce aligners that don’t fit as precisely as they should.
Dental health can also be a problem. 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.
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. For these patients, traditional braces may be a better option. Without the guidance of an expert orthodontist, you’re opening yourself up to a “one size fits all” approach to straightening smiles which may not give you the results you hope for.
Why it’s so important to work with an orthodontist
When you trust your smile to an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Scaffidi, you’ll have access to expert support, guidance, and supervision throughout your orthodontic journey. This is something DTC aligner companies just aren’t able to provide, leaving patients more or less on their own during the treatment process. This can open you up to a number of unforeseen issues, like aligners that don’t fit well. The resulting 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.
Trust your smile to the expert team at Scaffidi Orthodontics
While DTC aligners may seem like a cheap and easy way to straighten your smile from home, they could end up costing you more when you consider all the potential risks! You only get one smile, and it’s too important to trust to anyone but an expert. At Scaffidi Orthodontics, you’ll receive a customized treatment plan that’s based on your own unique needs, preferences, and goals. You won’t find that level of skilled, supervised care with a generic direct-to-consumer company!
Not only that, but many orthodontists offer pricing that is comparable to DTC aligner companies. We believe everyone should have access to high-quality orthodontic care and affordable treatment options. That’s why we have convenient payment plans available for every budget and accept most major credit cards. If you have dental insurance that will cover orthodontic treatment, our team will be happy to review your insurance information in order to maximize your benefits. We can even help with your claims and paperwork.
If you’d 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 Dr. Scaffidi!