We live in a world where we can get nearly anything we need faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before. While this is most certainly convenient, it has also led to 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 online. This can lead many people to wonder if there are any benefits of an orthodontist over Smile Direct Club and similar companies.
These mail-order aligners companies utilize flashy advertising that promises a straighter smile from the comfort of home and for less money than an orthodontist! We can definitely understand how this can sound appealing to some people, but most orthodontists and dentists won’t recommend them. If you or someone you know is considering orthodontic treatment, keep reading below to learn about the benefits of an orthodontist over Smile Direct club and how Clauss Orthodontics can safely give you the smile you deserve!
What are DTC aligners?
Direct-to-consumer (or DTC) aligner companies such as Smile Direct Club market themselves as an alternative to orthodontic treatment that takes place in an office under the supervision and guidance of a trained 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 to the company, 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 the patient sent in. These will then be delivered to them at home with instructions on how to wear them.
Anyone considering using DTC aligners should be aware that it’s extremely easy to get approved. Although that may sound like a good thing, the truth is that many people are okayed for aligner treatment even if they would benefit more from a different treatment method under the direct supervision of an orthodontist.
This kind of DIY treatment comes with a great number of potential risks, many of which can lead to subpar results–or worse! There are several important components of the orthodontic process missing with DTC aligners, some of which we’ve outlined below.
Assessing your specific needs
Orthodontics is about more than simply straightening the teeth. An experienced orthodontist is trained to diagnose and correct a variety of oral issues, ranging from mild to severe. The first step in that process is a consultation that includes an orthodontic examination. At Clauss Orthodontics, our treatment coordinator will take digital photographs of your teeth, along with a full mouth digital x-ray, and possibly an iTero digital scan which serves as a type of “virtual impression”, eliminating the need for standard goopy impressions. These images allow us to see your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. Dr. Mark Clauss will also perform a thorough examination. Together, this detailed information gives us what we need to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient.
On the other hand, DTC aligner companies must rely on nothing more than the basic information that is provided to them by the patients. Unfortunately, this can lead to many oral health issues being overlooked. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen with just a few photos or impressions. Because the teeth and gums should always be in good condition before any type of tooth movement is attempted, this can lead to unexpected problems. When you work together with an orthodontist’s office, it eliminates this completely avoidable risk. Treatment plans are designed specifically for your unique needs, including any dental work that may be needed.
Creating customized treatment plans
Clear aligner therapy can be an excellent treatment option for many patients, but it isn’t for everyone. In cases that are particularly complex or severe, more precise tooth control may be required than what aligners can provide. For these patients, traditional metal or clear braces could be a better option.
Our team is made up of an experienced orthodontist and a team who always considers a patient’s unique needs, lifestyle, and goals when creating their individualized treatment plan. This happens in conjunction with the results of the initial consultation with Dr. Clauss. Without access to the patient for an in-person examination and x-rays, DTC aligner companies may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a good fit for aligners or not.
Supervising the treatment process
Regular check-ups are a crucial part of the treatment process for every orthodontic patient. These visits occur about every 4-8 weeks and Dr. Clauss uses this time to observe how the teeth are moving, make adjustments if necessary, and check that everything is proceeding according to the treatment plan.
With DTC aligner companies there is no meaningful supervision. For all intents and purposes, patients are left in charge of their own orthodontic journey, which can lead to unexpected consequences. For example, aligners may not fit properly, causing irritation and pain. An improper fit can also move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than planned. As we discussed above, cavities or gum disease can develop or worsen without the patient ever knowing. Without a trained orthodontist involved, problems like this may go undetected and thus untreated, eventually causing damage to a patient’s oral health and bite.
Comparable pricing and similar treatment times
Achieving a healthy smile that looks amazing requires an investment of your time and money. The old saying that you get what you pay for couldn’t be more accurate than when it comes to orthodontic treatment! While DTC aligners may seem like a quick, inexpensive, and easy way to straighten your smile, they can end up costing you more in the long run once 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.
In reality, many qualified orthodontists are actually able to compete with the cost and treatment times that most DTC companies boast. Here at Clauss Orthodontics, we offer multiple affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign clear aligner therapy. To ensure treatment is always affordable, we have an office payment plan with 0% interest financing, along with a 5% courtesy discount for treatment that is paid in full. Additionally, we accept most orthodontic insurances and can even file the insurance on your behalf!
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. When you know all of the benefits of an orthodontist over Smile Direct Club, you can make the best choice for your smile.
Expert care that you can trust
You only get one smile, and we believe it’s too important to trust to anything less than an expert! While DTC companies like Smile Direct Club claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing their approval process for aligners, nothing can compare to working with an orthodontist who has education, training, and expertise in successfully straightening teeth. Dr. Clauss has years of experience creating beautiful, healthy smiles in our community, so you can always trust in Clauss Orthodontics to provide the highest quality orthodontic care for the most affordable cost!
For treatment that’s safe, effective, and affordable, visit Clauss Orthodontics
Would you undergo any type of medical treatment without an initial evaluation or ongoing supervision from a trained medical professional? Of course not! We believe your smile deserves the same consideration. At Clauss Orthodontics, we strive to provide every patient with a rewarding, stress-free orthodontic experience from the first appointment to the last. If you’re ready to learn more about how you can safely achieve the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of, contact our office today and schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Clauss!