In today’s world, we’ve grown accustomed to having 24-hour access to anything we need, and in most cases, can have it delivered to our doorsteps. There’s no doubt that this is incredibly convenient, but it’s also had some unforeseen side effects, even in the field of orthodontics. This can be seen in the increase of at-home orthodontic treatments available to consumers today. Because of this, we’ve outlined the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over DTC aligners.
You’ve probably seen the flashy advertisements promising to help you achieve a straighter smile from the comfort of your home for a low cost. While we can most certainly understand how this can seem attractive at first glance, most orthodontists wouldn’t recommend taking this course of treatment.
To take a deeper look into the benefits of choosing an orthodontist like the doctors at Central Mass Orthodontics over DTC aligners, keep reading below!
What are DTC aligners?
Direct-to-consumer aligner companies market themselves as an alternative to professional orthodontic treatment that is supervised by a trained orthodontist in a professional office. Customers are sent an at-home impression kit with instructions on how to take an impression of their teeth. Once this has been sent back to the aligner company, a dentist or technician will review it and determine if the patient is a good fit for their aligners. If they’re approved for the aligner process, the company will make aligners based on the impressions provided, then deliver them to the patient with instructions on how to use them.
If you’re considering applying to use DTC aligners, you should be aware that getting approved is extremely easy. While that may seem like a good thing, it often leads to people using aligner treatment when they would be better suited for another orthodontic treatment option.
Direct-to-consumer aligners are essentially a do-it-yourself orthodontic treatment. This comes with a number of potential risks that can lead to subpar results or unexpected health issues. There are many important parts of the orthodontic treatment process that are missing when dealing with DTC aligners, including:
Assessing the specific needs of individual patients
Orthodontic treatment is about so much more than just straightening teeth! An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Giarrusso or Dr. Livanos is able to diagnose and treat a wide range of oral health issues and abnormalities. The first step in the orthodontic journey is an initial consultation that includes a thorough examination of the mouth. At Central Massachusetts Orthodontic Associates, this exam consists of taking digital photographs of your teeth, along with any additional x-rays you may need. These images will allow us to get a better look at your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. The information we collect during this consultation will give Dr. Giarrusso and Dr. Livanos everything they need to create a unique, personalized treatment plan for each patient.
DTC aligner companies aren’t able to collect the same kind of detailed information that’s used in an orthodontic office, so they must rely only on the information provided by the patient. This can lead to any number of oral issues being overlooked, and therefore untreated. This can be detrimental since teeth and gums must be in a healthy condition before attempting to shift them. Working directly with a trained orthodontist like those at Central Mass Orthodontics will eliminate any unnecessary risks since the treatment is overseen and guided by professionals with a plan to meet your unique needs.
Creating a customized treatment plan
It’s true that clear aligner therapy can be an excellent option for many patients, however, they aren’t right for everyone! More severe or complex cases may require more precise tooth control than removable aligners are able to achieve. For these patients, traditional metal or ceramic braces may be more effective.
At Central Mass Orthodontics, our expert team is dedicated to creating individualized treatment plans by considering each patient’s specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. This, combined with the information gathered at your initial consultation, will lead to a treatment plan that leads to your smile success. Without access to the patient for a face-to-face examination and x-rays, DTC aligner companies aren’t able to accurately determine if someone is a good candidate for their aligners or not.
Supervision during the treatment process
With any orthodontic treatment, regular check-ups with your orthodontist are to be expected. These take place roughly every 4-8 weeks and Dr. Giarrusso and Dr. Livanos use this time to assess your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your wires and bands to ensure that your treatment stays on track.
At-home aligners lack any kind of meaningful supervision, which leaves the patient in complete control of their orthodontic treatment. This can have some unintended results. For example, if aligners fit poorly, a patient may experience irritation and pain. An incorrect fit can also lead to the teeth moving too quickly or slower than planned.
As we mentioned previously, cavities and gum disease may worsen without the patient ever knowing. Without a trained orthodontist involved, these issues may go unnoticed and untreated, leading to long-term damage to a patient’s oral health and bite.
Comparable costs and treatment times
When it comes to your orthodontic treatment, you really do get what you pay for! Achieving a healthy, beautiful smile that functions properly requires an investment of time and money. While DTC aligners might seem like a cheap and easy way to get a straighter smile, they can ultimately cost you more in the long run when you consider the potential risks. These companies just aren’t able to give patients the same level of expert, dedicated care that comes with working alongside a trained orthodontist.
In reality, qualified orthodontists like Dr. Giarrusso or Dr. Livanos are able to compete with the cost and treatment times promised by most DTC companies! Central Mass Orthodontics is proud to offer a variety of affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign clear aligner therapy. We also offer convenient in-office financing so that our patients can make monthly payments that fit their lifestyle. If you have dental insurance that covers any part of your orthodontic treatment, our team is happy to help you with filing claims and any additional paperwork to help you get the most out of your insurance policy.
Trust your smile to the experts at Central Mass Orthodontics
You wouldn’t want to start any type of medical treatment without an initial examination and ongoing supervision from an expert, so why trust your smile to anything less? While DTC companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing their approval and treatment process, nothing can take the place of working hand in hand with a trained orthodontist and their staff to successfully straighten your smile! Once you know the benefits of choosing an orthodontist over DTC aligners, you can make the most informed decision on straightening your smile,
Dr. Giarrusso and Dr. Livanos have years of experience caring for and creating exceptional smiles in Worcester, Auburn, Spencer, and the surrounding communities. If you’re ready to start your own smile transformation with our team of experts, contact our office and schedule your first consultation!