In today’s day and age, you can order almost anything online, from makeup samples and razors to eyeglasses and dog treats. And while retailers haven’t yet discovered a way to ship a dental cleaning right to your door, it is possible to straighten your teeth remotely with brands like SmileDirectClub. But is the convenience and low cost of online aligners worth the risks? Our Apex dentist weighs in below.
What is SmileDirectClub?
SmileDirectClub was introduced in 2014 as an alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment options. Essentially, it is a mail-order system that ships clear aligners directly to patients each month, allowing them to straighten their teeth without in-person visits with a dentist or orthodontist. The brand’s dentists conduct progress checks remotely, by examining “selfie” photos. These “shortcuts” make the entire process cost much less, merely a fraction of traditional straightening methods like braces or Invisalign.
Disadvantages of Online Tooth Aligners
Despite the benefits, many dental and orthodontic professionals are warning against mail-order orthodontic systems as more and more patients come in with poor results from spending months in the aligners. Below are some things to know before you fill out the application for one of these services.
- Communication is infrequent and impersonal.Remote tele-dentistry assigns you a dentist or orthodontist who checks on your progress every 90 days through your customer account. You are placing your trust entirely in the company to vet your dentist for their skill and experience.
- Lack of hands-on approach means details can be overlooked. The reason these services can be priced so cheaply is because the dentist is doing less work. But that is really not a good thing when it comes to your teeth. Details like your teeth’s surface texture, your bite pressure, and even your breath can indicate to your dentist that something is wrong—it is much more complex than simply looking at a photo.
- Errors can occur in the initial impression.If you can’t come to a “Smile Direct Shop” and get a 3D scan in person, you will have to take an impression of your teeth on your own. At a dentist’s office, only a licensed, experienced professional performs this task, resulting in more accurate impressions. If you make a mistake with your impressions, your aligners will not accurately straighten your teeth.
- They don’t have your records.Smile Direct doesn’t know your dental history, while your dentist knows your medical history and takes that into account while planning your treatment.
Bottom Line: For the Best Results, Visit Our Apex Dentist Today!
Most dentists agree that online alignment services such as SmileDirectClub are simply not worth the risk. Although getting Invisalign or braces at a local dentist office may cost more and take longer, they are that way because you are receiving accurate, thorough, personalized care. Your dentist can take your entire dental history into account; take accurate impressions; track your progress, and alter the course of your treatment if deemed necessary. There are a lot of smart ways to save money in this day and age, but in our opinion, mail-order dental work is not one of them! To schedule an appointment with our Apex dentist office, please click here.