In today’s society, we’ve grown accustomed to having access to anything we need faster, cheaper, and easier than ever. Although this is definitely convenient, it’s led to some unexpected consequences, even in the field of orthodontics! You may have noticed an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatments available, like mail-order aligners. With so many options, you may be wondering if there are really any benefits of an orthodontist over Smile Direct Club.
These mail-order aligner companies use flashy advertising and promises of straightening your smile from home for cheaper prices to attract patients. We understand how this can seem attractive to a lot of customers. However, most orthodontists don’t recommend this route of treatment, and we’re here to explain why! To find out more about the benefits of an orthodontist over Smile Direct Club, keep reading below.
What are Mail-Order aligners?
Mail-order aligner companies are marketed as an equal alternative to orthodontic treatment that takes place in an office under the close supervision and guidance of a trained orthodontist. The first step in this at-home process is supplying the customer with a do-it-yourself impression kit. These impressions will be sent back to the company and a dentist or technician will review it and determine if the patient is a good fit for clear aligner treatment. If a patient is approved, the impressions will be used as a model to create your aligners, which will be delivered to your home with instructions on how to use them.
If you’re considering using a company like Smile Direct Club for your aligner treatment, you should be aware that it’s extremely easy to get approved. This might seem like a good thing at first, but the truth is that many patients are given approval for aligner treatment even if they would benefit more from braces or another method offered by a trained orthodontist.
This type of DIY treatment presents a number of potential risks to patients, many of which can lead to subpar results, untreated oral issues, or worse. There are many important components to successful orthodontic treatment that mail-order aligner companies just can’t offer, some of which are outline below.
Assessing your specific needs
Orthodontics is about so much more than a pretty smile. An experienced orthodontist is trained to diagnose and treat a multitude of oral issues and abnormalities, ranging from simple to complex. This means they have the ability to tend to your specific needs, something that DTC aligners just can’t do. The first step in the orthodontic process at Buttram Orthodontics includes a completely FREE consultation with Dr. Randy Buttram. At your appointment, our treatment coordinator will take digital photos of your teeth, along with a few x-rays if necessary. These images will allow Dr. Buttram and the team to see your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissues. After thoroughly reviewing your photos and x-rays, Dr. Buttram will examine your mouth, teeth, and gums. Together, this detailed information will give our team what they need to create an individualized treatment plan that meets each patients’ unique needs.
When you work directly with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Buttram, it eliminates any unnecessary risks. Treatment plans are built around your unique needs, including any dental work that may be required. With mail-order aligners, they receive only the information provided by the patient. This can lead to many oral health issues being overlooked and therefore, untreated. Cavities, gum disease, and other related issues aren’t visible from photos or impressions. Your teeth and gums should always be healthy before you attempt to shift them, so this can lead to real problems.
Creating customized treatment plans
While clear aligner therapy can be a great treatment option for many patients, it isn’t the best fit for everyone. For cases that are more complex or severe, more precise tooth control may be required, and clear aligners can’t quite accomplish that. For these patients, metal or clear braces may be a better option.
Our team at Buttram Orthodontics is made up of Dr. Buttram, a skilled and experienced orthodontist, and his expert staff. Your needs are always top priority and we’ll always consider your lifestyle and goals when creating your treatment plan. This, combined with the results of your initial consultation, will lead to the perfect orthodontic treatment for each individual patient. Mail-order aligner companies do not have in-person access to patients, so they are not able to perform examinations or x-rays. These companies will not be able to accurately determine if you are a good candidate for aligners.
Supervising the treatment process
Routine check-ups are an essential part of the treatment process for every orthodontic patient, regardless of which route you choose. These visits occur about every 8-12 weeks, and Dr. Buttram uses this time to check on the progression of your treatment and make any adjustments if they’re necessary.
With direct-to-consumer aligner companies, there is no meaningful supervision of your treatment. Patients are essentially left in charge of their own orthodontic treatment, which can have some downfalls. For example, if an aligner doesn’t fit correctly but a patient isn’t aware, they can experience irritation and pain. An ill-fitted aligner may also move teeth too quickly or slower more slowly than expected. And, as we noted above if cavities and gum disease can develop or worsen over time if left undiagnosed and untreated by a specialist. This can lead to long-term damage to your oral health and your bite.
Comparable pricing and similar treatment times
Achieving the healthy, beautiful smile of your dreams requires an investment of your time and money. The old saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more accurate than when referring to orthodontic treatment! While mail-order aligners seem like a good, inexpensive way to straighten your smile on the front end, they can end up costing more than you want to pay once you consider the potential risks. These companies can’t give you the quality care and guidance that a trained orthodontist can.
In many cases, Buttram Orthodontics is actually able to compete with the cost and treatment times promised by most mail-order aligner companies! We’re proud to offer a variety of affordable orthodontic treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign clear aligner therapy. To ensure that treatment is affordable for all of our patients, we’ve partnered with OrthoFi, a company that allows you to choose the best treatment option for your family and make a payment plan that fits your lifestyle!
Our office takes advantage of the latest in orthodontic technology and techniques to give you the best results in the shortest amount of time possible.
Expert care that you can trust
You only get one smile, and at Buttram Orthodontics, we believe you deserve an expert to treat it! While mail-order aligner companies claim to have qualified specialists overseeing the approval process for their aligners, there’s no comparison for working together with a trained orthodontist who has education, training, and expertise in successfully straightening teeth. The benefits of an orthodontist over Smile Direct Club make it clear why you should pursure treatment in a professional orthodontists office! Dr. Buttram has years of experience creating healthy, beautiful smiles for patients in Panama City and the surrounding areas, so you can feel confident knowing that you’re receiving expert care at all times!
For treatment that’s safe and effective, visit Buttram Orthodontics
Here at Buttram Orthodontics, our top priority is providing you with a safe, rewarding orthodontic experience from start to finish! If you’re ready to take the first step to achieve the smile you deserve, contact our office today and schedule your FREE initial consultation with Dr. Buttram!