Mail-Order Orthodontics are on the Rise; Do They Really Work?

Getting braces has long been one of life’s rites of passage for many children, teenagers, and adults.  Some people opt for mail-order orthodontics, braces via sources such as SmileDirectClub and Candid in hopes of getting braces for less?

On the surface, this may sound like a viable solution – You get a straighter smile for less. However, you often get what you pay for!

Serious oral health problems can arise if you undergo teeth straightening without the supervision of dental experts, like the dental team at Fioritto Family Dental in Mentor, OH. Some critics of these mail-order services claim they treat patients like consumers rather than patients, with an emphasis on the financial bottom line rather than health and safety. Here’s why it’s always best to talk with our dentists before trying a mail-order aligner service. 

How mail-order orthodontics work

If you don’t have to visit a dentist to get fitted for braces, how do the mail-order companies know what to do? For those unfamiliar with businesses like SmileDirectClub, they recreate the benefits of Invisalign. The process starts by using teeth scanners at retail outlets to make a map of the patient’s teeth—and that’s the last time the patient will interact with a human for the rest of the process.

The company takes the scan and makes a set of 24, 3D-printed clear plastic braces for their customers, intended to gradually move the teeth into alignment. Patient progress is monitored by sending selfies online to the dental team.

It sounds ideal, especially if your heart rate goes up just thinking about visiting the dentist. But that lack of supervision and interaction can have unfortunate consequences.

The risks of skipping the dentist

Many things can go wrong when you don’t have a skilled dentist watching over your progress in person. For example, your teeth may not align properly. Or, other issues may arise, such as a crossbite (misalignment between the upper and lower teeth), jaw joint problems and migraines.

Depending on the severity of your misalignment, the dentists at Fioritto Family Dental may use additional dental appliances to aid in complex issues. If you’re using mail-order orthodontics, these options will not be available. In fact, you probably won’t be aware you need them, because the supervising dentists at the service won’t be able to personally inspect your mouth to detect the issues.

In some cases, the damage caused by mail-order orthodontics can be irreversible—which is not only devastating for your oral and physical health, it defeats the whole purpose of saving money and time at home!

Ultimately, while mail-order orthodontics has been successful in some cases, the risks of doing it yourself often outweigh any potential benefits. It’s always best to visit Fioritto Family Dental in Mentor, OH if you’re thinking of straightening your teeth. 

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