Direct-to-consumer products aren’t new. We’re all familiar with late-night ad spots selling clothing, kitchen utensils, and everything in between! These days, the advertising is a little more slick and modern, but the idea is the same. Most of these companies claim to offer superior products for less money delivered directly to a consumer’s front door. Not even the world of orthodontics is exempt from this kind of sales pitch! We’ve recently seen an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer companies marketing clear aligners. The idea of straightening your smile at home can be tempting, but most orthodontists and dentists do not recommend them, including Dr. Selden. Let’s take a closer look at why that is!
Based on Invisalign clear aligners
Here at Selden Orthodontics, we’re proud to offer Invisalign and Invisalign Teen to our patients. The Invisalign system has been the most popular alternative to traditional braces for years now, and allow us to straighten teeth and improve oral health without any brackets, wires, or bands. The aligners used by direct-to-consumer companies are based on the innovative Invisalign design, and can look very similar to patients. Don’t be fooled, though—while each system uses clear aligners to move the teeth over time, there are several key differences in the treatment process itself.
The Invisalign process at Selden Orthodontics
An orthodontist knows your teeth better than you do. As a dental specialist, an orthodontist like Dr. Selden has spent a considerable amount of time learning how to identify and treat misalignments, crowded teeth, and many other oral issues. The first step in this process will usually be a comprehensive orthodontic evaluations. At Selden Orthodontics, this includes digital photographs of your teeth and a discussion with Dr. Selden about any specific areas of concern. You’ll also be presented with a customized treatment plan based on your particular smile needs.
If you decide to move forward with Invisalign treatment, we’ll begin by taking additional digital photos and x-rays to create a 3D image of your mouth. Your first set of custom-fitted aligners will be created from these images, ensuring a custom fit that’s both comfortable and effective. You’ll be seen regularly for follow-up visits with Dr. Selden throughout your orthodontic journey. During these appointments, he’ll check that your teeth are moving in a healthy way and ensure everything is proceeding according to your treatment plan. Once treatment is complete, we’ll provide you with a retainer to keep your beautiful new smile in place. You’ll be supported by Dr. Selden and our expert team every step of the way!
How the direct-to-consumer process differs
There is no expert guidance involved with the companies who provide direct-to-consumer aligners. Patients don’t receive an exam or have any digital photographs or x-rays taken before deciding on a treatment plan. They provide basic information to the “DTC” aligner company and must take their own tooth impressions before sending them back in. Since most patients aren’t trained in taking orthodontic impressions, this isn’t an ideal set-up. In fact, it often leads to inaccurate or inexact molds. As a result, the aligners don’t fit as precisely as they should and the finished product may be uncomfortable and less effective.
Dental health can be a concern, as well. The teeth and gums should always be in good condition before attempting any type of tooth movement. When you have a patient providing their own images and impressions, cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems can be missed or worsen over time. Additionally, clear aligners are not recommended for everyone. For example, patients who have especially complex or severe cases may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide and traditional braces may be a better option. Without the guidance of an expert orthodontist, you’re opening yourself up to a “one size fits all” approach to straightening smiles which may not give you the results you hope for.
Why expert guidance is so important
Working with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Selden ensure you’ll have constant guidance, support, and supervision throughout your orthodontic journey. DTC aligner companies aren’t able to provide any of these things, which leaves patients more or less on their own. This can result in a number of unforeseen issues.
For example, an aligner that doesn’t fit well can cause irritation and pain, and may also affect how effective the treatment process is. Without an orthodontist involved, this can go untreated and may cause damage to the patient’s bite over time or impact their oral health. While direct-to-consumer aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile from home, they can actually end up costing more in the long run when you consider all the potential risks involved!
Trust your smile to the experts at Selden Orthodontics
There’s no cookie-cutter approach to treatment at Selden Orthodontics. We’ll provide a personalized treatment plan for you based on your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. Dr. Selden will only ever recommend the treatment method he feels will be best for your smile, whether that is Invisalign clear aligners or another option. Direct-to-consumer companies just can’t provide patients with that same level of skilled, supervised, and custom care!
DTC companies may claim their aligners are a cheaper way to straighten your smile, but many orthodontists offer comparable pricing. Our practice has a wide range of affordable treatment options available and we also offer in-office payment plans for every budget. If your dental insurance covers orthodontic treatment, our team will be happy to help you coordinate benefits with them. We are in-network with Delta and Cigna DPPO.
Dr. Selden is a top-rated orthodontist in Huntersville and Charlotte. He’s been creating beautiful, healthy smiles in our community for many years! When you choose Selden Orthodontics, you’re truly putting your smile into the best hands around. Are you ready to learn more about how our talented team can safely and effectively improve your oral health and give you a smile you can be proud of? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Selden!