These days, we can find cheap deals for just about anything we want and have items delivered to our doorstep within days. Being this spoiled for choice is certainly convenient for those of us who are busy and on a budget, but it can have some unintended consequences as well. We’ve seen these even in the world of orthodontics, mostly with the increasing popularity of direct-to-consumer treatments available to the public.
For many people, the idea of ordering clear aligners to fix their smile from home is enticing. It’s understandable why this would be tempting to some consumers, particularly when these companies use clever marketing to promote the same results as in-office treatment at a fraction of the cost. However, most orthodontists and dentists don’t recommend these types of treatments, including Dr. Vermette. To learn why you should only trust your smile to an experienced orthodontist, keep reading below!
Invisalign vs. direct-to-consumer aligners
Here at Vermette Orthodontics, we use Invisalign clear aligners to help straighten teeth and improve oral health. At first glance, Invisalign can seem incredibly similar to DTC aligners, since both use a series of custom-designed clear aligners to move the teeth over time. It’s important to note that there are several key differences in the two treatment processes, though. This includes the methods used to obtain impressions of the teeth, the actual treatment plan, and check-up visits throughout the patient’s orthodontic journey. Let’s take a closer look at some of these differences!
Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on more than simply straightening the teeth for an improved cosmetic appearance. Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Vermette have spent years learning to identify and treat a wide range of issues, and the first step in this process is normally an orthodontic evaluation. When you schedule a consultation with Vermette Orthodontics, we’ll take several digital photographs to give us a good look at your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. After reviewing these images, Dr. Vermette will point out specific areas of concern, discuss your customized treatment plan, and show you the results you can expect with that plan.
DTC aligner companies, on the other hand, rely on basic information provided to them by the patient. Patients are also responsible for taking their own tooth impressions and sending them back in. As you can imagine, this is less than ideal. Impressions may not be entirely accurate, and oral health issues like cavities and gum disease can be missed. This is problematic since the teeth and gums should always be in good condition before any type of tooth movement is attempted.
Working directly with an orthodontist helps to eliminate these risks because it’s built around your specific needs, including any necessary dental work.
Custom treatment plans
As noted above, an orthodontist like Dr. Vermette doesn’t use a “cookie-cutter” approach but instead creates personalized treatment plans for every patient based on their particular case. While clear aligners can be an excellent option for many patients, they aren’t a good fit for everyone. For example, patients who have especially complex or severe issues to correct may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide. For these cases, traditional braces may be a better method of treatment.
When you’re working with an orthodontist, they’ll take your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals into account when looking at what would work best for you. DTC aligner companies don’t have access to patients for in-person examinations and conversations, which can really impede their ability to determine if someone is a good fit for their product or not.
A supervised treatment process
Whatever the type of appliance being used, regular follow-up visits are an essential part of the treatment process. Depending on the treatment plan, these appointments will be scheduled for every 4-8 weeks or so. At Vermette Orthodontics, we’ll use these visits to observe how the teeth are moving, make any necessary adjustments, and check that everything is proceeding according to plan.
Unfortunately, DTC aligner companies aren’t able to provide any truly meaningful supervision. This leaves patients more or less in charge of their own orthodontic journey, which can lead to unforeseen problems. Aligners may fit poorly, causing irritation and pain. An improper aligner fit can also move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. Cavities or gum disease can develop or worsen without the patient knowing, particularly if they don’t see a dentist regularly.
When an orthodontist is not involved in a long-term course of treatment, these kinds of issues can go unnoticed and thus untreated. Over time, this may cause damage to the patient’s bite and their overall oral health.
Vermette Orthodontics offers comparable costs and treatment times with expert care
Achieving a healthy smile does require an investment on your part. Direct-to-consumer aligners can seem like an inexpensive and simple way to straighten your smile without leaving home, but they can end up costing more in the long run when you consider all the potential risks associated with them. These companies just can’t provide patients with the same level of skilled and supervised care that a trained specialist like Dr. Vermette can!
Additionally, our practice offers a wide variety of affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign. In fact, Dr. Vermette was the first orthodontist certified to use the Invisalign system in New Hampshire. He’s even completed an advanced fellowship in Invisalign treatment, so you know you’re receiving truly expert care when you choose our practice. We also have payment options for every budget, including no-interest payment plans!
We’re committed to providing patients in Concord and the surrounding areas with affordable treatment that’s high-quality and highly customized. If you’re ready to learn more about how Vermette Orthodontics can safely and effectively transform your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation.