With everything else available online, it was only a matter of time before someone offered a way to get your teeth straightened online. Companies are now having customers email pictures of their teeth to determine if they qualify for the treatment, then the customers take impressions of their own teeth and mail them in. After a couple weeks or so, they receive plastic aligner trays that will straighten their teeth.
The entire process is completed without ever stepping foot into an orthodontist’s office. This process might be more convenient for some people, but that doesn’t mean it’s your best or safest option. You could have orthodontic problems that can’t be diagnosed through sending photos or dental impressions.
It’s probably not surprising that orthodontists are not very supportive of this plan since it takes business away from their practices. But putting that aside, there are still many reasons why this type of treatment is concerning.
Mail-order orthodontic companies are more likely to be focused on making a profit rather than patient care. A company that never meets patients or their families can never be as invested in their care as the orthodontists who see their patients in person on a regular basis.
When you’re only sending in photos or impressions of your teeth, any underlying issues you might have are not addressed. Pictures of teeth taken with a smartphone only tell half the story. Without a thorough in-person exam, which includes X-rays and digital imaging, it is impossible to know what is truly going on in your mouth, especially below the gums. Trying to fix only what is visible in a picture could lead to incomplete treatment, or even additional damage to your teeth and gums.
Follow-Up and Revision
With mail-order orthodontic treatment, there is minimal follow-up or treatment revision once you finish your treatment plan. Even the most well-thought-out orthodontic treatment needs to be checked on periodically to ensure everything is progressing as planned. Mail-order companies ask their customers to send in photos of their progress, but that will never be as effective as having an orthodontist looking at your teeth, making sure things are going as planned and making any necessary changes. Your orthodontist is also able to answer any questions you might have regarding your treatment during these appointments.
No Treatment Variety
Another thing to consider about mail-order treatment is the fact that it only offers one type of treatment. Mail-order treatment can, at best, only correct small issues such as a couple crooked teeth or minor crowding. In theory, those with tougher issues should be told they are not a good candidate for the treatment. However, every person who is turned away is lost income, which means there’s a chance some people are getting treatment that isn’t really going to fix all of their issues. Orthodontic practices offer numerous types of treatment so they can correct all kinds of issues, large and small.
Are we saying online orthodontic treatment doesn’t work for anyone? Not at all. But we are strongly recommending that you weigh the pros and cons of this type of treatment before you commit. Our team here at Milnor Orthodontics is available to provide you detailed treatment information and answer any questions you might have.