Recently, there have been some companies offering cheaper options to Invisalign. One of these that has been aggressive in its marketing is SmileDirectClub. They offer a do-it-yourself option which cuts costs by eliminating most of the dentist supervision. There is a dentist supervising the treatment, but he or she does it remotely and there is never a direct office visit.
Why SmileDirectClub May Not Be the Answer
Dr. Dennis disagrees with the concept of do-it-yourself orthodontics, and here are the reasons.
- She feels that a comprehensive examination is important before starting any orthodontic treatment, and an important ingredient of that examination is x-rays. It is an accepted standard in orthodontic care is that you start with a quality panographic x-ray view of the jaw and the teeth, to show the condition of the bone and the roots of the teeth. There are reports of receding gums, loose teeth, and other complications caused by orthodontic treatment begun without this important diagnostic step.
- The impression taken to begin treatment is critical. It needs to be completely accurate and not distorted. Some of these do-it-yourself companies suggest that they can mail you a kit to take the impression yourself at home. Dr. Dennis believes that this is inadequate.
- Most cases of crooked teeth are the result of crowding. To correct that, some extra space needs to be made. Sometimes, this is done by extracting some teeth. If not that much space is needed, a little shaving of the sides of some of the teeth can create enough space. Without that step, the arch has to be expanded by pushing the teeth out. This usually doesn’t give the best result. Some people leaving online reviews have complained that their back teeth were left crowded or with cross-bites and only the front teeth were straightened.
- There are often other things that need to be done to achieve the best result—things that need to be done in the office. For example, a tooth may need to be rotated slightly, and to accomplish that a small button of composite may be bonded to the surface of the tooth to enable the aligner to create that rotational force. Do-it-yourself orthodontics has to skip that option.
- Finally, Dr. Dennis knows from experience that there are issues that can come up during treatment that she needs to address. Sometimes teeth don’t quite move the way it was predicted and she has to make a course correction in the middle of treatment. Online reviews of these do-it-yourself systems show patient frustration when these issues come up and they can’t get an adequate response from the company.
At-Home Straighteners vs. Invisalign
The Invisalign process is much different from the do-it-yourself option. It begins in the office of an Invisalign-certified dentist like Dr. Dennis. If you’re a candidate for the Invisalign system, you can expect a full oral examination complete with x-rays. Then a high-tech, 3-D impression will be made of your mouth, and Dr. Dennis will show you a simulation of your Invisalign treatment on a computer screen, including the individual movements and goals for each tooth. When your aligners are ready, you’ll return to Dr. Dennis’s office to receive your initial trays and instructions. Then, you’ll take your trays home and begin to wear them, returning for a follow-up appointment every 4 to 6 weeks, to have your progress assessed and to get new impressions done, so your next set of trays can be ordered.
With Invisalign, you will get personal attention throughout your treatment to make sure that everything goes the way it is supposed to. When dealing with the human body, often unexpected things happen during treatment, and you want a professional to be there for you when that happens. Dr. Dennis will do a thorough diagnosis, oversee each step of your treatment, and be available to answer questions, and modify your treatment plan as you go, if that proves necessary.
Find Out if This Is Right for You
If you aren’t ready to commit to an examination but just have some questions about the procedure and to know if this would be right for you, Dr. Dennis will be happy to give you a complimentary consultation. Just call, or fill out our appointment request form, and ask for the complimentary consultation.