You may have seen advertisements for direct-to-you orthodontics for straightening your teeth. These companies entice you with great savings for orthodontic work. They make it seem easy, not to mention considerably more affordable, to buy your plastic aligners directly from the lab. Unfortunately, you may save money in the short run, but the trouble that may be awaiting you later may end up costing you hundreds of dollars.
Choosing the Correct Method for Getting Your Teeth in Alignment
Depending on the circumstances that need to be corrected, your dentist will make a recommendation on the type of system that will be best for straightening your teeth. There are several types of treatment available. Traditional metal braces are the most commonly recognized.
Metal brackets are adhered to the teeth and wires are threaded through slots on the brackets. The wires stay connected to the brackets by tiny rubber bands. The constant force on the teeth causes them to move slowly into the proper position. The pressure is gentle and just enough to get the teeth to move.
Plastic aligners are often used for realignment of anterior teeth. People prefer this type of orthodontic treatment because you can remove the aligners for brushing and flossing your teeth. There are no special tools needed to maintain oral hygiene.
The aligners are clear and almost invisible. This is another advantage that people appreciate; it is not obvious that you are getting your teeth straightened. Also, since there are no wires and brackets, you will have fewer trips to the dentist for repairs and adjustments.
Plastic aligners like Invisalign® are perfect for straightening teeth when the teeth that need to be straightened meet certain requirements. Not all cases of misaligned teeth will fit the model for using plastic aligners.
In general, plastic aligners are used for mild to moderate misalignment cases. They are also usually only used to move anterior teeth and those directly in your smile line. If there is misalignment with back teeth that needs to be corrected, your dentist will most likely advise you to get traditional braces.
Just because you have crooked or misaligned teeth, does not necessarily mean you are a good candidate for clear aligners. This is why it is imperative that your dentist or orthodontist do a thorough evaluation of your teeth, gums and supporting structure.
When you choose to go through a direct-to-consumer orthodontic company, you miss this valuable part of the treatment. Some individuals may have problems with their teeth that cannot easily be corrected with treatment such as Invisalign.
Evaluation and Pre-Treatment
Before your dentist recommends a treatment option for straightening your teeth, you will need to undergo an evaluation. Many factors are considered when determining the best way to straighten the teeth. In addition to deciding the best treatment option, your dentist will need to do a thorough examination so other dental issues can be identified and corrected before the orthodontic process begins.
Pre-treatment includes a thorough cleaning of the teeth and other dental procedures that may be required. Any teeth that need to extracted or repaired will be taken care of at this time. This is also the time that the dentist will address any periodontal problems.
X-rays may need to be taken to check bone density and identify any problems below the gumline that could affect the treatment process. Some individuals require spacers be put in before the orthodontic treatment begins.
If your dentist determines that you have severe overcrowding of the teeth, you may not be a good candidate for systems such as Invisalign. Traditional metal braces are most likely to be most effective and provide the desired results.
Clear aligners are good for many situations, but not all problems with misalignment are solved with them. For example, teeth that need to be raised to match the height of other teeth are not going to yield the results needed if plastic aligners are used. Large gaps and rotated teeth are best treated with traditional braces. Some dental work such as dental bridges are not conducive to treatment with clear aligners.
When you choose to use a direct-to-consumer company for your orthodontic treatment, these issues may not be taken into account. Ordering your clear aligners through the internet without proper dental supervision is taking a risk that could prove to be quite costly in the long run.
The Easy Way vs. the Right Way
Direct-to-consumer companies make it seem easy to get your teeth straightened with their products. Besides being easy, it is also cost effective. By skipping the oversight of a qualified dentist, you can save hundreds of dollars, or so they would have you believe.
Without proper evaluation and treatment of dental issues before the orthodontic treatment begins, you could actually be setting yourself up for a painful and expensive outcome on the back end. Many of these companies do not have a dentist on site and their products are not checked by one. Consequently, the outcome you are expecting may not be the one you get.
Good orthodontic care is provided by a trained professional in the field of dentistry. Experienced orthodontists are qualified to treat all levels of orthodontic need. Your dentist is a highly trained professional who can determine what level of orthodontic care is required in order to produce the desired results. Without proper dental supervision, serious problems can develop by using direct-to-consumer aligners.
The Risks You Take
Direct-to-consumer companies are reluctant to share the many stories of patients who did not have successful treatment using their services. Some patients have returned to their dentist with bigger problems after treatment with mail order aligners than they had to begin with.
Minor problems such as cut or sore gums due to poorly fitting aligners are just the tip of the iceberg. Some patients have complained about not being able to chew properly while others developed an inability to close their mouth. Some patients have had teeth fall out due to this type of treatment.
You are given a form at the beginning of treatment letting you know that the problems you may encounter while wearing these aligners are not the responsibility of the company but rather your own responsibility. If the aligners do not work, there is not much you can do.
One of the enticements mail order aligner companies offer is faster treatment. While this may sound good, consider that you are moving teeth through bone and soft tissue. If the teeth move too fast, the process can cause damage to the bone and gums. The teeth being moved need to move to the right position, otherwise additional damage could occur and the teeth may have additional wearing down of the enamel. Also, if the teeth are not moved correctly, your bite can be thrown off. When teeth are moved too fast, they can also migrate back to their original position faster.
Even though it may be cliché to say you get what you pay for, the truth is, in the case of DIY orthodontics, saving money up front may cost you dearly later on. Your dental professionals have the training and expertise to ensure that you get optimal treatment for optimal results.
At Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry of Atlanta, we are committed to helping our patients attain their best smile. Call us today and schedule your appointment with us.