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Three Reasons to Avoid Mail-Order Aligners

At West Family Orthodontics, we know that braces and clear aligners are basically considered an essential part of growing up for kids and teens, and the popularity of orthodontic treatment for adults is becoming more and more common. People want beautiful smiles that make them feel confident, and they want them quickly! Recently, mail-order aligners have become all the rage. Mail-order aligners are delivered right into your mailbox, so you never even have to leave your house or step foot into an orthodontist’s office. While this may seem extremely convenient, it is actually dangerous and may do more harm than good in the long term.

Orthodontic treatment, whether with braces or aligners, involves moving bones, and should therefore be monitored with professional x-rays, orthodontic equipment and a trained professional that can properly review your moving bones. Mailing in a mold of your teeth, receiving aligners at your home, and never visiting an orthodontist is like breaking your arm, receiving a cast in the mail and never visiting a doctor. You can’t expect professional treatment if you never see the professional.

The American Association of Orthodontists shared results from their survey concluding that the majority of their member orthodontists have seen patients come into their office for retreatment after receiving mail-order aligners. The recent survey showed that 61% of the member orthodontists’ participants see new retreatment patients at least quarterly.

“It sounds almost too good to be true: the convenience of orthodontic treatment without ever having to leave your home or see an orthodontist or dentist in person,” said Dr. Ken Dillehay, DDS, MS, President of the AAO. “Far too many patients are finding out what the scientific evidence makes clear: that undergoing orthodontic treatment without first being examined in-person by an orthodontist or dentist can lead to irreversible harm.”

Dr. West and her team work hard for all of their patients to have a safe and healthy orthodontic journey, and we don’t believe the mail-order orthodontic treatments provide that. Before you consider mail-order orthodontic treatments, read these Three Reasons to Avoid mail-order Aligners. 

  • You Never See an Orthodontist in Person

Mail-order orthodontic treatments advertise their ability to straighten and fix cosmetic issues with teeth. They do not advertise the fact that moving teeth is also a medical procedure. Some issues can be corrected by impressions, but visiting an orthodontist in person allows them to gather a comprehensive picture of your smile and to create a unique treatment plan for you.

Just like Dr. West does, orthodontists create unique treatment plans for each patient and then monitor and adjust that treatment as needed. Without professional supervision, it becomes very easy to move through aligners too quickly, causing damage to your teeth and gums. “The AAO states that the only way to effectively evaluate a patient for orthodontic treatment is in-person: through a physical examination, x-rays and periodontal assessment.”  Visiting an orthodontist before beginning treatment and visiting them regularly throughout your treatment are both vital to the health and aesthetic of your smile. 

  • Aligners Don’t Work for Everyone

When orthodontists decide on the specific treatment plan for their patients, they determine if clear aligners or braces will better correct the orthodontic issues. Some cases require braces and cannot be corrected with clear aligners. Several more extreme overbite and underbite issues require more treatment than clear aligners can provide.

Sending a mold of your teeth into mail-order companies cannot properly determine if aligners will work for you or not. There is a chance that these aligners will do more harm than good, especially if your orthodontic case is more extensive. If aligners are used for improper cases, it can cause “irreversible harm like loose teeth, loss of tooth roots and impairment of chewing and other oral function…” according to the American Association of Orthodontists article.

  • They May be More Expensive Than Traditional Treatment

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, several mail-order orthodontic treatment plans include paying high interest rates on treatment plans for years. Most orthodontists offer interest-free payment plans for their treatment, making the cost more affordable for patients. While mail-order treatments may sound more intriguing, they often end up being more costly.

If patients do receive mail-order treatments and end up requiring retreatment from an in-person orthodontist, then patients end up paying for treatment twice. Twice the payments and twice the treatment time.

Mail-order orthodontic treatments might work in some cases, but in most they result in more oral issues, double payments and professional retreatment.

To read more about the “AAO Highlights Health Risks of Mail-Order Orthodontics,” click this link.

Join the family and achieve your best smile with West Family Orthodontics today!

West Family Orthodontics has been proudly serving the DeWitt, East Lansing, and Grand Rapids, Michigan communities since 1999. We offer a range of adult, teen, and early orthodontic services including braces and Invisalign.