At-home aligner treatments are everywhere these days, with ads all over TV and social media promoting “self-treatment” in the form of mail-order aligners. We’ve all spent a lot of time at home over the last couple of years, so this option can be tempting if you’re looking to straighten your smile without leaving the house! However, many questions are surrounding the safety and efficiency of this approach to orthodontics. Our offices in Kentucky and Tennessee also have many advantages you won’t get with mail-order aligners.
There’s a reason that orthodontists, dentists, and other dental professionals have been encouraging patients to steer clear of these companies. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Wiesemann will be able to provide you with a safe and rewarding experience from start to finish; something mail-order treatment can’t promise. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between the two!
What are mail-order aligners? How do they work?
The companies that offer clear aligners through the mail could be described as a form of “online orthodontics.” Instead of visiting an orthodontic office for an exam, every treatment process step is handled via their website. An application is submitted to the company of your choice; once it’s approved, you can either visit one of their local shops or have a kit sent to your home to make a 3-D mold of your teeth. A technician or dentist will then use that mold to create a series of clear aligners that will slowly move your teeth into the desired positions.
As with in-office treatment, this process can take several weeks to many months to complete. During this time, your progress will be monitored using photos of your mouth that you provide at regular intervals. This may seem relatively straightforward, but anyone considering these companies should proceed with caution. There are several risks and concerns associated with this kind of care, and some of them can have a lasting impact on your oral health. Here are some benefits of choosing a respected orthodontic practice like Wiesemann Orthodontics over mail-order companies!
Personalized care from start to finish
One of the most significant selling points for mail-order aligners is that no visits to a physical orthodontic office are necessary. But this is also one of the most critical disadvantages! You’re not required to visit an orthodontist before beginning treatment with these companies, and you probably won’t see one during treatment, either.
Moving your teeth into more optimal positions will impact your entire mouth. Even in mild cases, straightening your smile will affect your gums, bones, and the roots of your teeth. An orthodontist like Dr. Wiesemann is trained to ensure all of these are healthy throughout the treatment process to produce safe movement of the teeth.
At Wiesemann Orthodontics, your first visit will include digital photographs of your teeth and a discussion with Dr. Wiesemann about any specific areas of concern. If you prefer an alternative to traditional braces, we offer Invisalign clear aligners at our practice. We’ll be able to let you know during this appointment if you’re a good fit for this system!
If you decide to move forward with Invisalign treatment, we’ll begin by taking a set of digital photos and X-rays to create a 3D image of your mouth. We’ll make your first set of aligners from these images, guaranteeing a perfect fit that’s comfortable and effective. You’ll be scheduled for regular follow-up visits with us at the office location that is the most convenient for you throughout the treatment process so we can track your progress and ensure your teeth are moving healthily.
Once treatment is complete, we’ll give you a retainer to keep your newly straightened teeth in place. Unlike with mail-order aligner companies, you’ll be supported by our expert team from start to finish!
Customized treatment plans
Most at-home treatments use computer systems to predict the movements your teeth will need to make to achieve a straighter smile. You may be wondering why this is an issue since we use computers for a wide variety of complex tasks every day, but teeth don’t always follow those computer-predicted movements! Because mail-order companies create all of a patient’s aligners simultaneously, it can be difficult if their movements fall outside the predicted ones. This can lead to ill-fitting aligners that may cause discomfort, pain, and subpar results.
With no orthodontist involved in overseeing the process, you’re likely to miss the signs of this until it’s too late. After using mail-order aligners, we’ve seen patients develop crossbites, misalignments, and other serious dental issues. These patients also report frequent headaches, aches, neck and jaw muscles, and difficulty chewing. Some even have nerve damage or broken teeth from poorly fitted aligners!
Individualized treatment options for your unique smile
While clear aligners can be an excellent option for many patients, they aren’t suitable for everyone. For example, patients with especially severe or complex cases may require more precise tooth control than a removable orthodontic appliance can provide. A different treatment method like traditional or clear braces may be a better option for these patients. Wiesemann Orthodontics offers the following affordable treatment options.
Traditional metal braces
Traditional metal braces are an orthodontic staple and with good reason! This is one of our most efficient treatments at Wiesemann Orthodontics, particularly for more complicated cases. Modern braces use high-quality stainless steel, but innovations in the design mean they’re much more comfortable than previous versions. The total treatment time also tends to be shorter than it used to be.
Ceramic braces function similarly to traditional braces but use ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. For an almost invisible treatment option, these clear brackets can be used with elastics or ties that are also clear, white, or tooth-colored! Ceramic braces can be an excellent choice for image-conscious patients. Still, they are more delicate than metal braces, so Dr. Wiesemann generally only recommends them for older teens and adults.
Invisalign clear aligner therapy
The Invisalign system consists of removable aligners customized to fit comfortably over the teeth. These clear aligners gently move the teeth into the desired positions like braces. This is accomplished by wearing them 20-22 hours per day throughout treatment. Each aligner will need to be replaced for the next set every 1-2 weeks.
Regular visits with a qualified and experienced orthodontist
Your teeth and gums should be in good condition before attempting tooth movement. Mail-order companies assume their aligner clients will make good dental hygiene choices, have regular check-ups with a dentist, and be proactive with their oral health. However, these assumptions are not guaranteed. Having patients provide their images and impressions means that cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues can be missed or worsen over time.
One of the benefits of regular visits with an orthodontist is that your oral health will be monitored, and treatment can be adjusted if and when it becomes necessary! When you trust your smile to an orthodontic expert like Dr. Wiesemann, you’ll have access to support, guidance, and supervision throughout the treatment process. This is something mail-order companies can’t provide, leaving patients more or less on their own during the treatment process.
Trust your smile to the experts at Wiesemann Orthodontics
Anyone interested in straightening their smile would benefit from consulting with an orthodontist before making any decisions or beginning treatment. We offer a free consultation to determine if treatment is necessary, and if so, which option would be best for your needs. Our customized treatment plans are built around your unique smile, lifestyle, and goals. You won’t find that level of personalized care with a company offering mail-order aligners!
If you’d like more information on how our expert team can safely and effectively transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our offices in Bowling Green or Russellville, Kentucky or Portland or White House, Tennessee. We can’t wait to help you get your dream smile!