The Benefits Of An Orthodontist Vs. Direct-To-Consumer Aligners

Dr. Glass December 31, 2020

If you’ve been anywhere near a TV, computer, or smartphone recently, chances are you’ve seen an ad for clear aligners you can have sent straight to your home. Here at Glass Orthodontics, we’ve certainly noticed an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies promising patients an alternative way to straighten their teeth. It’s easy to see why this would be tempting to anyone looking to improve their smile—after all, who doesn’t love a good deal? And aren’t we doing most things from our couch this year?—but most dental and orthodontic professionals are advising patients to steer clear of these aligners. Why? Keep reading as we take a look at the benefits of an orthodontist vs. direct-to-consumer aligners.

Invisalign vs. DTC aligners

When it comes to aligners, Invisalign is where it all started. This innovative system uses a series of customized removable aligners to move a patient’s teeth over time, and continues to be our most popular alternative to traditional braces. Most direct-to-consumer aligner companies have based their own products on the unique design Invisalign pioneered, but don’t let yourself be fooled! While they seem to be essentially the same thing, there are several key differences in how the treatment process actually works for each one. 

What does treatment look like with a trained orthodontist?

Every orthodontic journey should begin with an initial consultation, which Glass Orthodontics offers at no charge. This visit typically includes an oral examination and a discussion about any areas of concern that are found. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Glass spends many years learning how to identify and treat common orthodontic issues and will be able to determine if your smile is a good fit for Invisalign! 

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 generate your first set of aligners from these images, ensuring a custom fit that’s both comfortable and effective. You’ll be scheduled for regular follow-up visits throughout the treatment process so we can ensure everything is proceeding according to your treatment plan.

Once treatment is complete, you’ll be given a retainer to help keep your straightened teeth in place. Our team is committed to providing you with expert support you can trust from your first appointment to the moment we unveil your beautiful new smile—and beyond!  

How does this differ from DTC aligner companies?

When you choose aligners from a direct-to-consumer company, the treatment process is very different. The biggest issue is that there is no expert guidance involved. You won’t receive an oral exam or have any digital images taken before deciding on a treatment plan. The company will ask you for some basic healthcare information, but you’ll be expected to take your own tooth impressions and send them back in. Since most patients aren’t trained in taking orthodontic impressions, this isn’t ideal and can easily lead to inaccurate molds.

Dental health can also be an issue. The teeth and gums should always be in good condition before attempting any type of tooth movement. When you have a patient providing their own images and impressions, cavities, gum disease, and other dental problems can be missed or worsen over time. This can lengthen treatment times and end in less than optimal results. 

Clear aligners are not recommended for everyone. If you have especially complex or severe orthodontic needs, they may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide. In cases like this, traditional braces may be a better option. Without the guidance of a trained orthodontist, you may be signing up for a “one size fits all” approach to straightening smiles which can’t guarantee the results you desire. 

What are the benefits of working with a trained orthodontist?

Working with an orthodontist like Dr. Glass means you’ll have access to guidance, supervision, and expert care throughout the treatment process. This is something DTC aligner companies just aren’t able to provide to patients! Unfortunately, this leaves you more or less on your own which can open you up to a whole host of unforeseen issues. 

Look at ill-fitting aligners, for example. When they don’t fit well, aligners can cause irritation and pain and may be less effective. If this isn’t corrected, it can damage your bite over time and could even impact your oral health. DTC aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile from home, but when you add up all the potential risks, they may not be worth it. 

Give your smile the best chance for success with Glass Orthodontics

You only get one smile, and it’s too important to trust anything less than an expert!  When you choose Glass Orthodontics for your orthodontic needs, you’ll receive a customized treatment plan that’s built around your own unique smile, preferences, and goals. Dr. Glass will only recommend the best treatment method for your smile, whether it’s Invisalign aligners or more traditional braces. This level of skill and supervision simply isn’t possible with a generic DTC company! 

Furthermore, many orthodontic practices offer pricing that is comparable to DTC aligner companies. Glass Orthodontics is proud to provide a variety of affordable treatment options and payment plans to fit every budget, so you can get the orthodontic care you need and achieve the smile you deserve! If you’d like to learn more about how we can  safely and effectively transform your teeth, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Glass.