Clear Aligners (Should I get in the Mail?)
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In recent years, we have seen more patients coming to our office after they had a bad experience with in the mail order braces. Naturally, we can see the appeal of being able to fix your teeth at home. Especially when you or your teen has a busy schedule. However, we’ve seen enough bad experiences with direct-to-consumer braces that we feel the need to share the truth about what you can expect if you opt out of in-person orthodontic treatments.
In-Office Procedures Work Faster
Direct mail braces might get you out of regular checkups in our office. However, that also means that you miss out on using our specialized techniques that help to speed up orthodontic treatment. Even with Invisalign, you may be waiting months to see visible results in the alignment of your teeth. Fortunately, we utilize the latest advances in technology to fix that. Accelerated tooth movement is possible through techniques that we offer in our office that provide stimulation to the teeth and gums. Pulse treatments are an option that we can offer you feel a lot like you are massaging your teeth. Direct mail treatments have yet to offer anything that comes close to the speed that we can provide for correcting your smile.
The Cost is Not Much Different
Companies that sell in the mail braces often tout super low prices to get people excited about their products. While the prices may seem cheaper, the truth is that they are only able to shave off a fraction of the cost of a treatment. For instance, direct mail braces can cost several thousand dollars. Which is not much different than what you pay with other types of braces such as Invisalign. There is also the possibility that your insurance will not cover direct mail braces. Whereas your policy may cover procedures that you have done in our office. As you compare costs, you also need to remember that having to see an orthodontist after your direct mail braces go bad costs more money in the long run.
Straightening Teeth is a Medical Procedure
At first glance, the whole process may look simple. After all, clear aligners look like little more than pieces of plastic that are molded to fit your teeth. However, straightening teeth is considered to be a medical procedure since it affects the underlying structures of your mouth such as the ligaments and jawbone.
Moving teeth wrong can cause irreparable damage that includes the risk of losing those teeth in the future. For this reason, orthodontists are required to undergo extensive training after they finish dental school. They must then obtain a license to practice in their state that demonstrates that they have reached an expert level regarding the best techniques to straighten teeth.
The Dangers Are Very Real
We don’t like to scare anyone, and our goal is to always make sure that patients are comfortable in our office. However, we do need to be clear that bad orthodontic treatment can leave you in worse condition than before you started. With direct mail products, you do most of the treatment yourself. These products send a kit to your house that requires you to make an impression of your mouth. Think for a minute about that. Do you trust yourself to take the same quality impression that you would expect an expert orthodontist to make? If not, then the poor impression will then lead to poorly made aligners.
After wearing ill-fitting aligners that are not properly made to move your teeth, you could deal with serious dental trauma. For instance, moving your teeth into the wrong positions changes that way that forces are placed on your teeth when you chew. If the force hits the wrong part of your tooth, then you could be dealing with premature wear. Plus cracked teeth and chipped enamel.
Improperly fitted clear aligners also irritate the soft tissues in your mouth. Since you must wear them around the clock, it doesn’t take much for a rough aligner to begin to cause abrasions on your inner cheeks and gums. When you come to our office, we look for issues such as these so that they are corrected right away.
In the worst case scenario, you could potentially lose your teeth from bad direct mail braces. This typically happens if the aligners place pressure on your teeth in ways that cuts off the blood supply to the roots and gums. While some discomfort is normal with any type of braces, you need to contact us right away if you are wearing direct mail aligners and experiencing serious pain or discomfort that makes it impossible to function normally.
You’ll Still Need an Orthodontist
In a perfect world, clear aligners would work for everyone, and a beautiful smile would last forever. However, orthodontic treatment is never that easy. Direct mail companies are still unable to offer other options such as metal braces or palatial expanders that may be necessary for you to achieve your goals for a perfect smile. They also don’t offer retainers, which are often required to help train your teeth to stay in their positions.
A Consumer Alert Exists for in the Mail Braces
The American Association of Orthodontists is an organization that focuses on ensuring that every patient receives quality care. With the increase in people relying upon direct-to-consumer braces, the group saw a need to protect the public from the risks associated with these types of aligners. Currently, they have issued an official consumer alert. Asking patients to carefully consider all of the issues involved with using direct mail braces. For instance, receiving braces without a full examination first means that you may not be able to treat all of the oral health issues that affect your tooth alignment.
Contact us Today
With Drs. Gorton & Schmohl, they always conduct a full exam before recommending any type of treatment. If you are considering in the mail braces or just want more information, give us a call today so that we can help you make an informed decision.
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900 Larkspur Landing Circle
Suite 200 Larkspur
Clear Aligners (Should I get in the Mail?)
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.