If there’s one thing a pandemic taught us, it’s that we can have almost anything ordered and delivered directly to our door in just a few days. While there’s no denying how convenient this is, it’s come with some unexpected drawbacks, too. We’ve seen examples of this even in the world of orthodontics, with the most notable being at-home aligners.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen ads for these companies explode over the last couple of years. Their marketing campaigns seem to be everywhere, promoting straighter teeth through mail-order aligners. If you’re hoping to improve your smile, being able to do it on a budget from home is a compelling idea. If it seems too good to be true, though, it probably is.
That’s definitely the case with at-home aligner treatments! Many orthodontic specialists like Dr. Gleason are encouraging would-be patients to steer clear of these companies, and with good reason. There are a lot of unknowns surrounding the safety and overall efficiency of mail-order aligners. There’s one thing that’s certain, however—choosing a trusted practice like Gleason Orthodontics will provide you with a safe and successful smile journey.
Our expert team is able to help you achieve this using state-of-the-art technology and a variety of affordable treatment options, including clear aligners. Let’s look at some of the other advantages of choosing an orthodontic practice like ours over mail-order aligners!
What are mail-order aligners, anyway?
The companies that offer clear aligners through the mail could be considered a form of “online” orthodontics. This is because most of the steps are handled via their website instead of in person at an orthodontic office. You begin by applying to the company of your choice. Once your application has been approved, you’ll be invited to visit one of their local shops or have a kit sent to your home to make a 3-D mold of your teeth. One of their technicians or dentists will then use that mold to create a series of clear aligners for you. These are designed to move your teeth into more optimal positions gradually.
As with any orthodontic treatment, this straightening process can take many months. Your progress will be monitored by the company using photos of your mouth that you provide at regular intervals. This all seems pretty straightforward, but you should give at-home treatment a great deal of thought before signing on. There are a number of concerns about the lasting impact this kind of care may have on a patient’s long-term oral health.
Advantage #1: Customized care throughout your orthodontic journey
One of the biggest selling points for mail-order aligners is that, for the most part, in-office visits aren’t necessary. In reality, this should also be viewed as one of the biggest red flags associated with the system! These companies don’t require any dental or orthodontic visits before beginning treatment, and they’re not encouraged during the treatment process, either. Some may see this as a benefit of at-home treatment, but it’s actually less than ideal.
Why? Well, moving teeth is nothing to sneeze at. Even in mild cases, the treatment affects the gums, bones, and roots of the teeth. Your whole mouth is involved in the process! For this reason, an orthodontist should be consulted both before and during the treatment process. This will help ensure safe movement of the teeth and the best results.
When you schedule a complimentary consultation with our Webster office, your visit will include a discussion with Dr. Gleason about your concerns. If you’re not sure traditional braces are a good fit for you, he’ll assess whether or not clear aligners could work for your smile. If you decide to move forward with this option, we’ll begin by taking a set of digital photos and x-rays to create a 3D image of your mouth. Your first set of aligners will be generated from these images.
This customized approach ensures a comfortable fit that’s highly effective! You’ll also be scheduled for regular follow-up visits with Dr. Gleason every 6-8 weeks or so. He’ll use these appointments to track your progress and make any necessary adjustments. Once treatment is complete, you’ll be provided with a retainer to keep your newly straightened teeth in place. Unlike the companies that offer mail-order aligners, you’ll be supported by our experienced team from your first appointment to your last!
Advantage #2: A personalized treatment plan for your specific needs
Most mail-order aligner companies use computer systems to predict the movements your teeth will need to make during treatment. We use computers, too, so you may wonder what the big deal is. It basically boils down to the fact that teeth don’t always follow the computer-predicted movements we anticipate!
This can be an issue for companies that simultaneously create all of a patient’s aligners. If their movements fall outside the predicted ones at any point during treatment, it can result in ill-fitting aligners that cause discomfort, pain, and subpar results. With no orthodontist overseeing the process, the signs of poorly fitted aligners are often missed until it’s too late. We’ve seen crossbites, misalignments, and other serious dental issues in patients who have used these products.
Dr. Gleason builds personalized treatment plans for every patient he sees. When you trust our team with your smile, we’ll take your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals into account. When combined with careful monitoring, this approach produces the best results in the shortest amount of time possible, time and time again.
Advantage #3: The best treatment option for your unique smile
We’re big fans of clear aligner systems like Spark® and our in-house brand Clear Confidence! We believe these can be an excellent option for many patients, but they won’t be a good fit for everyone. Some patients have severe or complex cases that require more precise tooth control than a removable appliance like aligners can provide. A different method like traditional or clear braces may be a better option for these patients. Our practice offers the following affordable treatment options.
Traditional metal braces
Traditional metal braces are an orthodontic staple for a reason! This is one of our most efficient treatments, particularly for more severe or 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.
These function in much the same way traditional braces do but use ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. For an almost invisible treatment option, the 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, but since they’re more delicate than metal braces, we tend to recommend them to our older teen and adult patients only.
Gleason Orthodontics offers clear aligners from Spark® as well as our Clear Confidence in-house brand! These exciting systems use a series of removable aligners to gently move the teeth into the desired positions. These offer patients extra comfort and flexibility with no food restrictions and a simple oral hygiene routine! When worn as directed by an orthodontist, clear aligners can be just as effective as braces at treating many of the most common orthodontic issues.
Advantage #4: Regular visits with an expert orthodontist
The companies behind mail-order aligners assume their clients will have healthy dental habits, schedule regular check-ups with a dentist, and be proactive with their oral health. But you know what they say about assumptions, right?
Your teeth and gums should always be in good condition before attempting any tooth movement. Companies that have patients provide their own images and impressions can miss cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues that may worsen over time. Your oral health will be monitored with regular orthodontic visits, though, which means treatment can be adjusted if it becomes necessary! When you have an expert like Dr. Gleason guiding your journey, you’ll have access to trusted support and supervision throughout the process. That’s something mail-order companies just can’t offer.
Trust your smile to the best with Gleason Orthodontics
If you’re interested in improving your oral health with clear aligners, we recommend consulting with an orthodontist first. We’re proud to offer potential patients a complimentary consultation to determine if treatment is necessary! Want more information on how we can safely transform your smile? Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our welcoming Webster office!