4 Benefits You Won’t Get With Mail-Order Aligners

Over the last several years, we’ve all gotten used to the idea that we can order just about anything and have it delivered directly to our front door within a few days. As convenient as this is, there are some drawbacks. This is something we’ve seen even in the world of orthodontics, thanks to at-home aligner treatments! 

Ads for these companies have exploded recently, with slick marketing campaigns that promote “self-treatment” in the form of mail-order aligners. This can be a compelling option to anyone on a budget who’s looking to straighten their smile from home. But remember—if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and that’s certainly the case here!  

Many experienced orthodontists like Dr. Leavitt have encouraged patients to steer clear of these companies. There’s a good reason for that! There are many questions surrounding the safety and efficiency of at-home aligners. One thing we know for sure, however, is that an established practice like Whitewater Orthodontic Studio can provide patients with safe and effective treatment options, including Invisalign clear aligners

Let’s examine some of the advantages of choosing an orthodontic practice over mail-order aligners!    

What are mail-order aligners? 

Companies offering clear aligners through the mail are basically a form of “online” orthodontics. Instead of visiting an orthodontic office for an exam, each step of the treatment process will typically be handled via their website. It begins by applying to the company of your choice. Once this has been 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. One of their technicians or dentists will then use that mold to create a series of clear aligners for you. These are designed to gradually move your teeth into the desired positions.  

Like standard treatment, the straightening process can take several months to complete. Progress is monitored using photos of your mouth that you provide at regular intervals. While this may seem straightforward, anyone considering these companies should give it a great deal of thought before signing on. There are a number of risks associated with this kind of care, and plenty of concerns about the lasting impact it may have on a patient’s oral health4 Benefits You Won't Get With Mail-Order Aligners

Benefit #1: Personalized care from start to finish

One of the biggest selling points for mail-order aligners is that no in-office orthodontic visits are necessary. But this could also be viewed as one of the biggest red flags! These companies don’t require any dental or orthodontic visits before beginning treatment. You’re not likely to see one during the treatment process, either. Why does this matter? 

Moving teeth is a pretty big deal. In fact, it impacts your entire mouth. Even in relatively mild cases, treatment affects the gums, bones, and roots of the teeth. An orthodontist should be consulted both before and during the treatment process to produce safe movement of the teeth and the best results.

Your first visit with Whitewater Orthodontic Studio will include digital photographs of your teeth and a discussion of your concerns. If you’re on the fence about traditional braces, Dr. Leavitt will be able to let you know if clear aligners are a good fit 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 careful approach ensures a custom fit that’s comfortable and effective. You’ll also be scheduled for regular follow-up visits with Dr. Leavitt. These will generally be every 6-8 weeks and allow him to track your progress and ensure your teeth are moving in a healthy way. He’ll also be able to make any adjustments to the treatment plan as needed. 

Once treatment is complete, you’ll be provided with a retainer to keep your newly straightened teeth in place. In contrast to mail-order companies, you’ll be supported by our team from your first appointment to your last—and beyond.

Benefit #2: Personalized treatment plan

Most at-home treatments will use computer systems to predict the movements your teeth will need to make. We use computers at our practice, too, so you may wonder why this even matters. It’s because teeth don’t always get the memo about following computer-predicted movements! 

When mail-order companies create all of a patient’s aligners simultaneously, it can be an issue if their movements end up falling outside the predicted ones. This may lead to ill-fitting aligners, which can cause discomfort, pain, and subpar results. When there’s no orthodontist overseeing the process, patients often miss the signs of poorly fitted aligners until it’s too late. We’ve had some patients come to us with crossbites, misalignments, and other serious dental issues after using these products. 

Dr. Leavitt builds personalized treatment plans for every patient he sees. These are created based on their specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. When combined with careful monitoring, this approach produces the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. 

Benefit #3: Customized treatment options for your smile

We love clear aligners, and believe they can be an excellent option for many patients. But the truth is, they won’t be a good fit for everyone. For example, patients with especially severe or complex cases may 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.

Metal Braces 

Traditional metal braces are usually what people picture when they think of orthodontics. However, today’s braces look nothing like their predecessors! The brackets are much smaller and no longer wrap around the entire tooth. Thinner archwires are used to move the teeth with more comfort and speed. You can even put a pop of personality into your treatment journey by choosing fun colors for your elastic bands! Metal braces are usually the most economical treatment option and ideal for patients with more serious or complex cases. 

Clear Braces

Clear braces are the same shape and size as metal braces but use clear or tooth-colored brackets to blend in better with your natural smile. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored elastics, they provide a very subtle way to straighten your teeth! While the ceramic brackets are durable, they are more prone to breakage than metal brackets. For this reason, we tend to recommend them for our teen and adult patients. Clear braces can be an excellent option for adults who want the benefits of traditional metal braces without the visibility! 

Invisalign clear aligner system

Instead of brackets and wires, Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth. These are made from a special thermoplastic resin and customized to fit over your teeth firmly but comfortably. Because they’re removable, they provide adult patients with a bit more freedom and flexibility than braces, and allow you to brush, floss, and eat as you normally would. When worn as directed, Invisalign can be just as effective as braces at treating many of the most common orthodontic issues. 

Benefit #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 that old saying about assumptions…!

A patient’s teeth and gums should always be in good condition before attempting any type of tooth movement. Having patients provide their own images and impressions means that cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues can be missed or worsen over time.

When you have regular visits with an orthodontist, your oral health will be monitored. That means treatment can be adjusted if it becomes necessary! With an expert like Dr. Leavitt at the helm of your orthodontic journey, you’ll have access to trusted support, guidance, and supervision throughout the process. That’s something mail-order companies simply can’t offer, leaving clients more or less on their own. 4 Benefits You Won't Get With Mail-Order Aligners

Trust your smile to the best with care from Whitewater Orthodontic Studio

If you’re interested in improving your smile, we recommend consulting with an orthodontist first. We offer potential patients a complimentary consultation to determine if treatment is necessary! 

You can also expect a personalized treatment plan built around your unique needs and expert guidance every step of the way. You won’t find that kind of individualized care from a company offering mail-order aligners!

If you’d like more information on how our expert team can safely transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with our Parkland, Yelm, or Lacey office.