Achieving a perfect smile can take time and money, things that many people claim they don’t have. These growing demands of instant gratification and convenience have given rise to mail-order orthodontics as a solution for those in search of straighter teeth and a more appealing smile.
Mail-order orthodontics typically include an impression kit or a digital scan of someone’s teeth that is sent to a company that then creates aligners. Depending on the company, these aligners are made by computer-generated algorithms based on the pictures or impressions provided by the consumer.
However, unlike a one-size-fits-all pair of jeans, orthodontic treatments and corrections vary from patient to patient. While mail-order orthodontics can work well for those who need only a very slight correction, it can also backfire for those with more complex oral issues, which is why it’s always a good idea to seek a professional before completing an at-home treatment.
Dr. Nicole Mullally, an orthodontist at Studio32 Orthodontics in Gainesville, Florida, stresses the importance for patients to seek a professional who can oversee the treatment or correction of their teeth.
“Every treatment plan is tailored differently for that patient, based on their needs, demands and their own biology,” Mullally said. “To have a computer generate a treatment plan may be a good starting point, but then you need the doctor who knows the patient, can look at all the variables and then program the specific movements needed.”
Crowding, excessive spacing, missing teeth, severe rotations and any bite issues are all instances where mail-order aligners are not enough to correct and may even worsen a patient’s oral problem.
Orthodontic treatment requires close supervision to ensure the teeth move as planned and the supporting bone and gum tissue remain healthy.
“I am always monitoring my patients’ progress, oral health and bite changes. With close supervision we are able to alter our treatment as needed to ensure the final smile is beautiful, comfortable AND healthy,” Mullally said.
When it comes to consulting professionals such as those at Studio32 Orthodontics, a common misconception is the price. Many people associate orthodontic treatments with multiple sessions and one large fee, which is why many people have turned to the convenience and low cost of mail-order orthodontics.
“What they don’t realize is that we have a variety of fees, everything from a three-month treatment to a three-year treatment, and the price is going to change dramatically according to what you need,” Mullally said.
Although mail-order orthodontics advertise quick, low-cost treatments, these treatments do not come with the same quality care a patient would receive at an orthodontist office, especially if something goes wrong.
“From first call to revealing the final smile, we work hand in hand with our patients to deliver a superior experience and excellent results – a level of customer service that cannot come from a box,” Mullally said.