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In today’s day and age, you can order almost anything online, from makeup samples and razors to eyeglasses and dog treats. And, while retailers haven’t yet discovered a way to ship a dental cleaning right to your door, it is possible to straighten your teeth remotely with brands like SmileDirectClub. But is the convenience and low cost of online aligners worth the risks? Our South Park dentist weighs in below.

What is SmileDirectClub?

SmileDirectClub was introduced in 2014 as an alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment options. Essentially, it is a mail-order system that ships clear aligners directly to patients each month, allowing them to straighten their teeth without in-person visits with a dentist or orthodontist. The brand’s dentists conduct progress checks remotely, by examining “selfie” photos. These “shortcuts” make the entire process cost much less, merely a fraction of traditional straightening methods like braces or Invisalign.  

Disadvantages of Online Tooth Straightening

Despite the benefits, many dental and orthodontic professionals are warning against mail-order orthodontic systems as more and more patients come in with poor results from spending months in the aligners. Below are some things to know before you fill out the application for one of these services.

  • Communication is infrequent and impersonal.Remote tele-dentistry assigns you a dentist or orthodontist who checks on your progress every 90 days through your customer account. You are placing your trust entirely in the company to vet your dentist for their skill and experience.
  • Details can be overlooked. The reason these services can be priced so cheaply is because the dentist is doing less work. But a lack of hands-on treatment is really not a good thing when it comes to your teeth. Your dentist evaluates far more than your teeth’s appearance when you come in for a check-up; details like the surface texture, bite pressure, and even your breath can indicate that something is wrong. Proper dental diagnosing is much more complex than simply looking at a photo.
  • You might make an error in the initial impression. If you can’t come to a “Smile Direct Shop” and get a 3D scan in person, you will have to take an impression of your teeth at home. At a dentist’s office, only a licensed, experienced dental hygienist performs this task, resulting in more accurate impressions. If you make a mistake with your impressions, your aligners will not straighten your teeth correctly.
  • Your dentist can “troubleshoot” your treatment in real time. Your local dentist likely knows your complete medical and dental history, and can take that into account when planning and evaluating your treatment. Your dentist can also track your progress in person, and alter the course of your treatment if necessary.

Bottom Line: For the Best Results, Visit Our South Park Dentist

Most dentists agree that online aligner services such as SmileDirectClub are simply not worth the risk. Although getting Invisalign or braces at a local dentist office may cost a bit more, it is priced this way because you are receiving accurate, thorough, personalized care. There are a lot of smart ways to save money in this day and age, but in our opinion, mail-order dentistry is not one of them!

If you would like to schedule a dental cleaning or Invisalign consultation in South Park, click here to contact our South Park dentist office.

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