Direct mail order braces or mail order clear dental aligner kits are comprised of a series of plastic aligners (similar to Invisalign®) which are shipped directly to your home after you provide photos and teeth impressions that you take yourself. Buyers sign an agreement stating that they have visited their dentist and had x-rays taken, but no x-rays need to be provided and no x-ray images are examined by anyone affiliated with these companies. A “remote licensed dental professional” works with the lab to create aligners which are shipped to you to straighten your teeth “without in-office visits” or supervision of tooth movement.
The cost is appealing, less than half the price of Invisalign® clear aligners, but you do not have the access to orthodontic expertise or any in-person follow-up to ensure that your treatment is progressing as it should.
How Safe and Effective are Direct Mail Dental Aligner Kits?
Direct mail dental aligner kits can theoretically straighten teeth in simple cases. The problem is that, without evaluation, you do not know if your dental case is simple. Without supervision by a trained, certified orthodontist, and with no x-rays examined, important issues can easily be overlooked, such as:
- Bite relationship (Are teeth colliding, getting loose, or misaligned?)
- Gum and jaw joint health
- Pre-existing dental problems (periodontal disease or unhealthy teeth)
A remote dental professional looking at pictures over the internet is no substitute for an in-person thorough evaluation. In-office visits may seem inconvenient at times, but they are a necessary part of orthodontic treatment, not only as a precaution, but also for:
- Monitoring progress
- Making critical adjustments
- Correcting unforeseen problems
Even mild dental alignment problems involve more than just taking impressions of teeth and making a fitted device. There is great value in a patient seeing an orthodontist face-to-face. During orthodontic evaluation, the entire oral cavity is examined to ensure that there are no potential problems. Dental x-rays are taken because there are some conditions that cannot be detected without one.
Even in an optimal scenario, in patients with healthy teeth and gums with no extenuating medical concerns, braces often need to be adjusted. The teeth do not always move exactly as predicted, or aligners do not fit just right. Having an orthodontist monitor the progress of your treatment, and who you can visit personally should a problem arise, is an important part of ensuring a successful outcome and continued dental health.
Our goal at the RxSmile Frisco orthodontics office with Dr Greg Greenberg is to provide highly personalized and comprehensive orthodontic care for our families in the Frisco-Plano metropolitan area. If you have questions about braces and would like to make an appointment with our orthodontist, Dr. Greg Greenberg, please call 972 335 1300 Monday through Thursday, or submit an online appointment request and we will respond within one business day.