More and more people are going online to make their purchases, whether for their clothing, groceries, devices, pet food, and other products. Some are also turning to direct-to-consumer companies for their medical products such as contacts, glasses, and yes, even orthodontics.
If you are considering using a direct-to-consumer orthodontic company such as SmileDirectClub, Smilelove, and Orthly, to name a few, we encourage you to do some research and perhaps even talk to an orthodontist. Why? Because orthodontics is a medical service, not a product – and one that should be properly supervised by a licensed professional in order to avoid future complications or issues.
According to the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists), “Orthodontic treatment involves the movement of biological material, which if not done correctly could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues.” So if you need treatment, why trust your oral health to someone who views a selfie of your teeth or only reviews an impression or scan, then sends it off to have clear aligners made and mailed to you? Orthodontics affects your overall health and is too important to trust without a proper in-person evaluation with a licensed orthodontist.
Some Questions to Consider Recommended by the AAO:
If you’re looking at direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies, here are some questions the AAO suggests you ask before making a decision.
- Are comprehensive diagnostic records taken before your treatment including x-rays, a clinical exam, photographs of your face, profile, mouth, and teeth, as well as digital scans or other impressions of your teeth? If not, are you comfortable having treatment without them?
- Does your treatment and fee include any in-person visits to a dentist’s or licensed orthodontist’s office? If not, are you okay receiving treatment without any in-person visits to a dentist or orthodontist?
- If your treatment does include a visit with a dentist or orthodontist, do you know their name and credentials, what state they are licensed in and practices in, and what their reputation is through testimonials and reviews? If not, are you comfortable receiving treatment from someone you know nothing about?
- Do they offer only one type of treatment (e.g. invisible aligners)? Everyone’s teeth are different so how do you know if that treatment is right for your unique needs?
- Are your teeth and gums healthy enough for orthodontic treatment? Who makes that decision and determines your treatment? If it is a dentist or orthodontist not associated with your treatment, who is responsible for paying for the evaluation?
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These are just a few questions recommended by the AAO – there are plenty more including the possible risks and issues that may arise with your treatment, ease of communications with the company, emergencies, injuries, legal rights, and compliance laws. Do your due diligence, then make an informed decision about using a direct-to-consumer orthodontic company.