If you listen to podcasts or watch TV, then you might have encountered ads for mail-order braces. Companies like Smile Direct Club and Byte promise to send you clear aligners without any orthodontist appointments or x-rays. You can straighten your smile “on the go” and on your time.
However, some patients have had negative experiences with these mail-order dental companies, leaving others wondering if the brands are too good to be true. Here’s what you need to know about mail-order aligners.
Mail-Order Programs Aren’t Flexible
As a whole, clear aligner programs like Invisalign are as effective as you make them. The more you wear your aligners, the more time they have to move your teeth. This is why it’s more effective to wear them all day instead of just at night. However, every patient is different. Some people need more time with one set of trays or have poor experiences wearing them. If you work with a mail-order company, you won’t have a medical professional making sure your experience is positive.
Spend some time reading Better Business Bureau® reviews of Smile Direct Club. Patients complain about loose teeth, pain, and frequently breaking aligners. Without a trained orthodontist to help, many patients keep wearing these low-quality clear aligners and end up doing more harm than good.
You Might Have to Wear Them Longer
There are many risks that come with a mail-order program. One of the biggest concerns is that you may have to wear your aligners longer to get the results you want. Cheap aligners won’t be as effective in moving your teeth, which means you may have to buy additional sets and wear them longer. These aligners can also break easily, further delaying your treatment as you replace them.
Many companies also claim that you can receive aligners without getting x-rays. However, this means you are relying on their technology to fully map your smile. If the technology is off, you might even make your smile worse.
Mail-order aligners pose a risk if you are trying to straighten your teeth ahead of a significant event, like a wedding or graduation. You might not have your dream smile in time.
You Aren’t Saving Much Money
Companies like Smile Direct Club sell aligner packages for less than $2,000, which is an appealing price tag to many. However, you might not save as much as you think by working with these private companies.
You will have to pay more for additional aligners and you may need to get x-rays and other in-office treatments before the mail-order company can create your trays. Additionally, some healthcare companies do not cover mail-order aligners, which means you could end up paying out of pocket.
If you are worried about the cost of aligners, talk with an orthodontist. They can recommend affordable options and payment plans to make your clear aligners more affordable. They can also work closely with your healthcare provider to see what coverage is available.
Opt for Telehealth Appointments With an Orthodontist Instead
Many patients seek out mail-order aligners because they don’t have the time to visit an orthodontist every two weeks. It’s difficult to miss work or class that regularly. However, it’s possible to get the aligner treatment you need without the in-person experience.
Dr. Bill Layman at Straighten Up Orthodontics works with patients to provide virtual consultations and appointments. He can create a plan for your Invisalign and meet with you over a video call. By working with an experienced orthodontist, you will have the peace of mind that any issues will be immediately addressed. Dr. Layman will also pay close attention to your progress and adjust your program as needed. You can enjoy the benefits of an in-office orthodontist while also getting the mail-order aligner experience. It’s the best of both worlds.
If you want straighter teeth but worry about the promises made by mail-order aligner companies, contact Dr. Layman to schedule a free exam. You can set up a virtual appointment to go over your needs and to create a plan to improve your smile.