In today’s society, we’re accustomed to convenience. We can accomplish things from home that we would never have dreamed of even ten years ago, which often comes in handy. However, there have been some drawbacks in the orthodontic industry that we can’t ignore. At-home aligner treatments continue to gain popularity, but these systems often come with more risk than reward.
Chances are good that you’ve seen the advertising for these companies in commercials or online. These clever marketing campaigns promote “self-treatment” with mail-order aligners. As you can imagine, this can be a tempting prospect for anyone on a budget who wants a straighter smile without many office visits. But that old idiom “you get what you pay for” has never been more true than with mail-order aligners.
Many dentists and orthodontists encourage people to steer clear of these companies because there are several questions about the safety and efficiency of their products. In contrast, a well-established practice like Levin Orthodontics can give you various safe and effective treatment options, including Invisalign clear aligners. Let’s take a closer look at some advantages of choosing an orthodontic practice over mail-order aligners.
What are mail-order aligners?
Companies that offer clear aligners through the mail can be viewed as a form of “online” orthodontics. Instead of visiting an orthodontic office for an exam, orthodontists will typically handle each step of the treatment process virtually. It begins by applying to the company of your choice.
Once you get approval, the company you choose will send you an impression kit to make a 3-D mold of your teeth. You’ll mail back your impressions, and one of their technicians will use them to create a series of clear aligners specifically for you. Like the clear aligners we use, these are designed to gradually move your teeth into the desired positions, which can take several months to complete.
The similarities stop there, however. When you work with an orthodontist’s office, your progress will be monitored by a qualified professional every step of the way. Mail-order companies can only check in on your progress with photos of your mouth that you provide for them at regular intervals. While this may seem straightforward, anyone considering these companies should give it a great deal of thought before signing on.
There are several risks associated with this kind of do-it-yourself care, and plenty of concerns about the lasting impact it may have on your oral health. There are also far more benefits associated with using an experienced orthodontist.
Personalized care throughout the treatment process
One of the most significant selling points for mail-order aligners is that no in-office orthodontic visits are necessary. But this is one of the biggest red flags! These companies don’t require orthodonic visits before beginning treatment, and you aren’t going to see an orthodontist during the treatment process, either.
This is a problem because moving teeth is an important process that impacts your entire mouth. Even in relatively mild cases, the treatment affects the teeth’ gums, bones, and roots. For the best results, you should consult an orthodontist before and during the treatment process to ensure your teeth are moving safely.
When you choose Levin Orthodontics, you join a legacy of personalized care and outstanding results. Your first visit with us will include the following:
- Digital photographs of your teeth.
- A discussion of your concerns.
- An oral examination.
If you’re on the fence about traditional braces, Dr. Levin will let you know if clear aligners are a good fit for your smile. If you decide to move forward with this option, we’ll begin by scanning your mouth to create a 3D image of your teeth. Dr. Levin will generate your first set of aligners from these images. This careful approach ensures a custom fit that’s comfortable and effective.
You’ll visit our Sandy Springs or Marietta office for regular follow-up visits with Dr. Levin during treatment. These are generally every 6-8 weeks and allow us to track your progress and ensure your teeth are moving as planned. Check-ups also allow us to make adjustments to the treatment plan as needed.
Once treatment is complete, Dr. Levin will provide you with retainers to keep your newly straightened teeth in place. Unlike mail-order companies, you’ll be supported by our team from your first appointment to your last—and beyond!
Personalized treatment plans
Most at-home treatments use computer systems to predict the movements of your teeth to give you a straighter smile. We use computers at our practice, too, so you may wonder why this matters, but teeth don’t always get the memo about following those computer-predicted movements!
When mail-order companies create all of your aligners simultaneously, it can be an issue if your teeth move differently than Dr. Levin’s plans. This may lead to ill-fitting aligners, which can cause discomfort, pain, and subpar results. Without an orthodontist overseeing the process, it’s easy to miss the signs of poorly fitted aligners until it’s too late. We’ve seen patients with crossbites, misalignments, and other serious dental issues after using these products, resulting in longer treatment times.
Dr. Levin has the experience to create personalized treatment plans for every patient he sees. Your treatment plan is built around your specific needs, lifestyle, and goals. When combined with careful monitoring, this approach produces the best results in the shortest time possible.
Customized treatment options for your unique smile
Clear aligners can be an excellent option for many patients, but they aren’t a good fit for everyone. For example, if you have a severe or complex case, you may require more precise tooth control than a removable appliance like aligners can provide. A different method may be a better option for these patients, like traditional or clear braces. Dr. Levin offers the following affordable treatment options for patients of all ages.
Traditional metal braces have come a long way in recent years. The brackets are much smaller and no longer wrap around the entire tooth. Thinner archwires are used to move the teeth with more comfort and speed. At Levin Orthodontics, we use self-ligating braces, so you’ll have fewer adjustments during treatment. Metal braces are usually the most economical treatment option and ideal for patients with more severe or complex cases.
Lightforce clear braces
Lightforce clear braces are the same shape and size as metal braces but use clear or tooth-colored brackets to blend in better with your natural smile. We 3D print your brackets, so they’re completely customized for your smile. Clear braces can be an excellent option for adults who want the benefits of traditional metal braces without visibility!
Instead of brackets and wires, clear aligner systems use a series of clear removable aligners to move the teeth. These are made from a special thermoplastic resin and customized to fit over your teeth firmly but comfortably. Because they’re removable, they give you more flexibility than braces—you can brush, floss, and eat as you usually would! When worn as directed, aligners can be used to treat many of the most common orthodontic issues.
InBrace hidden treatment
InBrace is a completely invisible treatment option since the unique Smartwire system is placed on the backs of your teeth. Dr. Levin will customize your InBrace Smartwire just for you to shift your teeth into the best positions in the quickest time. The system is self-ligating so there are no adjustments with InBrace, giving you a more comfortable experience from start to finish.
Regular visits with expert orthodontists
The companies behind mail-order aligners assume their clients will have healthy dental habits, schedule regular check-ups with a dentist, and be proactive with oral health. But we all know what they say about assumptions!
Your teeth and gums should always be in good condition before tooth movement. Having patients provide their images and impressions means cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues can be missed or worsen over time.
When you have regular visits with an orthodontist, Dr. Levin will monitor your oral health, and treatment can be adjusted if it becomes necessary. With an expert orthodontist like Dr. Levin guiding your orthodontic journey, you’ll have access to trusted support and supervision throughout the process. That’s something mail-order companies can’t offer!
Trust your smile to experts at Levin Orthodontics
If you’re interested in improving your smile, we recommend consulting an orthodontist first. Your first visit is always free, so you can get an accurate diagnosis before making a financial commitment. If Dr. Levin determines that braces or clear aligners are a good fit for you, we’ll create a personalized treatment plan for your unique needs with expert guidance every step. You won’t find that kind of individualized care from any company that offers mail-order aligners!
We’ve made it easier than ever to achieve a confident smile with two convenient locations in Sandy Springs and Marietta. If you’d like more information on how our expert team can safely transform your smile, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Levin.