Clear aligner therapy has emerged as a popular choice for those seeking a discreet, modern alternative to traditional braces. However, the rise of direct-to-consumer providers like SmileDirectClub has sparked a debate about the safest and most effective way to straighten teeth. The recent bankruptcy of SmileDirectClub has raised even more questions of the viability of getting orthodontic treatment from these direct-to-consumer options. There are three major issues with these teledentistry aligner therapy options: approval criteria, dental complications, and accountability. As a result, the vast majority of dental professionals will say that in-person treatment with solutions like Invisalign®, offered in our dental office near Leominster, are the gold standard.
Approval for Treatment
One of the critical talking points in the clear aligner industry is the screening process for treatment eligibility. Our dental office near Leominster provide a comprehensive examination, including X-rays and in-person assessments, to ensure that the patient is a suitable candidate for Invisalign aligner therapy. In contrast, direct-to-consumer providers often rely on self-administered impression kits or an few photos and an intraoral scan to evaluate a patient’s eligibility.
There have been numerous news stories highlighting instances where individuals were approved for clear aligner therapy by direct-to-consumer companies, despite having dental conditions that should have disqualified them or necessitated professional intervention. This lack of rigorous screening can lead to ineffective treatment or, worse, exacerbate existing dental issues.
Dental Aligner Complications
The allure of convenience and cost savings with direct-to-consumer aligner providers has undoubtedly attracted many. However, a disturbing number of reports have surfaced, detailing severe dental complications resulting from these treatments. Patients have reported issues ranging from mild discomfort to more severe problems, including incorrect tooth movement, bite misalignment, and even tooth loss. These stories underscore the importance of in-person professional oversight during orthodontic treatment, as dental professionals are trained to anticipate, identify, and address issues before they become serious.
The Fall of SmileDirectClub
The recent bankruptcy of SmileDirectClub has brought the concerns surrounding direct-to-consumer clear aligner therapy into sharp focus. The company’s sudden inability to continue operations left many customers in limbo, midway through their treatment plans, and facing uncertainty about their investment and treatment outcome. This situation has highlighted a significant risk associated with direct-to-consumer medical treatments: the lack of accountability and recourse for patients when things don’t go as promised.
When going to a local Invisalign provider, like our dentists near Leominster, you know exactly who is accountable. Additionally, patients have likely already developed a relationship with their dentist and trust that the dentists will take good care of them in order to maintain the relationship.
Choosing Your Path to a Perfect Smile
While the convenience and initial cost savings of direct-to-consumer clear aligner providers may be appealing, the stories and concerns highlighted above emphasize the importance of having a local Invisalign dentist perform the aligner therapy. Getting clear aligner therapy in a dental office ensures:
- Comprehensive Evaluation: Dentists perform a thorough assessment of your oral health to ensure you’re a suitable candidate for aligners.
- Ongoing Supervision: Regular check-ups with a dental professional ensure that the treatment is progressing as planned and allows for timely interventions if issues arise.
- Accountability and Support: Dental offices provide a level of accountability and patient support that is inherently lacking in a direct-to-consumer model.
- Brand Reputation: Invisalign has a reputation for reliability that they have built over decades with things like proprietary aligner materials that have been developed for optimal results.
If you live near Leominster and are considering between Invisalign or a direct-to-consumer option we urge you to at least come in for an Invisalign consultation with the Invisalign provider at Sterling Dental Group. When you are ready to make a decision you will make it from a place of being fully informed.