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What Are Mail Order Orthodontics and Why Do They Fall Short?
It’s understandable that people want to get their teeth straightened to look good on pictures and to show off to their friends. It’s not a new concept, because thousands of people from all walks of life want the same thing. A set of straight, healthy teeth is a great thing to wish for.
However, in recent years, a new concept has arisen on how one can achieve a set of straight teeth. It’s a do it yourself orthodontics experience. Instead of spending the money to have an orthodontic specialist evaluate the teeth and create a mold for aligners or place braces on their teeth, they order products in the mail or online. The person can avoid going into an orthodontist office and get teeth straightening treatments right in the comfort of their own home.
The how to make your own braces concept is appealing to anyone who wants to save money. Some of these products can be half the cost that orthodontic offices might charge for the same item. In other cases, the mail order option draws people in because of the fear they have of dentists and orthodontists. It becomes appealing to those who want to avoid seeing an orthodontist in person for fear of being poked and prodded or, even judged for the care they take with their teeth.
The questions that come up with this type of practice are:
- What is mail order orthodontics?
- How exactly do they work?
- Are they really beneficial in the long run?
What Are Mail Order Orthodontics?
Mail order orthodontics are orthodontic products that people order through the mail or online to use at home. They will send a do-it-yourself orthodontics kit, of sorts. The person purchasing the aligners needs to follow the required steps in order to receive the end product. These do it yourself kits will enable you to make an impression of your teeth to send to their offices.
Basically, they’re selling aligners to use in place of braces so you get the benefit of straightened teeth without dealing with metal in your mouth. Orthodontists offer Invisalign, a product which is clear, that works much like braces do. Orthodontists make the dental impressions for forming the aligners that straighten teeth. But, due to the cost, most people feel they can’t afford them, so they search for cheaper options like this.
How Exactly Do the Work?
It depends on the service they use. Typically, they will receive a kit, at a cost, to make a 3D impression of their teeth. You would then send the impression to a designated dentist, working for the mail order service, to evaluate and decide whether the person meets the requirements for the aligners or not. Sometimes, they may ask you to take photos of your teeth. If you pass the evaluation, they send in the molds to a factory to create your aligners, based on the dentist’s recommendations. They then ship the aligners to your home.
Depending on the service, you may receive a few different aligners with instructions to wear one set for a specified amount of time. Then move to the second set and so on. Each aligner will shift your teeth at intervals so they’ll be straightened, little by little, by the time you’re done with the treatments. Wearing them, the required amount of time each day, for a couple of weeks, should straighten your teeth and give you a healthy-looking smile. Sounds great, but is it really?
Are They Beneficial in the Long Run?
This is a tough question to answer. A dentist or orthodontist does not generally supervise the process of straightening teeth with the do-it-yourself braces. If you have concerns or questions, representatives trained to answer them, usually field those calls. A dental specialist evaluates in the beginning, but there’s no face-to-face contact. These specialists don’t evaluate for periodontal disease or any other dental issues that should be addressed before using one of these aligners. They can only examine the impression you send in, and the photos they asked you to take. Their dental specialists may spot some issues this way, but underlying problems can’t surface without a physical in-person evaluation. Some specialists, at these types of companies, claim they can evaluate some conditions, using this method. They also say they require recent visits with your local orthodontist or dentist for overall dental examinations before their treatment takes place.
One of the advantages of this kind of service is the low cost. Most of these mail order type companies charge around $2,000 and up, depending on how much straightening you need for your situation. To use an in-office orthodontist, you could pay more than double that amount. However, with customer reviews that say these products caused damage to their teeth, they will have to pay more money to fix the issues. In the long run, they could end up paying three times more than the cost of the mail-order item. So, the question remains whether this how to make your own braces type of businesses offer beneficial aligners or not.
The American Association of Orthodontics cautions using them and offers questions to consider when researching one of these opportunities for the do-it-yourself braces. Orthodontists alike, can’t stress enough how important it is for consistent supervision when using an aligner to shift and straighten teeth. This way, specialists make adjustments when needed to avoid any irreversible damage that could take place. They can also quickly spot any other dental issues you may have and get them taken care of before they cause problems later on.
To get the straighter teeth you want, it stands to reason, that seeing a specialist in person throughout the whole process will help you avoid unnecessary repair work those products may cause. McDermott Orthodontics offers a professional service and they’ve been doing it since the year 2000. They take great care to make sure your visit is in a calm environment to help ease any anxiety you may have about being in an orthodontic office.
If cost is a concern for you, Dr. McDermott’s orthodontic office works with many dental insurance plans. They also have flexible financing options to work with just about any budget. Plus, they offer a free consultation to meet with Dr. McDermott and find out what options there are for your situation. Call and schedule an appointment with them today and get professional results for the straighter, healthier teeth you desire.
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Dr. Michael McDermott earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Chemistry and Biology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. He followed his undergraduate degrees with a doctorate in dental surgery at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated with highest distinction.
Dr. Mike then furthered his dental education by earning a masters and certificate in Orthodontics at the University of St. Louis in Missouri.