Mail Order Orthodontics
You may have seen television advertisements for "do it yourself orthodontics" using a series of Invisalign-like clear retainers.
The company sends you materials to take molds of your mouth and they ultimately send you the aligners. This treatment is all done without an orthodontist or dentist examining you. The company pitch is that it is a lot less expensive and their results are just as good.
When I initially saw the ad, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Orthodontics is a complex treatment that requires years of study and experience to master. The ad tries to get the consumer to believe that cases done through the mail turn out great and are simple to do.
Think for a minute what orthodontic treatment involves: growth and development concepts, timing issues, dealing with potential treatment complications, jaw joint (TMJ) implications, jaw pathway guidance for chewing and speaking – just to list a few concerns. Also keep in mind that many orthodontic cases shouldn’t be treated with Invisalign-type appliances.
I recently had a new patient come to my office with pain and bite issues. I learned in our conversation that she was currently using this type of treatment. I immediately advised her to discontinue the aligners and referred her to a board certified orthodontist for proper treatment. Fortunately, the patient presented to our practice before any long term, irreversible damage had been done.
Dentistry and its associated specialties require proper training, skill and experience. Get your treatment from a professional with whom you establish a relationship, not through the mail!