Bronx, NY– We all love the ease technology has brought into our lives. We can order just about anything we want at the touch of a button, and often-times have it delivered almost as quickly. But, sometimes, just because something can be delivered to you in the comfort of your home doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.
In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of at-home aligner companies. A simple Google search brings up several names of companies offering the ease of orthodontic treatment without ever having to leave your house. Are these companies able to deliver on these promises? Dr. Catherine Woo compares and contrasts at-home aligner kits with in-person orthodontic treatment.
Let’s take a look at some of the promises these companies who deliver at-home treatment make. These companies are appealing for several reasons:
- Treatment in the comfort of your home – no need to visit an orthodontist at any point so you don’t have to worry about fitting appointments into your already busy life.
- Less expensive treatment –manufacturers often tout these as being more affordable than regular treatment. One company even claims their treatment is 60% less than braces.
- Faster treatment times – some companies claim their treatment times are 3x faster than traditional treatment with the average time in treatment being 4-6 months.
Treatment in the comfort of your own home
Treatment at home sounds appealing for many reasons. We all lead busy lives, and trying to fit one more appointment in can seem daunting. So, who wouldn’t like the idea of orthodontic treatment delivered to your door? But let’s unpack that a bit to understand what you’ll be getting versus what you would get by seeing an orthodontist in person.
At-home aligner companies create your aligners based on images and impressions you take yourself. In an orthodontic office, your orthodontic team will use high-tech 3D imaging to take the most accurate pictures of your mouth. X-rays are taken at your consultation. These give your orthodontist a complete picture of what is happening in your mouth, including below the surface. The orthodontist can catch any issues that could impede your treatment, including issues decay or gum disease that might alter your results. An orthodontist can spot these issues and recommend you visit your dentist to correct them before beginning treatment.
You’ll be without in-person follow-up visits during your treatment. Some companies have patients send in photos of their progress during their treatment. But these images alone may not be enough to tell if the treatment is working. By visiting an actual orthodontist throughout your treatment, you’ll be able to know for sure that your treatment is progressing as it should. Everybody reacts differently to treatment. Sometimes treatment doesn’t go as planned. If this happens while you’re seeing an actual orthodontist, he or she can make the necessary adjustments to get your treatment back on track.
Less expensive treatment
Cheaper treatment is an appealing idea for many people. Orthodontic treatment can seem expensive at first glance, but it’s an investment in your oral health and self-confidence. But when you hear an ad that suggests at-home treatment may be 60% less than braces, your ears may perk up.
This can be deceiving, however. These less expensive cases may be very minor cases that traditional treatment may be much less than for a patient with a more severe malocclusion. The cost of treatment always depends on several factors, including how severe your issue is. Fees are calculated on treatment time, so treatments that take less time will naturally be less expensive than more extensive cases.
Faster treatment times
Again, this statement is often misleading. Faster treatment times can almost always be achieved with more minor cases no matter the treatment. But it’s important to remember that faster isn’t always better. Orthodontics is a science and an art and involves much more than simply moving the teeth to look straighter. Your orthodontist has to ensure the bite is correct and functioning ideally. This is achieved through careful treatment planning.
When it comes to grand claims, such as cheaper or faster treatment, it’s always best to investigate further. These claims are often misleading and don’t represent the majority of cases treated.
Your smile is an important part of who you are. And orthodontic treatment should be considered an investment that comes with research and careful consideration of how to best achieve your desired results. While at-home aligner kits may be appealing, can they deliver on all of the promises they make?
The only sure way to guarantee the smile you want is by seeing a board-certified orthodontist who will be with you every step of the way. Dr. Woo and her team at Riverdale Family Orthodontics are here for you, today, tomorrow, and in the future. Call Riverdale Family Orthodontics today at 718-884-7700 to schedule your complimentary consultation.