Mail Order Orthodontics

Just Say No to Mail Order Orthodontics

Austin, TX – During the COVID-19 global pandemic, we’ve been advised to stay home as much as possible, only going out for necessity. This has led to us re-evaluate how we do many different things in our lives and has no doubt bolstered our online ordering habits. But one thing we shouldn’t transfer to online ordering is our orthodontic treatment.

“We’re seeing an increase in companies offering mail-order braces and aligners,” says Dr. Silvana Gonzalez, an Austin orthodontist. “While at first glance this seems both easy and safe, if we take a closer look, it may do more harm than good.”

Dr. Gonzalez offers her top reasons why patients should say not to mail order orthodontics:

  1. You will most likely never see an orthodontist in person. While this seems the safest thing while we are still in the pandemic, this is a big problem for a few reasons. The first is that orthodontists don’t just straighten teeth, they also work to correct other serious oral health concerns that may not be caught or acknowledged using a mail order company. For some patients, their issues could even worsen because underlying issues aren’t addressed during treatment. Orthodontists use highly sophisticated technology that can paint a clear picture of any issues you may be facing and help us create a clear treatment plan to address any and all issues. Using a mail order company, you will be relying on putty impressions and images that you take yourself, not the sophisticated imaging that orthodontists use. 
  2. Orthodontic treatment isn’t one size fits all. During treatment, one patients teeth may move much faster or slower than another patients, or move in ways that we didn’t anticipate. When you are seeing an orthodontist regularly for monitoring appointments, we can take this into account and make adjustments as needed. Using a mail order company removes the personalization from your treatment, and instead locks it in to whatever your original scans showed. If an issue arises that requires a change in your treatment plan, and that isn’t accounted for, serious damage to your teeth, gums and jaw could result. 
  3. Aligners may not be the ideal treatment for you. People love the ease and discrete nature of clear aligners. However, they aren’t the best option for every patient. If you have a more severe malocclusion, or require teeth to be rotated or otherwise shifted in your gumline during your treatment, aligners may not be right for you. Mail order companies may not have the expertise to tell you if you are truly an ideal candidate for aligner treatment or not. 
  4. You could have underlying issues that remain untreated. There are some issues that can’t be seen during an impression. Issues that are lurking below the gumline or problems with your jaw itself won’t be found during a basic scan or impression. But if you happen to have issues such as these, they may be left untreated and can even worsen by using a mail order kit. 
  5. The overall cost of your treatment could be more than traditional orthodontic treatment. Some patients who use mail order aligner kits find their smile has not been perfected during the course of their treatment, and some even find a worse result. If you find yourself in this boat, you may need to then seek out treatment from an orthodontist to correct the issues. 

Mail order aligners may be okay to correct a very minor issue, such as a minor crooked tooth, but it is always a risk to undergo treatment without being in the care of a well-trained and experienced orthodontist. If an issue arises during mail order aligner treatment, who do you contact and who will correct it? How can you ensure your treatment is progressing as it should? When it comes to mail order aligners there are a lot of questions you should be asking. If you want a lasting smile that is both straighter and healthier, you should always seek out the care of an orthodontist.