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Lately, everyone has been bombarded with ads for DIY aligners, but the real question is, do they really work? These various aligner companies are all promising to give the same results as you would with traditional treatment at an orthodontic practice and visiting your orthodontist every month. It sounds like a great idea, a faster way to achieve your perfect smile, yet this may only work on patients that need very minimal work done. Although, most people that are looking for an orthodontist need work on their bite, possibly a referral for extractions and how could mail-in aligner companies ever get an x-ray on their patients? 

Your local orthodontist

I am sure you have heard the saying your body is a temple. Well, this so-called temple is a complex machine and there are many complex things inside in order for it to function properly. Mail-order aligners are made by software algorithms and supposedly predict everything that could happen in your mouth along the course of your treatment. However, you won’t have a specialist to coach you throughout your treatments, keep track of your progress, and collectively work towards your final results.

Evaluating Your Bite, Profile, or Gums

Of course, it may be possible that mail-order aligners can be effective in closing a gap or straightening some teeth, they are ineffective in correcting, “the bite”. These companies even make you sign a waiver to make sure their manufacturer isn’t sued for making your bite worse. Not to mention, direct-to-consumer aligners do not address the health of your teeth and gums after tooth alignment.

Different Treatment Options

Your local orthodontists have all the tools necessary to give you that perfect smile you’ve always wanted. After a discussion with your doctor, they will either recommend braces, expansion, tooth removal, jaw surgery, or even clear aligners. However, if you trust your treatment to an online aligner company, that is the only service they can offer you, even if it isn’t the right treatment for your personal goals.

In-Office Treatment Supervision

Orthodontic treatment is a dynamic, ever-changing process. It starts with an in-person doctor evaluating your progress and modifying your treatment plan to address the changes he or she observes. If you are wearing braces, your orthodontist can alter your treatment by moving brackets, changing wires, or adding rubber bands. If your doctor is straightening your teeth using clear aligners, he or she will adjust your tooth movement by performing “refinements” (additional aligners). While some mail-order companies may provide refinements, the number of trays they provide may be limited and the process will be over if they do not see results and you need braces.

Retention of the Result

Getting straight teeth is only half the battle. The other half is keeping them straight. In-person orthodontists use many different types of retainers. They provide the best retainers for you, based upon your initial malocclusion and then closely monitor their effectiveness after your treatment ends. Direct-to-consumer aligner companies cannot offer anywhere near the level of care that an orthodontist gives in the retention phase of treatment. 

At the end of the day, while mail-order aligners may claim to be faster, cheaper, and more convenient than traditional orthodontic treatment, there are significant differences in the treatment that takes place and the results it yields. You only have one smile. Shouldn’t you trust that smile to your local orthodontist?