Clear Aligners: Orthodontist vs Direct-to-Consumer Company

Oct 23, 2021

Extremely popular among patients (particularly adults), clear aligners allow patients to enjoy a discreet smile transformation. However, with popularity growing, there has also been a rise in direct-to-consumer clear aligners that arrive through the mail. While they may seem like a great option at first (a cheap “treatment” that doesn’t require appointments), a deeper dive reveals more significant differences between the aligners from your orthodontist and the ones that come through the mail.

The product

Aligners from direct-to-consumer companies and aligners from our office may look similar at first glance. However, there are critical differences. Our aligners are meticulously custom printed to fit your smile—while remaining slim, discreet, and non-bulky. In comparison, direct to consumer aligners tend to be thicker and bulkier.

Aligners at our office also make use of tools, like attachments. These include “bumps” that are carefully attached to specific teeth—depending on your smile needs. They ensure that the aligners sit correctly in your mouth by helping them grip your teeth. Without attachments, aligners may slip, making tooth movement less precise. Since attachments must be placed in person, direct-to-consumer aligners do not use these important materials.

The service

Typically, direct-to-consumer companies recommend their treatment to those with mild issues, such as slightly crooked teeth. While they can successfully help the person with a very slight orthodontic issue, without checkups from a professional orthodontist, it is impossible to fully assess the severity of the misalignment. Crooked teeth often indicate deeper bite issues, which may not be addressed.

Our experts use X-rays and other advanced imaging to accurately assess, diagnose, and treat your smile. We also assess your oral health to identify cavities or gum disease, which could worsen or become complicated with aligners. An orthodontist will always confirm that you are healthy enough for aligners before beginning your care. Depending on your needs, your plan may include a variety of appliances. These include braces, aligners, or temporary anchorage devices, as well as tools like aligner attachments for an effective, healthy treatment. Throughout treatment, checkups help our experts keep your smile on track and allow our team to make changes to your plan if necessary.

The health of your smile is critical to the health of your overall body, and it is critical to care for it in an attentive and informed approach.