SmileDirect and other ‘Do it at home’ teeth straightening treatments can be riskier than you think. Comparison between Invisalign and entirely online based systems.
‘’ For the past few months the number of orthodontic relapse cases, I have been treating, has been rapidly growing. I find this quite concerning. Just a year ago orthodontic relapse was not a treatment I performed so regularly. My way of informing patients is during the comprehensive 1-1 consultation with each patient. However, it has reached a point where I feel as a doctor I should express my opinion and allow more people to make the right choice’’- Dr Sheraz Aleem
We did a comparison of the process from start to finish. Find out what are the critical differences between Invisalign and other at clinic treatments compared to online based systems. The points below include what our patients with relapses have shared with us and our own findings.
NO CONSULTATION VS IN PERSON CONSULTATION WITH AN EXPERIENCED DENTIST. WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
The entirely ‘’do it at home’’ treatments that do not provide at clinic assessment could be risky simply because you do not have a qualified and experienced dentist at the very start and throughout the process. The first consultation is crucial; you don’t get this with online treatment. During a clinical assessment, your teeth and gum health are assessed including taking critical x-rays. If there is an underlying problem and you start an online-based treatment, can you imagine the complications that it can lead to? For instance, what if you have an infection, sitting quietly without your knowledge and you start treatment. What if after a few months of wearing aligners you have to stop your treatment because the infection urgently needs treating. A full assessment will examine gum problems or other potential bone issues, hidden decay, or anything that will compromise your treatment. Aligners should never be placed before a thorough examination and before any issues are solved.
Have you ever wondered if simply aligners are not the best solution for you, what if it is braces?
In many cases fixed braces is a better and faster solution than clear aligners. That is why the consultation is incremental to provide you with a treatment plan specific to your case.
TAKING YOUR IMPRESSIONS MIGHT NOT IMPRESS YOU LATER
The impressions stage is fundamental to commence on the process and achieve the desired results. Impressions taken at home sound rather inaccurate and in most cases are. If that happens the whole teeth straightening process can be compromised. You might end up with poorly fitting aligners, swollen gums and even bleeding gums. In our dental practice, a real dentist takes highly innovative 3d technology impressions to ensure accuracy and therefore a precise treatment process.
YOU MIGHT BE GETTING EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE PAYING FOR
This is probably the harshest statement we can make but it is often the reality. If something costs less than what dentists do, then certainly there is a reason why. In the end it may cost more.
BITTER BITE-A REAL HEADACHE
If a patient has an underbite or an overbite; these are important factors to consider. How do you make sure with an automated system that this is considered? As a patient you might have an idea what your bite is, but you do not have to be able to know it perfectly in clinical terms. This is another reason why your dentist plays a crucial role. What’s more concerning is that a bad bite can cause headaches, migraines and tmj problems that need addressing at the very start.
YOU’VE GOT A DELIVERY! IT MIGHT NOT BE WHAT YOU WISHED…AND WELL, PAID FOR!
COMPLEX CASES SHOULD BE LEFT TO THE DENTIST:
Most online platforms treat less complicated cases or we shall hope so! However, how would that be ensured if you have never actually seen a dentist? In reality, you can respond to an online questionnaire the way you want. How do you know if you are a complex case, it might not look like one.
SHIFTING TOO MUCH AND YOUR FILLINGS COME OUT:
Yes, it happens. Back to consultation and in-person dental visits. Your dentist will see your filling, assess the quality of it and therefore plan your treatment plan so you don’t end up with a falling filling right in the middle of your treatment.
BLACK TRIANGLE & GAPS NOT CLOSING:
Many patients suffer from a gap in their front teeth and they might be unaware that there is a solution. Often ’do it at home treatment’ cannot provide a solution or simply not provide you with the best solution. A patient might require a completely different orthodontic treatment or even so another treatment.
COSTLY MONEY-SAVING DECISION:
If a patient ends up with orthodontic relapse, this simply turns into a costly journey. A very costly one! A patient would need to start a new treatment. It might be a lot more complicated and it might take longer. That is why we offer: 0% Finance and in-house payment plans. Apart from providing you with all-inclusive dental care, strict monitoring we have flexible options that patients are not as used to seeing in a physical location compared to an online company. Just check and ask, any teeth straightening treatment is a serious decision and a life-changing one for the better. Do your research first.
SPEEDY START OR NOT REALLY?
Did you know that you can start your treatment quite quickly with your dentist? You do not have to wait for a whole month to get your kit, as it happens it takes surprisingly long to start an online based treatment.
FAST RESULTS, NOT SO FAST:
Some patients choose online ‘do it at home’ options because it promises super quick results. How would you react if you knew that you can possibly get the treatment done properly and quicker with a real dentist? Many cases actually can be completed quicker simply because your dentist knows this best. But speed should never be the key factor, it is about preserving healthy teeth and achieving a straight smile.
WEARING ALIGNERS DURING THE NIGHT ONLY
Wearing your aligners overnight slows down the straightening process. We firmly believe this will not deliver results as expected since the aligner treatment relies upon wearing the aligners for a min.of 20-22 hrs per day. If you are really looking for speedy results, well wear your aligners more, enjoy straight teeth sooner.
NO VISITS TO THE DENTIST
Yes, that is something we will never promise, you do need to see us because we need to ensure every step is monitored, you are looked after and you are fully aware of what’s going on. Besides, Invisalign does not require many at clinic visits. How many times do you go food shopping? A few, we shall guess. A few visits to the dentist are not such a hassle and in our clinic they do not cost extra. And even if you are abroad and you need a piece of advice, we can still video call you. What you get is your real dentist who has been following you case from the very start speaking to you.
1 MONTH RESPONSE VS VISITING THE DENTIST
At a dental practice you have real humans who track and monitor the process, invite you in for a fitting and discuss anything each step of the way. Would you rather wait long to get a response or pop in at your dentist and get things sorted?
In our dental clinic, you get one year of free reviews, follow up calls and appointments to review your case. Do you get that with the do it at home systems? Definitely check.
IS YOUR RETAINER THE RIGHT ONE?
Critical factor. You have just completed your treatment and you should get a fixed and a removable retainer with in person fitting and instructions of wearing. If you do not get the right retainer, you might end up with, you guessed it- an orthodontic relapse.
Having a guarantee included which assures compensation if something goes wrong is important for patients. Does your online retailer offer any of that? Many of the gone wrong cases we treated complained that they had no compensation given. Make sure you check.
Remember, you are not a number, you are a patient!
Some shocking findings after our own research
FREE ONLINE ASSESSMENT,REALLY? Well, no dentist or a treatment coordinator will charge you for similar if not more detailed phone or email discussion. The online questionnaire is actually one size fits all, not a real human being, like your treatment coordinator. The other difference is that over the phone we will not call you a perfect candidate.
One of our team members filled the brief questionnaire online. Btw she has 2 dental implants and crowns and within seconds she instantly received an email confirming that she is a perfect candidate. Any dentist will tell you it is not that straight forward to prescribe someone a treatment. Plus our team member does not need teeth straightening at all. Can you believe that?
BAD REVIEWS. BE AWARE
Be careful before you get into a marketing bubble that promises more than it can potentially deliver. The reviews are self-explaining with repetitive issues reported by patients. If many people complain about the same issues such: slow responses, slow delivery of aligners, to poorly fitting ones and the most unpleasant ones: teeth completely messed up and people needing re-treatment. That should ring an alarming bell.
Many of experienced dentists across the globe have expressed the same concerns and we are glad to see that dental professionals go the extra mile again to help patients understand their options better.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS:
We understand completely that for many patients it is a dream goal to straighten their teeth. Suffering from confidence issues, bullying at school, hiding your smile is extremely unpleasant. Everyone deserves to enjoy a straight smile. Evaluate your options to understand what is the best solution for you. At clinic treatments such as: Invisalign and Braces can be affordable, quicker and certainly more secure. Though never focus just on speed. Rushing through decisions and treatment may cause re-treatments. The products that your dentist and entirely online based systems offer are different. They are delivered in a completely different way with one major difference: The at clinic option you have critical assessment at start and a real dentist throughout, hence why choosing your dentist will continue being the sensible choice. Your dentist is experienced in the field and has years of education, when you weigh up this against entirely online based systems, would you be really ready to compromise and risk? We have shared what the process and options are in our clinic and we hope we have helped answer some of the most important questions.