In recent years, the world of orthodontics has seen a revolution with the emergence of online teeth straightening aligners. They promise convenience, affordability, and faster alternatives to traditional braces and other forms of clear aligners, however, what they don’t tell you are the risks you are undertaking by essentially taking your oral health into your own hands.
The cost of Invisalign can understandably deter individuals from gaining the smile of their dreams, but their trusted use by so many orthodontists worldwide is what makes them so popular and reliable. So, let’s take a look at what these online aligners promise to do, the risks involved, and some solutions to help you gain the smile of your dreams without damaging your oral health.
What Are Online Teeth Straightening Aligners?
Online teeth straightening aligners are an Invisalign alternative that is cheaper and requires almost no outside intervention from a dentist or orthodontist. They promote a fuss-free approach including a ‘do it yourself kit’ at home to make impressions of your teeth, which is then sent off to create your treatment plan.
They promote a list of “conveniences” including no in-person contact with an orthodontist but it’s not difficult to see why it is undoubtedly important for orthodontists to check your teeth before you have aligners fitted. Orthodontists need to check that your teeth are suitable for this type of treatment or if you have any underlying health conditions that may render the treatment useless.
What We’re Told About Online Aligners VS. The Sometimes-Scary Truth
Online aligners are sold with a list of conveniences such as completing your treatment at home, with no time wasted travelling to and from appointments, are more affordable, and have a reduced treatment length to ensure you achieve the smile of your dreams as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they fail to let their patients know the risks they are undertaking by taking their oral health into their own hands.
Here are some of the ways these online aligners claim to help you achieve the smile of your dreams-
- The Convenience Factor.
Convenience is one of the primary selling points of online teeth straightening aligners. The process begins with an online assessment, where individuals provide photos, answer a series of questions about their oral health, and carry out an impression of their teeth with an at-home, DIY kit, which is then followed by the delivery of a customised set of aligners to their doorstep.
Truth: Lack of Professional Guidance and Advice.
While this may seem like a dream come true for those with busy schedules, it's crucial to understand that not all cases are suitable for remote treatment and some severe dental issues may require the expertise of an in-person orthodontist to ensure the best outcome.
- Creating molds for your teeth at home is incredibly difficult and can lead to ill-fitting aligners.
- Patients can also receive up to 20 trays at a time which are completely unmonitored, except for ‘online check-ins’.
- No professional adjustments are made, for example, some patients may need interproximal reduction for overcrowded teeth, which includes fine filling between teeth to make room for movement. If the space isn’t made, then the teeth can end up moving further out of alignment.
- Misdiagnosis is increased due to a lack of orthodontic involvement.
- Affordability and Accessibility.
Online aligner companies often market their services as a more affordable alternative to traditional orthodontic treatments. The absence of in-person visits and the elimination of office overheads contribute to reduced costs, however, it's essential to consider that some cases may not be suitable for remote treatment, and the perceived savings may come at the expense of personalised care and professional oversight.
Truth: Risk of Complications.
- Traditional braces and other forms of clear aligners are checked and adjusted regularly by an orthodontist who monitors progress and makes necessary adjustments. Online aligners rely on the individual's knowledge and adherence to a predetermined treatment plan. Without the supervision of a professional, there is a risk of complications, including slower progress, misalignments, or even damage to the teeth and gums.
- Orthodontic treatment is a long-term investment and if your case requires more than just a simple adjustment, online aligners may fall short. A failure to address all necessary adjustments can result in relapse, where your teeth gradually revert to their original positions.
- There are no safeguards in place to ensure that you will be satisfied with the result, leaving you out of pocket and still in the same position or in some cases, worse off.
- Effectiveness and Limitations.
Online aligners can be effective for mild to moderate cases of misalignment, making them a viable option for many individuals, however, it's crucial to acknowledge their limitations and the fact that, by taking your orthodontics into your own hands, you are taking your oral health into your own hands also.
Truth: Only Mild to Moderate Dental Issues are Treated.
Complex orthodontic issues, such as severe crowding or significant bite problems, may require more comprehensive interventions that only an in-person orthodontist can provide. Understanding the scope of online aligners and managing expectations is key to a successful treatment experience and without professional oversight, you run the risk of developing severe tooth and gum issues such as gum disease, root damage, and bite problems.
Invisalign: Our Safe and Trusted Alternative
Invisalign trays are made from medical-grade, high molecular weight, thermoplastic polymers, which were chosen due to their safety classification and a long history of FDA approvals for long-term use inside the human body. Treatment is carried out under the safety of a professionally trained orthodontist, who understands the treatment and the human, skeletal form. An orthodontist can take 3D images and X-rays of your teeth to see if you are eligible for Invisalign beforehand, and also address underlying issues that would have gone undetected had you not seen an orthodontist prior. With Invisalign and the help of a trusted orthodontist, more severe cases can be treated.
It is unclear what the online aligners are made from, although similar, Invisalign uses higher-quality materials. With online aligners, there is no way to take X-rays and 3D images of your teeth to map out your treatment plan like Invisalign. If the online aligner company claims to use this technology, it will usually be something that you will have to pay for and get X-rays carried out at your dentist, which can be pricey. Without direct supervision by an orthodontist, online aligners are only able to treat mild to moderate cases.
It may also be explained that online aligners are faster working than Invisalign but that is not entirely true. For very mild cases of misalignment, it may well be that DIY aligners can correct quickly, but as mentioned previously, it is only possible to treat mild cases and it may be a detriment to the health of teeth and gums. Without direct supervision, it is also very difficult to determine the length of treatment.
Invisalign in Oldham: We Are Your Trusted Invisalign Orthodontists in Oldham
At Oldham Orthodontics, we believe that Invisalign is one of the best forms of orthodontic treatments available today and whilst we understand it is costly to undertake this type of treatment, we offer payment plans and discounts for payment up-front, which will hopefully help you in deciding to perfect your smile under the supervision of professionals.
We are a specialist orthodontist in Oldham with a team of highly qualified orthodontists. So if you would like to talk to us about Invisalign, contact Oldham Orthodontics today and book your free consultation.