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Who is tracking your treatment? Mail-order braces exposed. Today, you can get just about anything delivered to your door. While online shopping is great for things such as buying video games and books. Where you know what to expect, it is not always the best route when you have something that must be custom-fit. After all, just buying clothes online can be a little risky. Now, just think about something like braces where they need to be perfectly created to fit the shape of your smile.
In recent years, mail-order orthodontic appliances have been gaining in popularity. And many people have decided that they would rather trade professional care for convenience. While the concept looks awesome at first glance, the truth is that there is far more involved with straightening teeth than merely popping an aligner tray into your mouth. After seeing several patients in our office who have disappointing results from trying to straighten their teeth at home, we feel compelled to make sure that anyone who is considering this type of service takes a serious look at the differences between what you receive at home versus when you come to our office.
Understand How Straightening Teeth Works
When you just look at your teeth in the mirror, you see imperfections. Such as two teeth overlapping or a huge gap between several teeth. While this perception of your smile is important, you must also know that an expert looks at your teeth in a different way. When we look at your smile, we see how the different mechanisms of your mouth all work together to create the way your teeth fit.
For instance, did you know that that little flappy piece of tissue on your top gums that is called a labial frenum can sometimes be the wrong size and pull your front teeth apart? Without treating that, you will find that any gaps that you close with Invisalign will just keep coming back. Additionally, your bite, or the way that your jaws close together, can also affect the positions of your teeth. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, then this can place tension on the ligaments that hold your teeth in place and cause them to move.
Straightening your teeth requires us to look at multiple features of your mouth that you might not even think about. We can also guarantee you that any company that advertises at home braces is not taking a full view of your mouth before sending you the devices. Unless they provide an in-person consultation.
Think About the Need for Additional Treatments
We’ve already discussed how some people need a frenectomy to correct issues that cause gaps between the front teeth. And there are more treatments that may be needed to support what the clear aligners are doing. While it is rare, some people need to have a tooth extracted. This is most common when you have an extra tooth or a baby tooth that never fell out and is causing problems in your mouth.
There are also certain situations where you may not be a candidate for treatments such as Invisalign initially. This often occurs if you have a severe issue with your bite. Or extreme gaps between your teeth that need traditional braces to correct at first. Some people are also not a candidate for clear aligner trays simply because they do not have the type of personality to remember to keep the aligners in their mouth. This is common with teenagers. Who are still developing the maturity that they need to comply with a treatment plan that relies upon them to be responsible.
Ask Who Monitors Your Progress
The absolute biggest issue with a mail-order company is the way that they conduct treatments. Sadly, you will begin your treatment with minimal supervision. And this sets the stage for months of moving your teeth around without having anyone actually check on the progress. Most of these companies start by sending you a kit that you use at home to make impressions of your mouth. While the putty and mouth trays look fun, the truth is that it takes professional knowledge to take a good impression. In fact, we take the time to redo any impression that we feel is not up to the standards required to create perfectly fitting aligner trays.
Once you send off your mail-order braces impression kit, it is then used to make your trays. Often, these are ill-fitting and require you to redo the whole process over again. Once you do finally get your trays, you have no real way to know if they are working correctly. Sure, these companies tell you that an orthodontist will monitor your progress. However, this is done infrequently, and the monitoring heavily relies upon your verbal comments about how your smile appears.
At our office, clear aligner trays do save you a few visits compared to traditional appliances. However, we do typically see you every one to two months, and we perform a complete exam. By actually looking at your mouth, teeth and bite in person, we can make expert decisions that guide the rest of your treatment. For instance, you may need to wear an aligner tray for an extra week. These types of feedback make a huge difference in the quality of the outcome of your treatment.
Seek a Professional Initial Consultation
While we cannot recommend any mail-based orthodontics company, we know that some people may still be determined to give it a try. If so, we urge you to come in to our office for an initial consultation. Where we can identify your needs and let you know if you need other types of treatments. Our orthodontist can also go over the pro’s and con’s with you for all of your options so that you can make the best decision for your treatment.
At Gluck Orthodontics, our orthodontists, Drs. Joel Gluck and Jonathan Gluck are board-certified and adhere to the highest quality standards for care. Make sure that only a qualified professional monitors your treatment by reaching out to our team today.
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2002 Richard Jones Road
Nashville, TN 37215
Phone: 615 269 5903
Mail-Order Braces Exposed (Who is Tracking Your Treatment?)
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.