On the surface, mail-order aligners are an appealing option for those seeking to straighten their teeth at an affordable price. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) warns against “do-it-yourself orthodontics” because of the potential for harm to patients.
In fact, in 2017 ADA House of Delegates passed a policy stressing the importance of in-office doctor-supervised orthodontic care to ensure patient safety.
When the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) surveyed its member orthodontists about patients who came to them after using mail-order aligners, about 13 percent of the members reported seeing patients with “irreparable damage” caused by do-it-yourself aligners.
How Do Mail-Order Aligners Differ from Invisalign?
Mail-order aligners may resemble Invisalign, as they both appear clear, but the similarity ends there. Invisalign works with professional, licensed dentists, and supplies proprietary materials that deliver the highest quality product. Their patented technology enables Invisalign to keep their shape, which is essential for the best outcome.
Invisalign owns patents on the materials and technology used to manufacture their aligners, forcing manufacturers of other mail-order aligners to use generic clear plastics, which may not maintain their shape.
Potential Harm from Mail-order Aligners
Before using aligners, it is vital to know if your teeth, gums, tongue, and connective tissues are healthy enough to support orthodontic treatment. When a qualified orthodontist knows your medical history, performs an in-person exam, and takes X-Rays, they can design the safest and most effective treatment plan to achieve your goals.
If you use aligners without the oversight of a professional, licensed orthodontist there is an increased risk of one or more of the following.
- Incorrect bite alignment
- Serious infection
- Tooth extractions that should not have been necessary
- Worsening of an undetected condition like tooth decay, abscess, or other issue
Aside from the potential risks, you want the process to work. If you use mail-order aligners manufactured from a material that can warp or otherwise lose its shape, they may not deliver the desired result.
Mail-order Aligners May Not be Cheaper
It is important to note that, besides the potential risks, mail-order aligners are not necessarily cheaper than the aligners recommended by your orthodontist. You may end up paying undisclosed costs for x-rays, diagnostic tests or records, new trays, retainers or more. And, if your mail-order aligners damage your teeth or gums, you may suffer serious harm or costly repairs.
Angeloni Orthodontics and Invisalign – A Great Partnership
Using the latest technology, including 3-D scans and digital mapping, Dr. Angeloni creates a custom Invisalign treatment plan for each patient. Once the doctor fits you with your first set of Invisalign trays, you will only need to visit the office about every 12 weeks. During these visits, Dr. Angeloni will check your progress, take new scans if needed, and let you know when it is time for your next batch of Invisalign trays. The doctor can perform some routine checkups virtually.
Angeloni Orthodontics is a proud member of the beautiful Winter Park community! Our office prides itself on nurturing close, personal relationships with our patients while providing services–like Invisalign–to create stunning smiles. Make an appointment with Dr. Angeloni today!