Are mail order aligners the same thing as Invisalign? The short answer is “no”. We chose Invisalign because they have the best record. Invisalign aligners are made from SmartTrack® material, an advanced technology that ensures optimal results and ensures that our prediction stays consistent with your shifting teeth.
Both The American Dental Association as well as The American Association of Orthodontists advise against using mail-order companies. These associations issued statements reminding patients and providers that realigning teeth is a medical procedure and needs to be closely supervised by a qualified medical professional. Improper treatment can result in side effects such as the loss of teeth and other dental complications. Over 2,600 customers have already filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau for situations such as these.
Due to their seemingly inexpensive price tag and social media campaigns, mail-order aligners have become more popular. Before agreeing to these aligners, patients should understand how these aligners can cause more harm than good.
When it comes to shifting teeth, you will need scans and x-rays to examine your smile before beginning your procedure. When getting your treatment done in office, these scans and examinations are included in your plan. With mail order aligners, you are not examined by a dentist at any point in your procedure. They may ask you to send x-rays, which are not covered by the cost of the treatment. Or, even more concerning, they may not ask for x-rays at all.
Mail order aligners work by mailing the company impressions of your teeth. These impressions would typically be taken by a skilled and experienced dentist. Most recently they are done through a 3D laser scanner. Having patients take the molds themselves at home could create faulty molds which then leads to faulty aligners. This could lead to future damage of the teeth and jaw.
Before beginning treatment on a patient, a dentist must do a thorough examination to confirm their eligibility. Not all patients are good candidates for Invisalign. Patients with more sever orthodontic issues may be better suited for alternative treatments. Because you never see a dentist when using mail order aligners, you cannot know if you are truly a good candidate until it is too late. You may be spending money on a treatment that is not for you, or even damaging your smile.
Another issue with mail order aligners is the lack of checkups. Mail order aligners are made all at once. Without a dentist to keep an eye on your progress and adjust aligners as needed, the trays could lose their track and either begin shifting teeth in the wrong direction or simply stop fitting properly. This could all cause damage to your teeth and jaw. This damage could cost even more to fix.
Mail order aligners use lower quality materials for the treatment to offset costs. They also typically use technology that is old enough to be of patent.