As technology advances, it becomes easier to provide services 'once removed.' A certain online dental club is promoting DIY orthodontics. The patient makes a bite cast at home, which they then send to the club, which is based online. The club then mails aligners ‘approved’ by an online dentist (who has never met the patient), who then marks the patient’s progress with a series of photos.
If this sounds shady to you, you’re not alone. The American Dental Association disapproves of do-it-yourself orthodontics. The American Association of Orthodontics has filed a complaint against the company with the FDA and state dental boards in most states.
Why bother with a dentist or orthodontist?
When a patient has structural correction by a licensed, state-regulated dentist or orthodontist, the work performed will be a result of a direct examination of the patient, which includes seeing the patient from all angles, x-rays, a close-up examination, and discussion of various possible courses of action. Not all cases require orthodontia: for example, some cases of diastema can be solved with a simple veneer. The point is that a patient, dentist, and orthodontist work together to ensure the treatment fits the situation.
An orthodontist is indeed not cheap, and one can see why a person would want to try to save some money. But, let’s consider this from the point of value. While one can probably paint their car, it seems illogical to paint a $30,000 car without a certain amount of experience and skill. Orthodontia is not a paint job. Orthodontia involves the moving and reshaping of the way the facial bones, ligaments, and teeth are aligned. If a person wouldn’t risk destroying the looks of their car, why would they risk their teeth and facial structure with an online-driven DIY treatment?
X Rays and other scans
An orthodontist not only examines the teeth and jaw but also takes x-rays and other measures to make sure that a patient’s situation can be appropriately apprised prior beginning treatment. At periodic intervals, the plan changes to reflect the progress of the treatment. In some circumstances, some procedures must be curtailed or altered due to conditions which may occur, such as cavities, periodontal disease, injury, and other unforeseen situations. A patient with no assistance other than that of an online dental club doesn’t have the expertise or education to diagnose issues which may affect treatment.
Dental problems of any kind should never be solved with a one-size-fits-all solution which could do more harm than good. In the event treatment isn’t going according to plan, the orthodontist will know and guide the treatment as the result of the progression. A patient and orthodontist can work together before an unsatisfactory outcome to keep the orthodontia progressing in the manner that it should.
A patient is not just their teeth
Each time a patient visits their dentist, the dentist chooses solutions which are beneficial in the long term overall health and dental care of the patient. An online dental club won't know if the patient has an underlying condition which may affect the outcome and patient's well-being. AN approach which is fostered by the intent to sell aligners without taking other factors into consideration is a dangerous practice.
If you need a gentle, caring dental team, please call our office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best dental care we can!