While this may seem like a fantastic solution, it is important to consider all aspects of this method of treatment. Continue reading for the benefits and drawbacks of online aligner systems.
How Do Online Aligner Systems Work?
Online, or “at-home” alignment systems usually work as follows:
- An impression kit will be mailed to your home. You will take impressions of your teeth following the instructions provided in the kit, and you will then mail the impressions back in. The impressions will be used in order to make your trays, which will be mailed to you. Every two weeks, you will receive another set of trays to begin the next step of your treatment. This continues for 9-12 months in most cases, until your treatment is finished.
As you complete your treatment, you will take and submit photos for your orthodontist to use in order to monitor your progress. After your treatment is finished, you will receive a retainer that will help ensure that your teeth do not shift.
What Can Go Wrong?
Perhaps the largest issue with at-home aligner systems is that the orthodontist is almost completely eliminated from the entirety of the treatment. Aside from monitoring the pictures that you submit during each stage, the orthodontist has virtually no control or impact on the treatment.
Below are some of the most common issues with online aligner systems:
- If there is a problem with the treatment, or if a correction must be made in order to ensure that the treatment runs smoothly, this will not be noticed, as a dental professional won’t be monitoring your progress.
- There is no monitoring of cavities or bone levels, as x-rays are not taken.
- The dentist/orthodontist will not be able to check the following:
- Where the teeth are being moved
- If there is sufficient bone for the movement of the tooth
- If there are cavities present in the mouth that may worsen with movement
- You will not have the personal connection with your orthodontist that helps many people feel comfortable while undergoing their treatment.
- Every mouth is different; one form of treatment that works for one person may not work for another. Since all your orthodontist will have to work with is some impressions and photos, they may not be able to direct you on what is best for you.
- More serious issues, like problems with the jaw, go unnoticed and can possibly be made worse by pursuing alignment treatment without the direct guidance of an orthodontist.
It’s always best to enlist the direct supervision and expertise of a trusted dental professional rather than attempting to complete the treatment at home on your own. While it may seem more convenient at first, online aligner systems have the potential to lead to further complications and can be quite a stress on both you, as well as your wallet.
Here at Willow Glen Dental Specialists, we are here to ensure that your orthodontic treatment runs smoothly from start to finish. To get scheduled for a consultation in our San Jose dental office, give us a call at (408) 478-9081.