Are Mail-Order Orthodontics Safe?

We all lead busy lives. Between work, family commitments and social activities, it can be difficult to add another activity to your already-full plate - even if that activity will improve your health and appearance. Take braces, for example. In addition to wearing aligners or wires and brackets, braces require extra care and extra time for orthodontic appointments. That can be difficult for some people to squeeze into a packed schedule, so they put it off or simply never do it.

But what if there were a way to get the straight smile you desire, without the time investment? Well, according to several invisible-aligners-by-mail companies, there is. It’s a new approach to orthodontics. You create a mold of your teeth, send it in each month, and a new aligner is sent to you, all without having to visit a dentist or orthodontist. It seems like the perfect solution – but is it really as good an idea as it seems?

In a word, no - and that’s not just one dentist's opinion. There are many things that these programs simply don’t take into account - and that patients may not realize are a problem until it's too late and they are faced with it. Here’s why orthodontics-by-mail may not be the best choice after all.

There’s Nobody on Call

Have a dental emergency in the middle of the night? You may have a toll-free number to call, but you can’t get the same kind of help you’d get from your local dentist.

You Have to Use Their Dentist

Like your dentist (of course you do!)? If you choose aligners-by-mail, you may be assigned a local dentist, but you must pick from one of their options, whether you like this dentist or not.

You Aren’t Covered

Most insurance plans have a lifetime max for orthodontics. If you do run into a problem with your aligners, your local dentist will likely charge for an office visit because you will not be covered through that dentist for your orthodontics.

Things Could Go Wrong

Things can go wrong in orthodontic treatment, even with the most skilled orthodontic professionals. But if your aligners are making your teeth worse or creating new problems, the low intervention of braces-by-mail could miss something crucial and make your bite worse, or even aggravate or cause problems like temporomandibular joint disorder.

Bottom line is, they may be cheaper and lower intervention, but you get what you pay for - and cutting corners really can hurt you.

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