Recently, there have been some companies offering cheaper options to Invisalign. One of these that has been aggressive in its marketing is SmileDirectClub. They offer a do-it-yourself option which cuts costs by eliminating most of the dentist supervision. There is a dentist supervising the treatment, but he or she does it remotely and there is never a direct office visit.
If you’re considering this option, please do so carefully. Many of the online reviews of SmileDirectClub are directly managed by the company, and it takes a little searching to find independent reviews. One review site, Highya.com, had overwhelmingly negative reviews before February 2020, and then it appears that SmileDirectClub began to get involved in managing the reviews, and they all of a sudden became overwhelmingly positive. Check YouTube for videos of patients’ experiences with the process.
Why SmileDirectClub May Not Be the Answer
Dr. Farber disagrees with the concept of do-it-yourself orthodontics, and here are the reasons.
- First, she feels that a comprehensive examination is important before starting any orthodontic treatment, and an important ingredient of that examination is x-rays. It is an accepted standard in orthodontic care is that you start with a quality panographic x-ray view of the jaw and the teeth, to show the condition of the bone and the roots of the teeth. There are reports of receding gums, loose teeth, and other complications caused by orthodontic treatment begun without this important diagnostic step.
- Second, the impression taken to begin treatment is critical. It needs to be completely accurate and not distorted. Some of these do-it-yourself companies suggest that they can mail you a kit to take the impression yourself at home. Dr. Farber believes that this is inadequate.
- Third, most cases of crooked teeth are the result of crowding. To correct that, some extra space needs to be made. Sometimes, this is done by extracting some teeth. If not that much space is needed, a little shaving of the sides of some of the teeth can create enough space. Without that step, the arch has to be expanded by pushing the teeth out. This usually doesn’t give the best result. Some people leaving online reviews have complained that their back teeth were left crowded or with cross-bites and only the front teeth were straightened.
- Fourth, there are often other things that need to be done to achieve the best result—things that need to be done in the office. For example, a tooth may need to be rotated slightly, and to accomplish that a small button of composite may be bonded to the surface of the tooth to enable the aligner to create that rotational force. Do-it-yourself orthodontics has to skip that option.
- Finally, Dr. Farber knows from experience that there are issues that can come up during treatment that she needs to address. Sometimes teeth don’t quite move the way it was predicted and she has to make a course correction in the middle of treatment. Online reviews of these do-it-yourself systems show patient frustration when these issues come up and they can’t get an adequate response from the company.
At-Home Straighteners vs. Invisalign
The Invisalign process is much different from the do-it-yourself option. It begins in the office of an Invisalign-certified dentist like Dr. Farber. If you’re a candidate for the Invisalign system, you can expect a full oral examination complete with x-rays. Then a high-tech, 3-D impression will be made of your mouth, and Dr. Farber will show you a simulation of your Invisalign treatment on a computer screen, including the individual movements and goals for each tooth. When your aligners are ready, you’ll return to Dr. Farber’s office to receive your initial trays and instructions. Then, you’ll take your trays home and begin to wear them, returning for a follow-up appointment every 4 to 6 weeks, to have your progress assessed and to get new impressions done, so your next set of trays can be ordered.
With Invisalign, there’s no guesswork–just personalized care and professional results. Dr. Farber will detect underlying issues, oversee each step of your treatment, be available to answer questions, and tailor your treatment plan if your teeth don’t move as expected, which happens with many patients.
Have You Had Trouble with SmileDirectClub?
If you have begun treatment with SmileDirectClub and have run into problems that you need fixed, we have a special offer for you. Bring your receipt, and Dr. Farber will give you a discount on your Invisalign case. This special offer is valid until the end of the year. Just call the office, or fill out our online appointment request form to find out if the Invisalign system is right for you.