Welcome to the World of Online Orthodontics

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Is there anything left you can not buy or do online? One of the last things to be checked off can now be stroked off the list — online orthodontics. But just because you can, should you?

The online orthodontics business model

There are now websites online through which you can purchase orthodontic treatment. Without ever needing to see a dentist or orthodontist in the flesh, you can contact these companies and request help straightening your teeth. The online orthodontists typically then send a kit to you in the mail. That kit commonly includes putty and a tray so that you can take the impressions of your teeth to send back to the company.

The online orthodontists then describe how they assess your impressions using three-dimensional modelling to develop a treatment plan. That treatment plan includes preparing a set of clear aligners to wear to shift your teeth into their ideal position gradually.

To this point, the highlights of the process include an online purchasing component, a mail order component and even a DIY dentistry component. What is at least as exciting, though, is what seems to be missing in this online orthodontics business model.

What’s missing in this picture?

While that summary of the world of online, mail order and DIY orthodontics contain echoes of Invisalign’s treatment process using clear and removable thermoplastic aligners. There are some key elements to any prudent dental treatment program missing. The missing pieces include the following:

  • No medical history seems to be taken
  • The current health of your mouth, teeth, gums and jaw are not confirmed
  • No x-rays seem to be taken to confirm the structure of your teeth to be moved and the jaw bone through which they are to move
  • There is no apparent interaction between you, as a patient, and any dentist
  • There is no indication that your treatment plan includes any checkups, progress reports or supervision

The reported advantage of the online orthodontics option is the price. Sometimes, though, one gets what one pays for.

Your teeth, gums and jaw are essential components of a complex system of bones, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, tendons, blood and bacteria that, if abused, can cause serious health conditions with long-lasting effects and potentially serious consequences. It is for those very reasons that any prudent and professional treatment plan for orthodontics in Dearborn includes such non-negotiables as taking a medical history; assessing the current health of your mouth and jaw; digital imaging to confirm the structure and condition of your teeth and jaw; regular interactions between you and a dentist in Dearborn, and dedicated follow-up appointments to track progress and to make any necessary adjustments.

Dentists recognize that obtaining orthodontics near you can be an expensive proposition. For that reason, dentists work hard to control costs, offer services at different price points, and offer financing options to make important services more accessible to as many people as possible. If financial considerations appear to be a barrier to essential treatment, don’t hesitate to communicate that concern to your dentist in Dearborn to allow everyone to work together to consider all possible alternative solutions.

We highly recommend that you refrain from engaging with online orthodontists whose business model does not include a commitment to essential and basic medical precautions to keep you safe and healthy. Suppose you have engaged with an online orthodontist and are concerned about the treatment you may have undertaken through that service. In that case, you’re strongly encouraged to consult with a flesh-and-blood orthodontist about orthodontics in Dearborn and to review the current state of your teeth.