Forget the online alternatives for orthodontia—stick with the experts

If you or one of your children needed to have surgery, would you trust Google results for the cheapest, fastest way to do it? Would you consider doing it yourself? Would you try to set a broken bone after watching a YouTube video, or even have a doctor walk you through it via FaceTime?

Chances are, those scenarios sound absolutely ridiculous to you. And they are. We know we are typically better off leaving complex tasks to the experts. Even relatively simple automotive repair or plumbing work is best left to the professionals.

It’s not that it’s particularly difficult to change your oil, for example. The challenge is that we don’t know what to do if something goes wrong. What if we lose a part? Is the oil supposed to be that color? Am I putting in the right weight? We just don’t know what we don’t know.

The same is true of orthodontic procedures. It’s easy to find a do-it-yourself online provider for clear aligners, and the process seems simple enough. You just take an impression of your teeth, and they send you back the aligners to transform your current smile to that perfect smile.

A woman smiling and showing her Invisalign Clear Aligners from Ortho South Orthodontics in Birmingham AL

According to Dr. Boggan (Alabama’s number one Invisalign provider) there are complexities involved in the movement of teeth that require a professional. Dr. Boggan says, “There is a danger when tooth movements aren’t directly supervised by an orthodontist or dentist. Orthodontic treatment is dynamic; it is not static. It’s important to have someone checking your progress to make sure everything is on track, making sure teeth and gums remain healthy. Ideally, that would be the person who prescribed the tooth movement in the first place.”

Unlike the scenario of the car, we can’t simply replace our teeth if something goes wrong. Dr. Boggan and all orthodontists go to school for 10 years to learn about the safest and most efficient ways to straighten your teeth as well as checking the supporting bone and tissues to make sure there will be no permanent damage or tooth loss from the procedure. When considering to leave the long-term health of your teeth and the outcome of your smile to an on-line store, there are several questions to consider.


1. What if you don’t take the impression properly? The impression that you make at home is used to document your current tooth placement and create the digital model that will lead to your improved smile. It’s obviously a critical first step. But if you’re the one taking the impression — with no professional supervision or oversight — you won’t know if you’ve done it accurately, therefore possibly compromising the results. Since you won’t meet anyone from your online service, no one will compare that impression to your actual teeth. At Ortho South, impressions have been replaced by a more advanced, accurate and easier process of digital scans.

2. What if the first aligner doesn’t fit exactly right? An ill-fitting aligner can be the result of a bad impression, or it could just be that it requires minor modifications. At Ortho South, Dr. Boggan fits your aligners personally, making any needed adjustments for a perfect fit. And he would know! As Alabama’s most experienced Invisalign provider, Dr. Boggan has been improving smiles and self-esteem at Ortho South since 1999.

Without the perfect fit, you may sacrifice the results you want, risk damage to your gums and supporting bone— possibly resulting in infection — as well as damage to your teeth, bone and jaw due to an improper bite. The best-case scenario will result in less-than-ideal orthodontic outcome. Damage to your gums can lead to infection, which can lead to potential tooth loss or even life-threatening situations. In addition, an improper bite can lead to unnecessary tooth wear and even chipped or broken teeth.

3. What if the next aligner doesn’t fit right either? Your series of mail-order aligners are based on that initial set of impressions and developed based on a hypothetical model. But your teeth aren’t hypothetical. They may not move as quickly as anticipated. They may end up exactly where the model predicted. Those are modifications Dr. Boggan can make during your monthly treatment visits. That online order, on the other hand, may be difficult to adjust.

4. Are clear aligners really the best option for you? Clear aligners can be a great alternative to traditional braces… for some people. But some cases are simply too complex to be adequately resolved with aligners. While an online service may be more than happy to provide the aligners anyway, Dr. Boggan can provide you the best options to suit your specific alignment issues while being mindful of your dental health and your budget.

5. Why are clear aligners so much faster than traditional options? One of the advantages to clear aligners is that they can move your teeth more quickly than traditional braces. It’s a distinct benefit, particularly for adults who want to minimize treatment time, but that speed also increases the chance for medical oversights. It’s not just your teeth that are moving. It’s your bone and ligaments around the teeth, too. If these are moved too quickly or incorrectly, you could end up with irreparable damage to your teeth, bones and jaw.

It’s important to remember that tooth alignment isn’t just a cosmetic change. It changes your bite, the way your teeth make contact with one another, and the way your jaw works. This can impact your overall dental health and your joint health, and you could quite possibly end up seeking orthodontic treatment after you’ve already spent time and money using mail-order clear aligners.

Remember that orthodontics is a treatment, not a product. Unlike ordering glasses or contacts online — where your eye doctor provides a prescription to be filled for a fixed use — orthodontics is a process that requires personal professional care and adjustments along the way to ensure the best possible results. While Dr. Boggan will use clear aligners as part of an overall treatment plan, it’s very likely that an online service will simply sell you clear aligners with very little professional guidance at all.

Online aligners may end up working well enough for some users, but it’s important to remember the potential risk to your health and your outcome. Speak to Alabama’s aligner expert, Dr. Boggan and Ortho South, for professional care and knowledge regarding Invisalign (as well as traditional alternatives) to ensure you make the right choice for yourself or your loved one. As the number one provider of Invisalign in Alabama, the team at Ortho South can certainly answer any questions you may have.

Leave your orthodontics to the experts, and get the healthy smile you deserve.

Schedule a FREE smile consultation with the team at Ortho South today!

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