- Should You Use Smile Direct Club? An Orthodontist’s Take
We all like to save money where we can. Let’s face it – who doesn’t love the thrill of snapping up a great bargain, so you can go home to your better half and brag about how much you’ve saved?
In this consumer oriented society, there’s no end to the lengths a business will go to coerce you to part with your hard-earned dollars. Just count how many discount coupons you’ve received in the mail, or in your inbox, today!
Recently I’ve seen a lot of commercial advertising for the Smile Direct Club and similar at-home orthodontic services. No doubt you’ve seen it too. In theory, this is a great idea! Take your own mold at home and send it to the company, where they make your clear aligners and then send them back to you, to straighten out your teeth. In a generation where saving time and money is paramount, this sounds like a win win situation – you save time on the consultation and subsequent check-ups with the orthodontist… and – most importantly – it’s cheap! Only $2000! Sounds like a great idea. Why didn’t I think of that?
But does it really sound that great? How about take home glasses? We send you a kit that lets you measure and check your own eyes. You send us the prescription and we’ll make you the contacts – all for $99. Or how about a ‘make your own crown kit’? We send you a drill and show you how to drill your tooth, and you take a mold of your tooth, and then we’ll make you the crown and you can cement it in – YOURSELF! Why pay $1200 when you can spend only $499? *
*Fine print: “Crowns R Us is not responsible for possible future root canals, crowns falling off, tooth pain associated with the crown, a poor fit, or if the crown is not the right color.”
Of course, this all sounds ludicrous. And I am equally intrigued as to why the Smile Direct Club sounds like a feasible solution to anyone?
Here are 5 reasons why you should not try to save money on straightening your teeth and see a professional instead
1.) Taking molds or impressions: I have been practicing in the field of dentistry for more than 15 years and, to this day, taking a mold of someone’s teeth still presents its challenges. This is such a precise art, with so much room for error – even trained technicians and dentists make imperfect impressions that have to be redone. So why would anyone think, “Oh yeah, I can do this… easy… just put this tray in my mouth with this material and BAM!” If it takes many cooking attempts just to make a recipe perfectly, just try taking a mold! Do you gag? Do you have Tori? (I’ll let you look that one up).
2.) A proper diagnosis that only a doctor can make: In the health field, most of the time professionals are trained to diagnose. That’s why we have to go through multiple years of training to do what we do. We study research papers and are taught by highly trained professionals to diagnose. No one single human being has ever existed who is an exact replica of another. Prior to orthodontic treatment, one has to diagnose if the patient is disease free; if they have teeth that should not be moved; whether certain teeth should be moved in a certain direction to make sure it fits the person’s face, etc. So many things are involved in diagnosing a patient prior to treatment.
3.) To manicure or not to manicure: More often than not, teeth need Interproximal Reduction (IPR). In order to align crowded teeth, IPR needs to be performed by a professional otherwise the teeth cannot fit in or other unwanted movement is involved. If you want your teeth to align correctly and to look “aligned” then a professional should be performing this. Smile Direct Club also does not allow attachments to be placed on your teeth, thus making it extremely difficult to do certain movements with your teeth.
4.) What are you actually paying for?: It doesn’t save that much money in the long run. If you go to an orthodontist, they handle the retainer portion of orthodontic treatment. Here at Simply Orthodontics in Irvine, we handle the cost of lost aligners, the aligners that don’t fit or just your human non-compliance issues! The Smile Direct Club charges for additional unforeseen items and, in the end, it will likely cost you much the same.
5.) Close monitoring by a doctor: A lot can happen in 6 months to a year. You might need a filling; a tooth might break; you may start taking a medicine that causes your teeth not to move as fast. These are all commonplace scenarios, which need to be handled professionally.
If you have already gone down the path of DIY orthodontics, and are sensing it may not have been your smartest move, don’t hesitate to reach out. Simply Orthodontics is always happy to give you a second opinion. Give us a call!