There are several direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies on the market right now and they love to make their treatment sound convenient, cheap and effective. What people may not realize is that they are often times treated as consumers and not patients. For example, in some instances direct-to-consumer companies do not involve an in-person evaluation and/or in-person supervision. Being seen in an office by an actual licensed orthodontist is imperative because there is more to creating a beautiful and healthy smile than just shifting some teeth. Orthodontic treatment, if not done correctly could lead to irreversible tooth and gum loss, bite changes and other expensive damage. Ask yourself this question: What other transforming medical procedure would you undergo without being evaluated and supervised before, during and after IN PERSON by a doctor? You want to be treated as a patient not a consumer.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) believes you should do your due diligence when selecting an orthodontist and/or method of orthodontics. Below are several questions for you to ask while you are researching direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment.
- As part of your orthodontic treatment fee, do you receive any in-person visits to a licensed orthodontist’s office during your treatment?
- If YES:
- How many?
- What occurs during these visits?
- What credentials does the doctor have?
- What do other patients have to say about the treatment they received?
- If NO:
- Are you comfortable receiving orthodontic treatment without any in-person visits from a licensed orthodontist?
- If YES:
- As part of your treatment, are comprehensive diagnostic records like x-rays taken before your treatment?
- If an emergency arises, does the company have an orthodontist in your area that you can see in-person?
- How do you know if your gums and teeth are healthy enough to start orthodontic treatment? Who makes that decision?
- Is only one treatment type offered (such as invisible aligners or a certain appliance)?
- YES- how will you determine that it is the best treatment option for you?
- NO- who will help you determine what the best course of treatment is?
- Who can you speak with at the online orthodontic company about your treatment, financial aspects, dental health and the potential risks involved with your treatment?
- Who is responsible for monitoring and evaluating your course of treatment? Is it you?
- Does the treatment model comply with the dental laws in your state?
- To check your state’s dental laws, click https://www.aaoinfo.org/state-laws-and-regulations
We hope that you have found this information helpful. Please keep in mind that orthodontic treatment is not a product you are purchasing but a medical service that is best handled by a medical professional. If you seek treatment from an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, you can rest assured that they have spent many years in a post-doctoral residency program. To find an AAO orthodontist near you, click here: https://www.aaoinfo.org/