Benefits of an Orthodontist Over DTC Aligners

In today’s world, we’ve grown accustomed to getting everything we need faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before. While this is convenient, it’s had some unintended side effects, even for orthodontics! Something you may have noticed is that it’s led to an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer treatments available, such as mail-order aligners. You may be wondering if there are benefits of an orthodontist over DTC aligners.

These companies go all out on flashy advertising that promises you a straighter smile from the comfort of home for less money! We can see how this could be tempting for a lot of consumers. However, most orthodontists and dentists won’t recommend them, and we’re here to tell you why! Keep reading below to learn more about what mail-order aligners like Smile Direct Club are, and how Rhoads Orthodontic Specialists can give you the smile you deserve, safely and effectively. 

What are DTC aligners?

DTC stands for direct to consumer, meaning you don’t have to visit an orthodontist in person. These DTC aligner companies market themselves as an alternative to traditional treatment that takes place in an office under the careful supervision of an orthodontist. 

The first step in the DTC aligner process is supplying customers with an in-home impression kit. Once the impression has been taken and mailed back in, a dentist or technician will review it and determine if the patient is a good candidate for their aligners. If they are approved for the process, aligners will be made from the impression you sent in. These will then be delivered to you at home with instructions on how to wear them.

Anyone considering using aligners from Smile Direct Club or other companies should be aware that it’s extremely easy to get approved. While that may seem like a good thing, the truth is that many people are given the go-ahead for aligner treatment even if a different orthodontic treatment method would be a better fit for their smile. 

This kind of do-it-yourself treatment comes with several potential risks, many of which can lead to unsatisfactory results–or worse! There are several important components of the orthodontic process missing with mail-order aligners, some of which we’ve outlined below. 

Assessing your specific needs

Orthodontics is about more than straightening the teeth. An experienced orthodontist is trained to identify and treat a variety of oral issues, ranging from simple to complex. This attention to your specific needs is one of the most important benefits of an orthodontist over DTC aligners. 

The first step in the orthodontic process is a consultation that includes an orthodontic examination. At Rhoads Orthodontics, our treatment coordinator will take digital photographs of your teeth, along with a panoramic and cephalometric x-ray if necessary. These images allow us to see your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. Next, Dr. Rhoads will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, mouth, and gums. Combined, this detailed information gives us what we need to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.

When you work directly with an orthodontist’s office, it eliminates all unnecessary risks. Treatment plans are built around your unique needs, including any dental work that may be needed. In contrast to this, mail-order aligner companies must rely on nothing more than the basic information that is provided to them. Unfortunately, this can lead to many oral health issues being missed. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. Since your teeth and gums should always be healthy before you attempt to move your teeth, this can be a real problem. 


Creating customized treatment plans

Clear aligner therapy can be an excellent choice for many patients, but it isn’t for everyone. It’s especially tricky for cases that are more complex or severe. These cases may need more precise tooth control than aligners can provide. For these patients, traditional metal or clear braces may be a better option. 

Our team is made up of a trained, experienced orthodontist, and a team who always consider a patient’s needs, lifestyle, and goals when creating an individualized treatment plan for them. This happens in conjunction with the results of the initial consultation. Since we can see you in person for an examination or x-rays, mail-order aligner companies like Smile Direct Club may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a good fit for aligners or not.

Supervising the treatment process

Regular check-ups are an essential part of the treatment process for every orthodontic patient. These visits take place roughly every four to eight weeks and Dr. Rhoads will use this time to make any necessary adjustments, observe how the teeth are moving, and check that everything is going according to your treatment plan.

With DTC aligner companies, there is no meaningful supervision. Patients are left in charge of their own orthodontic experience, which can lead to unexpected consequences. For example, aligners may not fit correctly, causing irritation and pain. Ill-fitting aligners may also move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. As we noted above, cavities or gum disease can develop or worsen without you even knowing. Without an orthodontist involved, problems like this may go unnoticed and untreated, eventually causing damage to your oral health and bite.

Comparable pricing and similar treatment times

Achieving a healthy smile that looks amazing requires an investment of your time and money. That old saying “you get what you pay for” couldn’t be more accurate when then referring to orthodontic treatment! While mail-order aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile, they can end up costing more in the long run when you consider the potential risks. That’s because these companies can’t give you the same level of supervised care that a trained orthodontist can.

In reality, many qualified orthodontists can compete with the cost and treatment times that most mail-order aligner companies claim. Here at Rhoads Orthodontics, we offer a variety of affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign clear aligners. To ensure treatment is affordable, we have flexible in-office payment plans and we accept most major credit cards. Additionally, we accept most orthodontic insurances and would be happy to file the insurance on your behalf! 

Our office takes advantage of the latest in orthodontic technology and techniques to give you the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. 

Expert care that you can trust

You only get one smile, and it’s too important not to trust an expert! While mail-order aligner companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing the approval process for their aligners, there’s no substitute for working with an orthodontist who has education, training, and expertise in moving teeth successfully. Dr. Rhoads has years of experience creating beautiful, healthy smiles in our community, so you can always trust us to provide the highest quality orthodontic care!


For treatment that’s safe and effective, visit Rhoads Orthodontics

Would you undergo any type of medical treatment without an initial evaluation or ongoing supervision from a medical professional? Of course not! We believe your smile deserves the same consideration.At Rhoads Orthodontics, our goal is to provide you with a rewarding, stress-free orthodontic experience from your first appointment to your last. If you’re in Cranberry Township and ready to learn more about how you can safely achieve a beautiful smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation!