What You Need to Know about Mail-Order Teeth Aligners

There are many different companies advertising mail-order teeth aligners. These products claim to straighten your teeth in a shorter amount of time and in a less noticeable way than traditional braces. Mail-order teeth aligners are made of clear plastic and are worn over the teeth. They straighten the teeth and close gaps for a better looking smile. 

Invisalign was the first clear-aligner system. Released on the market in 1997, this new technology provided an alternative to braces for correcting orthodontic issues. Invisalign treatment can only be accessed through a licensed dentist or orthodontist.

After the release of Invisalign came the mail-order teeth alignment systems, popping up gradually over the years with different names. These aligner systems boast treatment without going to the dentist or orthodontist. But are they a safe and effective alternative to Invisalign or braces? Here’s what you need to know about mail-order teeth aligners. 

How Mail-Order Teeth Aligners Work

You request an impression kit to be mailed to you, which consists of a tray with a putty-like substance you bite down on. You follow the instructions with the impression kit and mail it back. The company uses these impressions to create a set of aligners that they ship back to you. You wear the aligners according to the instructions provided and ideally your smile will be corrected in about 6 months. Sounds too good to be true? For some patients it is. 

Potential Problems With Mail-Order Aligner Systems

Unfortunately, there are quite a few issues that may arise with mail-order aligners, such as: 

  • Lack of X-Rays. Mail-order alignment systems don’t use X-Rays to design your treatment. Often there are orthodontic issues occurring below the gum line that can’t be seen without X-Rays. These things could be important to your treatment. 
  • Room for error. When you take your own impressions of your teeth, there is always a chance that an error could occur that would affect your treatment. If something is off about your impressions, the aligners may not fit or fail to shift your teeth the way you desire. 
  • Insurance issues. Because mail-order teeth aligners are not prescribed or monitored by a licensed dentist or orthodontist, your insurance may not cover your treatment or only cover a smaller portion. 
  • Ineffective treatment. There are some orthodontic issues that cannot be corrected with mail-order aligners or even Invisalign. An evaluation should be performed by an orthodontist to determine your needs and the best course of treatment. 
  • May cause permanent damage. In some cases, mail-order aligners do more harm than good. They may shift the teeth in the wrong way and cause permanent damage that cannot be undone. Mail-order aligners may also chip or damage your tooth enamel and cause pain in your gums. 

Why Invisalign is a Better Option

If you want to experience all of the benefits of clear aligners, inquire about Invisalign with your dentist or orthodontist. Invisalign is a proven system that has stood the test of time. Most patients have a positive experience with transformational results. patients have had positive experiences transforming their smiles with Invisalign. Here are the important differences: 

  • Invisalign is prescribed and monitored by licensed dentists and orthodontists. 
  • Digital impressions and X-Rays are taken before treatment is determined. 
  • Patients are carefully evaluated to determine whether or not Invisalign is the best treatment for the orthodontic issues present. 
  • Invisalign aligners are made of flexible plastic that will not damage tooth enamel. 
  • If anything goes wrong it will be immediately identified by your orthodontist and corrected to prevent permanent damage. 
  • Invisalign provides treatment in a similar timeframe as mail-order aligners, straightening the teeth in as little as 6 months. 

Why Get Invisalign From Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics?

Orthodontists become certified Invisalign providers by completing the necessary training and requirements to provide this treatment. Orthodontic practices are then ranked by the number of successful Invisalign treatments they have completed. Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics has reached the diamond level, the highest level that can be achieved by orthodontists providing Invisalign. This means we have plenty of experience with Invisalign to safely and effectively treat patients. 

Contact us at any of our 3 convenient locations to schedule an evaluation. We look forward to transforming your smile with whatever treatment is best for you.