We often get questions about Smile Direct Club. I’m going to post a response here to help people who may not have access to my office.
I’m going to be blunt and say upfront I think it is a risky idea. Here are my main concerns.
No Initial Exam
With any serious orthodontic work, it should begin with a thorough exam. This should include x-rays, a dental exam, checking for gum disease, as well as checking for decay. Without that, a patient could end up with a raging dental emergency or even end up losing their teeth from their orthodontic treatment. This is an unacceptable shortcut. While it may cut down the costs it puts patients at risk.
Make Your Own Impressions
The success of Invisalign depends in great part in the accuracy of the impressions taken. This should be done by someone with training, but with Smile Direct, you do it yourself and mail them in. There can be no bubbles, tears, or defects, and you only get ONE shot at it.
Dealing with Overcrowding
There is no dentist who is invested in your case. Because of that, the process of either removing premolars or shaving sides of your teeth to make room for a corrected bite is shortcutted.
They mail you the aligners and you just put them in at the appropriate time. There are two things that are a problem with that. First, our bodies don’t always follow the initial plan, and adjustments need to be made. Because there is no follow-up, you will have no way if your treatment is going off-course.
I even read a story where Smile Direct mixed up a woman’s aligners which caused her to skip a month. This made it almost impossible for her to get them in. If I remember correctly it took her forty minutes to place something that should take seconds. I’m certain this did damage to her underlying bone.
Will You Save Money?
Possibly. If everything goes right. But, when it doesn’t it will cost you a lot more, and not just financially. Your best bet when it comes to straightening your teeth with clear aligners, such as Invisalign, is to do it under the watchful care of a dentist who is invested in your case.
This blog is brought to you by Des Moines Dentist Dr. Phelan Thomas.