Cheaper isn’t always better – especially when it comes to dentistry!
Here at Dental Solutions, the team has become more and more aware of a growing ‘home orthodontics’ treatment. Pushed forward by one company, in particular, there have been a plethora of paid ads on our phones and the television. And, as a result, patients are now asking us about this treatment and whether or not it is viable.
The short answer is no. The long answer is that this could potentially be incredibly harmful to your teeth, resulting in much more long-winded and in-depth treatments by a professional dentist to correct the damage done by this ‘tele-treatment’. And there are several reasons why we believe this to be the case. Our dentists have spent time researching and even trying to reach out to the company themselves for clarification (which was not forthcoming).
To illustrate the issues we have with this procedure, we have put together a few of the main concerns our dentists have below. And until these questions are answered by the providers–which they refuse to do–then we cannot stress how important it is to not pursue this so-called ‘treatment’.
Every dental treatment, no matter how small or large, should be preceded by a dental examination carried out by the dentist or orthodontist conducting the treatment. As far as is apparent by this online service, no patient is ever actually assessed by a dentist in ‘real life’. Scans and moulds taken by the patient (which is a major issue in itself) are assessed and then a treatment plan is put into place, without any interaction between the two.
This is particularly worrying, as existing conditions such as gum disease, decay, wear and soft tissue lesions may very well be missed. As you cannot diagnose any of these issues from scans or moulds alone.
If left untreated, any aligner treatment that the patient undergoes will work to make the pre-existing condition worse. And for some, this may lead to tooth loss.
During orthodontic treatment, it is important to have the necessary scans and impressions of the patient’s teeth. This helps us to create tailored aligners. In this at-home treatment, the patient is left to take these impressions themselves–which isn’t easy at all! If you don’t have years of experience or a dental degree, then it is all too easy to make mistakes and be left with a poor mould.
And any slight inaccuracy with your mould can quickly lead to mistakes and issues for the treatment as a whole. The aligner will feel incredibly uncomfortable and, in the worst-case scenario, may cause more damage than it fixes!
Regular review appointments are part of any orthodontic treatment. This is because it is important to monitor whether or not teeth are ‘tracking’ correctly, moving into their desired place. If not, this can be caught and the aligners can be corrected to ensure the right movement is occurring. Without checkups of any kind, as seems to be the case with these online dentists, you may undergo an entire treatment that simply isn’t working.
Which is a great deal of time wasted on an issue that could easily be avoided by any reputable dentist.
The actual results of an aligner treatment without additional dental treatment is also questionable. Aligner treatment alone can only ‘tip’ teeth i.e. forwards and backwards, to ensure they have space to move. Quite often IPR (Interproximal Reduction) is required or even an extraction to ensure optimal results. In some cases, a composite attachment may also be required to rotate/extrude/intrude teeth.
With a basic treatment plan (aligners only) it means that this online ‘treatment’ is actually very limited in its potential results.
Oral hygiene is a major factor when it comes to any orthodontic treatment. It is of vital importance that this is excellent prior to initiating any treatment. And, as a result, we often make sure patients undergo a dental hygiene check. This can remove any calculus build-up, which if left untreated could prevent an accurate fit to your aligners.
If gum disease or any more serious issue is also detected, then all orthodontics treatments will be paused until your overall oral health is improved. This is important as if left untreated any orthodontic work undergone may only exacerbate the issue. Treatment can resume once your oral health is at optimum levels.
All in all, there is the worry that the health and wellbeing of a patient are overlooked in these online treatments in favour of profit.
Even with all of the above in mind, there remain many unanswered questions that leave our dentistry team here at Dental Solutions uneasy. Some of these are related to the secrecy of the company in question themselves, as well as the fact that no known UK dentists are seemingly associated with them. Rather than being open about their practices, they are withholding information that could be vital to their customers (not patients) decision-making process in regards to choosing this online service over a regulated dentist.
Another issue is also raised in regards to the legitimacy of their dentists. UK dental practices are required to display dentist names, GDC (General Dental Council–the UK dental regulation board) registration numbers and other forms of certifications on the dental premises as well as on our website. This is something which this ‘home orthodontics’ provider has categorically not done. Which leaves the question of legitimacy hanging over the whole practice, in short.
If you have taken part in this online treatment, have considered it or simply want a second opinion, then please get in touch with the team here at Dental Solutions. We are, ultimately, concerned with ensuring the best results for your smile and maintaining your oral health.