Beware the perils of Smile Shopping

More and more, you see marketing and advertising for clear aligners with television commercials for straighter smiles by direct mail. And now, some makers are even opening storefronts in shopping centers with promises of an easier, more convenient way to a more beautiful smile. Like shopping for jeans, these purveyors suggest that a new smile is as simple as a trip to the mall. And while technological advancements in treatment with plastics and attachments have made them somewhat more viable in select cases, most industry professionals agree that for superior results, a qualified orthodontic specialist using the right tools and technologies are best.

What these offers fail to make clear is that these types of aligners are not effective in cases where acute tooth movement is needed. In these situations, traditional braces are not only more suitable, but most often the required course of treatment – especially for patients with molar/bite issues and where rotation or vertical movement of canines or premolars is necessary. Additionally, only an orthodontist has the specialized education beyond regular dental school that allows for the proper diagnosis and treatment in the alignment of jaws, facial irregularities and developmental anomalies in the airway that can lead to other health issues. These diagnoses are part and parcel of orthodontic treatment and may be overlooked completely if patients simply look to the quick-fix of online or shopping center teeth aligners. Sadly, in some instances direct-to-consumer companies do not involve an evaluation or supervising treatment by an orthodontic professional.

When determining a course of treatment for patients, Dr. Razdolsky stresses the importance of how addressing each patient as a unique case is paramount to success and a true Forever Smile. A thorough oral and facial examination, photographs, dental molds and/or x-rays, and possibly even CBCT scans are necessary to the assessment and proper recommendation for a patient treatment program. Dr. Razdolsky’s specialized training and first-hand experience with new and emerging technologies allows him to evaluate the collected data and develop the right course of treatment for the patients’ needs, rather than form-fitting a patient to a one-size-fits-all approach. Dr. Razdolsky said he has even had patients come in and seek re-treatment because the aligners prescribed by their dentist were not effective. More often this is a case of improper evaluation, planning or the wrong tool being prescribed for treatment.

“We see our patients as partners throughout the course of treatment,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Success is critically dependent on our continued evaluation and their active role in proper daily maintenance and care of their braces, retainers or appliances. Although we always strive to provide for the happiness and wellbeing of all our patients, sometimes their preferred course treatment alone is not best.”

With traditional braces, you wear them all the time which allows for a more consistent, controlled and successful treatment. Treatment with clear aligners can often take much longer because changes are much more subtle and the trays are removable. This means patients have a tendency to wear them less, or forget to wear them at all at times, and therefore treatment gets drawn out. Without proper and ongoing observation by a qualified professional, these treatments become ineffective and can sometimes prolong issues.

“There are many factors in determining the best course of treatment,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “We work with the patient and the family to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ by the least obstructive and most efficient means available to us. Whether traditional brackets and wires or clear aligners, as an Orthodontist I look at all the latest options, tools and technologies accessible to get us where we need to go. That’s the difference between Orthodontics and online or in-store aligners – there’s usually no one, clear answer or quick fix to a beautiful Forever Smile.”