Beware the “Smile Peddlers”

If your mouth is healthy, your teeth are snuggled safely within your gums, with the space between your gum tissue and the tooth only one to three millimeters in depth. But as bacteria in your mouth continually form, a sticky film of plaque on your teeth, particularly around the gum line, this plaque begins to harden into tartar -- only removable by a dentist or hygienist during a professional cleaning. Left unchecked however, this tartar can lead to gum disease.

Such was the case of a 29-year-old male patient who just completed treatment through Smile By Mail. Results weren’t too bad and in fact, his smile looked okay. However, the patient came to Dr. Razdolsky wanting a lower fixed retainer as one tooth would rotate back as soon as the aligner was taken off.

After a full comprehensive exam, Dr. Razdolsky discovered 6-9mm periodontal pockets. You see, inflammation and swelling due to plaque and tartar buildup can result in pocket formation between the gums and the teeth.

“As your gums pull away from your teeth, this inflamed tissue is now the perfect place for more plaque and tartar to hide,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This deepens the pocket further and over time threatens the bone around your teeth putting your whole mouth at risk.”

Sadly, according to Dr. Razdolsky’s patient he only had an intraoral picture scan done through Smile By Mail without any x-rays or examination by a doctor. Thank goodness he sought out Forever Smiles! His story serves as a very serious warning to others -- if only you treat one thing without full benefit of a licensed medical provider, you can risk losing your teeth in the future!

Making matters worse, these Smile by Mail providers are taking to the streets and offering patients a smile by mobile truck or bus. Even on their own website there’s no assurances these services are supported by ongoing medical supervision of a licensed dentist or orthodontist, further endangering patients through this potentially neglectful treatment. But hey, they do offer to send you home with teeth whitening strips!

What a scary concept this Smile By Mail is to the future of orthodontics. It pains us to see it happen. When it comes to your health and well-being, you should always seek the advice of a licensed medical provider.