For most people who get orthodontic treatment, the process is largely similar: you visit an orthodontist, who diagnoses your orthodontic condition and creates a treatment plan. But recently, a new company has been “disrupting” the industry of orthodontic treatment: SmileDirectClub. Instead of going through orthodontists, SmileDirectClub offers a mail-in service that lets patients straighten teeth with clear aligners, without the involvement of a personal orthodontist. At Charlottesville Orthodontics, our mission is to provide convenient, high-quality orthodontic treatment to patients throughout Charlottesville and Zion Crossroads, so we wanted to offer some guidance on the pros and cons of straightening your teeth with SmileDirectClub.
Should I use SmileDirectClub?
At first glance, SmileDirectClub’s model is highly enticing. Instead of using the traditional format for treatment, patients visit one of over 300 “Smile Shop” retail locations where they have their teeth and mouth scanned. SmileDirectClub then has those scans reviewed by a dentist or orthodontist in their network, who uses designs a treatment course using clear aligners. They then fabricate the aligners and ship them to the patient, resulting in an orthodontic treatment course that’s cheaper than most traditional orthodontists.
However, according to a new article by the New York Times, there may be some issues with this model. While the company has very high online reviews, the Times found that they’ve pursued tactics to keep criticism off the Internet. SDC doesn’t release information on the efficacy of their aligners, and customers who want a refund must sign an NDA before being refunded the money. In fact, the company has “been almost like nervous bullies to critics,” says an NYU professor of medical ethics.
While SDC and other direct-to-consumer medical brands may seem like convenient, cheap options for medical care, the truth is often more complicated. The truth is, orthodontics is an incredibly complex, advanced field of medicine that uses tools and technologies to make significant, permanent changes to the teeth and bones of the face. Plus, patients’ treatment courses often change during treatment, so following a treatment plan based only on an initial consultation may not result in the best smile in the end. In our opinion, the only way to guarantee a healthy smile is to visit a trained, Board-certified orthodontist for your treatment.
Schedule a consultation with your Charlottesville orthodontist
If you’re looking to improve your smile, we always recommend visiting a Board-certified orthodontist. And if you’re ready to start your own treatment, we can help. Take the first step and schedule a consultation using our easy online form. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you achieve your dream smile!