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Written By:

Dr. Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS

Board-certified Orthodontist, husband and father of 4, drummer, and ginger living in Germantown, Tennessee.

Over the holiday season, you may have found yourself feeling extremely thankful that we live in a time where almost anything we need can be ordered and delivered within a day or two—especially if you needed any last minute gifts or stocking stuffers! While this is incredibly convenient during the Christmas rush, relying too much on this kind of quick service has come with some unintended side effects. People have grown accustomed to wanting the fastest, cheapest, and easiest methods for everything—including straighter smiles. 

This has actually led to an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer treatments available, like “mail order” aligners. Although we understand why they’re tempting to consumers, most orthodontists and dentists don’t recommend them. Keep reading below to learn why choosing an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Fagala over DTC aligners is the smart choice for your smile!

What are DTC aligners?

Direct-to-consumer companies have cashed in on the DIY trend by creating an alternative to customized, in-office orthodontic treatment. Instead of receiving treatment from an established practice, these companies supply patients with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. After an impression has been taken and mailed back in, they are reviewed by a dentist or technician who will then determine if the patient is a good candidate for their company’s aligners. If they are approved for the process, aligners are made from the impression the patient sent in, then delivered to them at home with instructions on how to wear them.

Because DTC aligners often boast a lowered price point and no in-office visits, it’s no surprise they’re popular with patients. They have a pretty impressive marketing team behind them, too! It should be noted, however, that the bar for being accepted as a patient is typically very low. Many people are approved for aligner treatment even though they would be better served with a different treatment option under an orthodontist’s supervision. This comes with a number of potential risks, many of which can lead to unsatisfactory results. Let’s take a closer look at how treatment with a practice like Saddle Creek Orthodontics can give you the smile you desire safely and efficiently!

The best start to treatment

Good orthodontists go beyond simply straightening a patient’s teeth. They’re also able to identify and treat a wide range of oral conditions, from simple to complex. The first step in that process is a comprehensive orthodontic examination. At SCO, we begin by taking digital photographs of the teeth and, if necessary, a panoramic and cephalometric x-ray. These images allow us to visualize your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. After reviewing these records, Dr. Fagala will perform an oral examination. The photographs, x-rays, and thorough exam provide our team with the information needed to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient.  

DTC aligner companies rely on the basic information you provide them with. Unfortunately, many oral health issues can be missed this way. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions, which can be problematic since the teeth and gums should be in good shape before attempting any tooth movement. Seeing an orthodontist for treatment eliminates this unnecessary risk, and ensures any treatment plan is built around your unique needs. 

The 5 Reasons to Pick an Orthodontist over DTC Aligners

Supervision throughout the process

Whether a patient is in braces or wearing aligners, routine check-ups are an essential part of the treatment process. During these visits, orthodontists will observe how the teeth are moving and check that everything is proceeding the way it should be. These appointments also allow them to make adjustments to the treatment plan if it becomes necessary at any point.

DTC aligner companies leave patients without any meaningful supervision over the course of the treatment process. Aligners may fit poorly, which can cause irritation or pain. They may move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. As we noted above, cavities or gum disease can develop or worsen without the patient knowing. These problems can end up going untreated if there is no orthodontist involved, which could cause damage to a patient’s oral health and bite.

Customized treatment plans

Clear aligner therapy can be an excellent choice for many patients, but not everyone is a good candidate for it. In particular, cases that are complex or severe may require more precise tooth control than aligners can provide.

An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Fagala considers each patient’s needs, lifestyle, and goals before creating a personalized treatment plan for them. This is in conjunction with the results of their initial consultation. Without access to a patient for a thorough examination, x-rays, or photos, DTC aligner businesses may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a suitable candidate for aligners or not.

Comparable pricing and time

A smile that looks good and feels great requires an investment of your time and funds, and when it comes to orthodontic treatment, you really do get what you pay for!  DTC aligners may seem like an inexpensive and easy way to straighten your smile, but they could end up costing more in the long run when you consider the potential risks. These companies are simply unable to provide patients with the same level of care that a trained orthodontist can.

Not only that, but many qualified orthodontists are actually able to compete with the cost and time that most DTC companies claim, anyway! For example, SCO offers a variety of affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, along with flexible payment plans and automatic bank drafts. We’ll also check with your insurance company for any orthodontic benefits. We currently accept the following insurance plans:

  • Aetna
  • BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
  • Cigna
  • Delta Dental of Tennessee
  • Guardian
  • MetLife
  • Tricare
  • United Concordia
  • United HealthCare

Our goal is to provide every patient with outstanding value for reasonable fees. We even offer a FREE initial consultation that will include an examination with Dr. Fagala and an explanation of the options available to you! 

The 5 Reasons to Pick an Orthodontist over DTC Aligners

Expert care you can trust

Your smile is too important to trust to anything less than an expert! While DTC aligner companies claim to have qualified dentists or technicians overseeing the approval process for aligners, this is no substitute for the training, skills, and expertise that an orthodontist will have. Dr. Fagala is a Board Certified Orthodontist, a designation held by only ~30% of orthodontists, and has years of experience in successfully correcting a wide variety of dental issues for patients across the Mid-South. You can be sure that your smile is in the best hands at Saddle Creek Orthodontics.

Safe and effective treatment with Saddle Creek Orthodontics

You wouldn’t undergo medical treatment without an in-person evaluation first, or ongoing supervision from a medical professional. Your smile deserves the same consideration! An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Fagala has the education, training, and skills necessary to provide you with the most effective treatment options and the best results possible based on your unique orthodontic needs. 

If you’re in Memphis or the Mid-South area and want to learn more about how to safely achieve a beautiful smile with our expert team, get in touch with us today and schedule your complimentary consultation!


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