Teledentistry is a growing trend that makes it possible for patients to receive dental and orthodontic care without visiting a doctor in person. It uses technology and telecommunications to make remote treatment possible, allowing maximum flexibility and convenience for patients.
Teledentistry providers such as SmileDirectClub have greatly increased in popularity recently, disrupting the traditional market. This has led to a lot of discussion about whether teledentistry is really a safe and effective option.
While companies such as SmileDirectClub insist that they’re just as safe as in-person treatment, many professionals in the industry don’t agree. Explore our guide to learn more about the safety of teledentistry.
How Does Teledentistry Work?
Most teledentistry treatment plans only require one in-person visit. For example, SmileDirectClub involves visiting a retail outlet to have your teeth scanned. After that, 3D printers are used to create your clear aligners, which are delivered by mail with instructions.
You won’t interact with an orthodontist in person at any point during your treatment. Instead, your progress is monitored remotely through photos.
More and more patients are choosing this method due to the reduced cost and unmatched convenience compared to traditional treatment, such as Invisalign®. However, many orthodontists are starting to show concern regarding the safety of teledentistry.
Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Grussmark in Miami recommend visiting a professional in-person for the best results. This will ensure your treatment plan is tailored to your specific needs and that any issues with your aligners can be corrected immediately.
The Traditional Invisalign Process
If you go the traditional route and visit an orthodontist, they’ll start by taking detailed scans of your entire mouth. This information is used to customize your aligners so they fit perfectly for maximum comfort. After you receive your first pair of aligners, you’ll visit your orthodontist roughly every six weeks so they can monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed.
This professional supervision is a crucial part of the treatment process. If something isn’t right with your aligners and the problem isn’t corrected quickly, you could risk permanent damage to your teeth.
That’s why more and more orthodontists are cautioning their patients to be wary of teledentistry. While the reduced cost and saved time are undeniably appealing, it’s not worth it if your health and safety are compromised.
Dr. A. Vandiveer Strait has been an Invisalign provider for over 20 years in the Norwalk, CT area. To him, SmileDirectClub is a high-risk treatment that unwisely minimizes the orthodontist’s role. “One of the keys to successful orthodontic care is the ongoing supervision of an experienced professional,” says Dr. Strait. “Without this, there’s no way to ensure safe and effective treatment.”
Examining Your Options
When choosing an orthodontic treatment, you ultimately have to decide what’s best for you. If you have an extremely busy schedule that will complicate Invisalign treatment, then at-home options may be worth looking into.
However, it’s essential that you understand the risks involved before committing to remote care options such as SmileDirectClub. If any error is made with your aligners and isn’t corrected right away, your teeth could sustain permanent damage.
That’s why most medical professionals recommend visiting a certified Invisalign provider like Dr. Vu Kong in Schaumburg, IL. With many completed cases behind him, he can use his experience to ensure your treatment proceeds according to plan.
Teledentistry is on the rise and the industry likely won’t disappear anytime soon. However, providers like SmileDirectClub have a long way to go before they can guarantee the same results as professional Invisalign treatment.