While it may seem like one product is just as good as any other, think about that good old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Today, people are constantly looking for the best deal. While that is the way to go, you have to note that some products and services you pay for are more important than others, such as teeth braces .
“And do you really want to get the cheapest deal you can when it comes to your teeth? “
I would argue that when it comes to your health, both oral and overall well-being, going with the cheapest options will not always provide you with the best outcome. One example is online direct-to-consumer clear aligners.
“Why you ask? The Direct-To-Consumer Conundrum”
This about it, while tele-health has improved much in the last decade or two, tele-dentistry is still in its infancy and has a long way to go. Additionally, the limitations imposed by tele-dentistry on a Dentist’s ability to accurately diagnose a dental issue with their patient’s miles away are pretty grand to say the least.
In most dental visits, whether you are looking for a root canal, Invisalign, teeth whitening, dental implants or a crown, the dentist can’t get much done without your willing and able body presenting itself at the dental practice. Moreover, do you really feel comfortable using teeth aligners that weren’t measured to specifications and were shipped from Costa Rica?
While putting trust in a company from Costa Rica is not the issue, you must keep in mind that if something goes wrong, your ability to repair the problem will take much longer. As dental procedures go, teeth straightening is one of the more time-consuming dental treatments in a dentist’s arsenal. If your teeth are shifted in the wrong direction by direct-to-consumer clear aligners, you will need undergo an equal amount of time or more to fix the problem with braces or Invisalign.
What are the Dangers of Direct-to-Consumer Clear Aligners?
As previously reported by KHN.org, direct-to-consumer clear aligners were the big rave in the past and even till today, companies like SmileDirectClub spend more than half their budget on marketing to keep this narrative and momentum moving forward. The truth is that after a decade of use and exposure, DTC aligner result stories are starting to emerge, with many telling horror stories related to customer service, improper shipments, teeth alignments in the wrong direction and much more.
We will go into further detail below so that you can stop and think for a moment. Consider how much more cost you can incur if you happen to be one of those clear aligner horror stories.
One story noted by KHN.org is the story of Anna Rosemond now age 33 years old. Anna was scrolling through Groupon deals and stumbled upon a deal by SmileDirectClub for at-home clear aligners. These do-it-yourself aligners help you create a mold of your teeth by creating an impression with the putty provided.
She then mailed the information with the putty carrying her teeth impression back to SmileDirectClub and a few weeks later her clear aligners came in the mail. Currently, the cost for this service through SmileDirectClub is $250 to get started and $85 per month. Sadly, the results that Anna was expecting was not the results she had after wearing them. Over a period of some weeks, Anna’s teeth began to look like they were moving at an angle. In the end, she had to visit her local dentist and get traditional teeth braces for a period of some months to get the desired look she wanted. Unfortunately, this probably increased her cost, delayed time, and increased her stress level during all those days. You can learn more about this horror dental story and many others here .
Complaints Are Stacking
According to the Better Business Bureau, over 1,600 complaints have been logged in for SmileDirectClub and even more so have been sent to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) as well as 19 Attorney’s across the United States.
You don’t have to do massive research to see it for yourself, social platforms have also logged customer complaints in both Facebook and Instagram. Other firms such as Candid, SmileLove and SnapCorrect have all had complaints logged in for their practices as well. 54 were logged for Candid, 10 were logged for SmileLove and 3 for SnapCorrect, although those pale in comparison with SmileDirectClub. It should be noted that it is probably because they have majority of the market share.
If you’re thinking about braces, Invisalign or generic clear aligners, remember that the most important aspect of this process if diagnosis, 3D Imaging scanning for proper dimensions and fitting, button attachments, which are not provided in the DTC versions diligent in-office follow up to make sure the dentist can examine your teeth and properly keep the treatment moving forward.
We hope this was entertaining and enlightening so that you may take time to really think twice before spending the money on online direct-to-consumer clear aligners.