What Is the Difference Between Invisalign and Mail-Order Braces?
As we all know, just because two things appear the same doesn’t mean they actually are the same. This is particularly true when it comes to Invisalign and the trend that’s coming to be known as “mail-order” aligners. While this system of digital orthodontics may seem similar to Invisalign, there are some very important differences between the two.
What Are Mail-Order Braces?
The list of new mail-order orthodontic treatment companies keeps growing. The concept itself sounds like a step forward: get complete orthodontic treatment at home by sending in photos of your teeth and receiving a new set of clear, plastic aligners every week or two. You even take care of your own dental impressions in your home, and each subsequent checkup is done virtually.
This system is clearly inspired by the Invisalign Clear Aligner System, but it has some glaring deficiencies.
Risks of Mail-Order Braces
While the idea of completing orthodontic treatment virtually certainly has its appeal, it also quickly becomes clear why it just doesn’t work if you take a moment to stop and think about it. For one, in many cases, you’ll be taking your own dental impressions using this system, with no orthodontist present. This vital step will determine how effective your treatment is and making an error could result in subpar results, poor fitting aligners or damage to your teeth.
The process also doesn’t include any pre-screening x-rays, which are necessary to detect any underlying issues that will affect the movement of your teeth or bring any safety concerns to light.
At a fundamental level, the absence of an orthodontist to provide checkups and closely monitor your treatment means you just won’t get the quality of care you deserve.
Differences Between Mail-Order Braces and Invisalign
While Invisalign aligners and many mail-order braces treatments look very similar as they both use clear, plastic trays, they are very different from each other. First off, mail-order braces aren’t made from the same type of materials as Invisalign trays.
In fact, current Invisalign trays aren’t made the way they used to be. Invisalign recently made a switch to a new type of material that manages to maintain a gentle but constant force for more efficient tooth movement and provide even more comfort. While mail-order braces are stuck trying to create imitation plastic trays, Invisalign is on the cutting edge.
Mail-order aligner systems do not incorporate the necessary placement of attachments on particular teeth during treatment. This step ensures that the plastic aligners are able to provide the right force to change the position of the teeth as directed. Also, many times teeth need to be reshaped to account for wear or size discrepancies to allow for perfect results. This requires the skill and knowledge of the orthodontist.
The most important is the oversight of a licensed orthodontist during treatment. While you can start your decision-making process by completing a virtual consultation, this won’t replace the in-person initial exam. During this visit, orthodontists complete a highly accurate digital scan of your teeth – without the unpleasant putty required for at-home dental impressions. X-rays are made to ensure proceeding with treatment will address all issues with your teeth both above and below the gumline. If treatment is not progressing as expected, this needs to be identified early and corrected. Virtual check-ups often fall short of this standard.
This essential personal attention and professional supervision are what sets Invisalign apart from mail-order treatment systems. By getting regular in-person checkups and having access to advanced orthodontic technology, you can expect superior results.
Contact Fravel Brewer Orthodontics today to learn more about how Invisalign works and to see if it’s right for you!
Fravel and Brewer Orthodontics has been helping patients achieve beautiful smiles as the preferred orthodontist in Winter Garden, Ocoee, and West Orange County, Florida for almost 30 years. Treatment options for kids and adults include Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, ceramic braces, and silver braces. Call us at (407) 656-0001 to schedule a free consultation today!