Benefits Of An Orthodontist Over DTC Aligners

We live in a world where we can get nearly anything we need faster, cheaper, and easier than ever. While this is convenient, it has also led to some unforeseen side effects, even in orthodontics. Most notably, it’s led to an increase in the number of direct-to-consumer treatments available online. This can lead many people to wonder about the benefits of an orthodontist over DTC aligners.

These companies use flashy advertising that promises a straighter smile from the comfort of home and for less money than an orthodontist! We can understand how this can sound appealing to some people, but most orthodontists and dentists won’t recommend them. If you or someone you know is considering orthodontic treatment in Dewitt or Lansing, keep reading below to learn about the benefits of an orthodontist over direct to consumer aligners that come in the mail and how Grubaugh Orthodontics can safely give you the smile you deserve!

What are DTC aligners?

Direct-to-consumer (or DTC) companies market themselves as an alternative to orthodontic treatment that takes place in an office under the supervision and guidance of a trained orthodontist. The first step is supplying customers with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. Once the impression has been taken and mailed back to the company, a dentist or technician will review it and decide if the patient is a good candidate for their aligners. If you’re approved for the process, they will make aligners from the impression the patient sent in. These will then be delivered to them at home with instructions on how to wear them.

Anyone considering using DTC aligners should know it’s extremely easy to get approved. Although that may sound like a good thing, many people are okayed for aligner treatment even if they would benefit more from a different treatment method under an orthodontist’s direct supervision. 

There are many possible risks to this kind of DIY treatment, many of which can lead to subpar results–or worse! Several essential components of the orthodontic process are missing with DTC aligners, some of which we’ve outlined below. 

Assessing your specific needs

Orthodontics is about more than simply straightening your teeth. An experienced orthodontist is trained to diagnose and correct various oral issues, ranging from mild to severe. The first step in that process is a consultation that includes an orthodontic examination. At Grubaugh Orthodontics, our treatment coordinator will take digital photographs of your teeth, along with a full mouth digital x-ray and possibly an iTero digital scan, which serves as a type of “virtual impression,” eliminating the need for standard goopy impressions. These images allow us to see your teeth, jaws, and facial soft tissue. Dr. Grubaugh will also perform a thorough examination. Together, this detailed information gives us what we need to create an individualized treatment plan for each patient.  

On the other hand, DTC aligner companies must rely on pretty basic information. Unfortunately, this can lead to many oral health issues being overlooked. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen with just a few photos or impressions. Because the teeth and gums should always be in good condition before any tooth movement is attempted, this can lead to unexpected problems. When you work together with an orthodontist’s office, it eliminates this utterly avoidable risk. Treatment plans are designed specifically for your unique needs, including any dental work you may need. 


Creating customized treatment plans

Clear aligner therapy can be an excellent treatment option for many patients, but it isn’t for everyone. In complex or severe cases, it may require more precise tooth control than what aligners can provide. For these patients, traditional metal or clear braces could be a better option. 

Our team comprises an experienced orthodontist and a team who always considers a patient’s unique needs, lifestyle, and goals when creating their individualized treatment plan. This happens with the results of the initial consultation with Dr. Grubaugh. Without access to the patient for an in-person examination and x-rays, DTC aligner companies may not accurately determine if someone is a good fit for aligners or not.

Supervising the treatment process

Regular check-ups are a crucial part of the treatment process for every orthodontic patient. These visits occur about every 4-8 weeks. Dr. Grubaugh uses this time to observe how the teeth are moving, make adjustments, and check that everything is proceeding according to the treatment plan. 

With DTC aligner companies, there is no meaningful supervision. They leave patients in charge of their orthodontic journey, which can lead to unexpected consequences. For example, aligners may not fit properly, causing irritation and pain. An improper fit can also move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than planned. As mentioned, cavities or gum disease can develop or worsen without the patient ever knowing. Without a trained orthodontist involved, problems like this may go undetected and thus untreated, eventually causing damage to a patient’s oral health and bite.

Comparable pricing and similar treatment times

Achieving a healthy smile that looks amazing requires an investment of your time and money. The old saying that you get what you pay for couldn’t be more accurate than orthodontic treatment! While DTC aligners may seem like a quick, inexpensive, and easy way to straighten your smile, they can end up costing you more in the long run once you consider the potential risks. That’s because these companies simply cannot provide patients with the same level of supervised care that a trained orthodontist can.

In reality, many qualified orthodontists can compete with the cost and treatment times that most DTC companies boast. Here at Grubaugh Orthodontics, we offer multiple affordable treatment options for patients of all ages, including Invisalign clear aligner therapy. To ensure treatment is always affordable, we have an office payment plan with 0% interest financing. We accept most orthodontic insurances and can even file the insurance on your behalf! 

Our office takes advantage of the latest in orthodontic technology and techniques to give you the most optimal results in the shortest amount of time possible. 

Expert care that you can trust

You only get one smile, and we believe it’s too important to trust anything less than an expert! While DTC companies claim to have qualified dentists and technicians overseeing their approval process for aligners, nothing can compare to working with an orthodontist who has education, training, and expertise in successfully straightening teeth. Dr. Grubaugh has years of experience creating beautiful, healthy smiles in our community, so you can always trust Grubaugh Orthodontics to provide the highest quality orthodontic care for the most affordable cost!


For treatment that’s safe, effective, and affordable, visit Grubaugh Orthodontics

Would you undergo any type of medical treatment without an initial evaluation or ongoing supervision from a trained medical professional? Of course not! We believe your smile deserves the same consideration. At Grubaugh Orthodontics, we strive to provide every patient with a rewarding, stress-free orthodontic experience from the first appointment to the last. If you’re ready to learn more about how you can safely achieve the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of, contact our office today and schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Grubaugh!