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Your Healthy Family: Are direct-to-consumer orthodontic products right for you?

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Posted at 6:45 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 12:13:59-04

When it comes to the pros and cons of direct-to-consumer orthodontic products it’s important to know both ahead of time to make sure you choose the option best for you.


Doing some research, asking questions, and evening getting a consultation with local dentist or orthodontist can save you a lot of trouble and perhaps money.

When it comes to direct-to-consumer orthodontics, Dr. Michael Kofford, DMD, MSD with SoCo Smiles says, “It can work but there's a lot of risks that you need to know up front. A lot of times when you do direct-to-consumer orthodontic products you don't know the credentials of the dentist or orthodontist that's approving that the case. You don't know what that person's clinical capabilities are in terms of orthodontics, or if may have ever even treated a patient orthodontically, they may just look at a computer screen and approve the treatment.”

Also with direct-to-consumer products there can be a good amount of do it yourself work involved and some basic procedures may be missed.

Dr. Kofford explains, “With direct-to-consumer products, a lot of the time you make an impression yourself. You may go into a facility where they can scan the teeth digitally and send that to either a dentist or an orthodontist. There is no physical exam (of your mouth) and there's no evaluation of the teeth, there are no x-rays, so it's teledentistry is what it is.”

As easy as moving teeth may seem, there is a lot involved that is watched closely when treatment happens at an orthodontic office says Dr. Kofford. “There's a lot involved that you don't see like under the gums you need to be concerned with root resorption, periodontal disease, bone loss, and the bite. A change in the bite can leave a patient with a traumatic occlusion to which can actually lead to tooth loss. So it's just something that you need to know what you're getting into.”

While many direct-to-consumer products claim to cost less, you don't know for sure without getting a local consultation to see what an actual orthodontic treatment might cost you.

Dr. Kofford says, “There's a misconception that orthodontic treatment is expensive. Some adolescent cases or more complicated cases where we are dealing with growth and development (in adolescents) they're going to take a little bit more time, and be more expensive. The average direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment is usually about six months, and a six month treatment in an orthodontic office could be significantly less expensive than a traditional full orthodontic case.”

Dr. Kofford says, “There's a misconception that orthodontic treatment is expensive. Some adolescent cases or more complicated cases where we are dealing with growth and development (in adolescents) they're going to take a little bit more time, and be more expensive. The average direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment is usually about six months, and a six month treatment in an orthodontic office could be significantly less expensive than a traditional full orthodontic case.”

Dr. Kofford explains, “If it’s a minor case, we usually can 3-D print and deliver liners in our office the same day. There is no waiting for 6 weeks, or 2 or 3 months to get your liners back.

No matter what type of treatment you’re considering, having a consultation with a local orthodontist can provide you valuable information to make an informed decision as to what is best for you.

SoCo Smiles is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family