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Mail Order Aligners vs Invisalign: What You Need to Know

Millions of people—including many of our patients at Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry—have successfully used Invisalign aligners to straighten their smiles. However, over the past few years, competing companies have emerged that offer aligners through the mail. They claim that their aligners can straighten your teeth at home, without a visit to an orthodontist.

We want to make sure that you have all the facts before you make a decision that will permanently affect your smile. Today we’re taking a look at mail order aligners vs Invisalign, and comparing their pros and cons. 

Do mail order aligners work just like Invisalign? 

Both Invisalign and mail order aligners both use clear plastic “trays” made to fit your unique mouth. However, that’s where the similarities end. 

Invisalign aligners feature a specially engineered material called SmartTrack that provides gentle pressure to move your teeth while providing support. Mail order aligners use generic plastic to make your aligners based on an at-home impression kit they send you and you ship back. 

Taking proper dental impressions takes extensive training—the DIY approach will simply never be as accurate. Plus, there’s also the chance that your dental impressions may be damaged in the mail. 

At Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry, we take professional 3D scans of your mouth to create your Invisalign aligners. Throughout the course of your treatment, as your teeth move and your smile changes, we will cast new aligners every six to eight weeks. 

Mail order aligners vs Invisalign—which costs less?

The cost of Invisalign includes all digital impressions, office visits, and custom aligners throughout the course of your treatment. Your health insurance might cover a portion of your Invisalign costs because you are under the care of a dentist. However, health insurance does not cover mail order aligners at all.

Mail order companies can charge far less because they don’t offer the same services. The low initial cost of a set of mail order aligners may be enticing, but in the long run, you could end up paying more. 

Most mail order aligner companies only supply six months’ worth of aligners—that’s it. Orthodontic treatments like this usually take at least a year to work properly, so chances are you will need more aligners later on.

The advertised price of mail order aligners does not include any extra diagnostics you might need. If you need to submit x-rays of your mouth or visit your dentist to make sure the aligners are working, you’ll have to pay for those services out-of-pocket.

After completing your mail order aligner treatment, there could be additional medical costs as well. If you’re not satisfied with the results or find you have new or worse tooth and gum issues, you’ll need to pay for orthodontic care. 

Are mail order aligners safe? 

With mail order treatments, you never get direct care from a dentist or orthodontist. If your aligners do not fit properly, or you have any underlying oral health conditions, you may never know until you need to seek emergency dental care. Both the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists urge people to use caution when considering mail order aligners, and so do we!  

Invisalign Specialists in Glendale and Peoria

When you’re comparing mail order aligners vs Invisalign, it’s important to remember that an orthodontic aligner is a piece of medical equipment. Using an orthodontic aligner in a mouth that is not healthy, or on teeth with problems that aligners cannot fix will only cause more damage and set you up for disappointment. 

When it comes to orthodontic care, you can’t be too careful! If you’re interested in finding out if Invisalign aligners can help straighten your smile, call Mettler and Griego Family Dentistry at 623-487-4870 to schedule a free consultation today!

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay