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  • Dr. Michael Sebastian

"Do it yourself"

Questions to consider when thinking about using online teeth straightening services


I don’t know if you have seen all the advertisements popping up from “Do it yourself” teeth straightening companies like Smile Direct Club, Candid Co., Smile Love, SnapCorect, Orthly, etc.

If you know of someone who is considering using this route to align their teeth, then you might offer these questions for them to ask prior to starting treatment. These questions were developed by the American Association of Orthodontics to help consumers make a well informed decision.

As part of your treatment, are comprehensive diagnostic records like x-rays taken before your treatment?


· Does the treatment and fee include x-rays of your teeth and jaws?

· Does the treatment and fee include a clinical examination of your jaw alignment, teeth, bite, and the relationship of your teeth to the skeletal structures?

· Does the treatment and fee include taking photographs of your face, facial profile, mouth, and teeth?

· Does the treatment and fee include taking digital scans or other impressions of your teeth?

NO- Are you comfortable starting orthodontic treatment without comprehensive diagnostic records? If you still want comprehensive diagnostic records taken, are you all right going to another dental professional to take them? If yes, what will that cost?

As part of your treatment fee, do you receive any in-person visits to a dentist’s or orthodontist’s office during your treatment?


· How many?

· What occurs during these in-person visits?

· Is there a licensed dentist or orthodontist in the office to supervise the visits?

NO-Are you comfortable with orthodontic treatment that does not involve any in-person visits with a dentist or orthodontist?

Is only one treatment type offered (such as invisible aligners or a certain appliance)?

YES- How do you know that is the best treatment option for you, given your unique situation and oral condition, compared to other treatment models (such as braces)?

NO-How is the decision being made for the best treatment model for you, and who is making that decision?

If a dentist or orthodontist is involved with your treatment, do you know the name of the dentist or orthodontist who will be specifically involved with your case (for example, is it available on the company’s website or elsewhere)?


· What are his or her education and credentials?

· In what state is he or she licensed?

· In what state does he or she practice?

· What do other patients being treated by him or her have to say

NO-Are you comfortable not being able to research your dentist’s or orthodontist’s background, credentials, patient reviews, etc. before you begin treatment?

How do you know if your teeth and gums are healthy enough for orthodontic treatment?

· Who is making that decision and how long is it being determined?

· If the decision maker is a dentist or orthodontist not associated with your treatment, who pays for that assessment?

Who can you speak with at the online orthodontic company about your orthodontic treatment?

· What is his or her education, background, qualifications and/or experience with orthodontics?

Who is responsible for detecting any issues that may occur during your orthodontic treatment?

· Is it you?

· If it is a doctor not associated with your treatment, who pays for those check-ups?

If a doctor is involved with your orthodontic treatment, how can you contact him or her over the course of your treatment?

· How can you contact him or her if an emergency arises?

If an emergency arises, does the company have a dentist or orthodontist in your area that you can see in-person?

· If not, who would cover the costs associated with seeing a dentist or orthodontist in your area?

These are some of the questions which any consumer should ask prior to starting treatment. Moving teeth is not a simple process and requires the oversight of a skilled dental professional.

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