At an increasing rate, we’ve had patients asking us how services with companies such as Smile Direct Club, compare to the services they receive at Advanced Orthodontics. While we can only speak to the quality of care you will receive at our office, we can give a comparison of the treatment process as described on their website.
The Difference Between DIY Orthodontics and In-Office Treatment
For those who aren’t familiar, Smile Direct Club and similar companies provide “invisible aligners done at home”. In a nutshell, their process involves mailing a set of impressions you take yourself at home and submitting them along with selfie style photos of your teeth. Your impressions and photos are reviewed by a dental professional. You then receive a set of clear aligners that sequentially move your teeth until you have a “perfect smile” with treatment times “averaging 6 months”.
What to Expect at an Orthodontist for Treatment
At Advanced Orthodontics, all new patients will be scheduled for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Larrabee and one of our knowledgeable treatment coordinators. At your consultation, our records technician will show you around our state of the art office, take a digital 3D x-ray, intraoral (inside the mouth) and portrait photographs from several different angles and views. Dr. Larrabee will review these records, perform an extensive evaluation, take measurements, and ask questions about your bite and jaw. The initial consultation takes about an hour and Dr. Larrabee will review the recommended treatment process and estimated treatment time with you. Our treatment coordinators will make sure all of your questions are answered and work with you to find a payment plan that works within your budget. We know our patients’ time is valuable, and are happy to begin treatment the same day, in order to save you a second trip to the office.
Once you are in active treatment, Dr. Larrabee will see you back for regular adjustments and checkups every 10 to 12 weeks. At each adjustment appointment, Dr. Larrabee will evaluate the progress you are making and make any necessary changes to get you a perfect smile and healthy bite.
Comprehensive Treatment & Thorough Exams
The first reservation our office shares in regards to do-it-yourself orthodontics is that teeth are only part of the complex system that is treated with orthodontics. Dr. Larrabee’s extensive exam includes an inspection of the entire oral cavity, head, and neck, checking that there aren’t any dental conditions that could affect the success of treatment. These dental conditions can include periodontal (gum) disease, dental decay, signs of oral cancer, and TMJ. Each patient’s records and examination help Dr. Larrabee determine the safest, most effective treatment and accurate diagnosis. Dr. Larrabee strongly believes that these dental issues cannot be identified correctly using just an impression of your teeth and photographs taken yourself at home.
Benefits of Professional Expertise
Our second reservation comes with the expertise and control (or lack thereof) provided with do-it-yourself orthodontics. The records you submit to an ‘at home orthodontics’ company are reviewed by a board-certified dentist. The movements created by the at home aligners are prescribed and designed by digital simulation. We believe it is essential to a successful treatment to have a licensed, board-certified orthodontist overseeing the specific movements and adjustments. Dr. Larrabee has had extensive additional schooling following dental school to become a board-certified orthodontist. He has been practicing orthodontics for the past 16 years, including extensive training with Invisalign. Not every Invisalign provider is the same; Dr. Larrabee has been recognized as an Elite provider through his specialized training.
Ongoing Adjustments and Monitoring
Lastly, even with the most straight-forward orthodontic cases, there are times when a patient needs to be seen in person by their orthodontist. As an example, occasionally the cut of an aligner may need to be filed or smoothed down to prevent it rubbing on your gums, causing irritation, or a tooth may not be moving ideally, or not “tracking” and Dr. Larrabee can adjust the treatment plan to keep you on schedule.
If you’re in the Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek or even San Tan Valley areas and are interested in finding out more about Dr. Larrabee and Advanced Orthodontics, call our office today to schedule your complimentary consultation and examination. Our Advanced Orthodontics families drive from all over the East Valley to see Dr. Larrabee, as he was voted “Best Orthodontist” in AZ Foothills Magazine several years in a row, and awarded “Top Doc” by his colleagues.