Modern technology makes life much more convenient and simpler. If you want to order clothes, food, buy a holiday, rent a car, you can do so online on a smart phone in a matter of minutes. Next day delivery means you don’t have to visit a shop to make a purchase and can receive goods in the comfort of your own home in a matter of hours.
I am a big fan of convenience. Working full time with a young family means I have little time for shopping, not one of my favourite pastimes anyway!
Recently there has been a rise in ‘express orthodontics’ or ‘D.I.Y braces’ where companies will send you a box so you can take your own impressions (moulds) and have braces sent directly to your door without even having to visit a dentist. Obviously, there is a big attraction here, straighter teeth direct to your door sometimes for a smaller fee than you would find at a dental practice, so what’s the catch?
The issue here lies in the convenience. How can you be sure a brace is right for you without having your teeth and gums checked first? What if you experience discomfort during treatment, who can you see to help you with this? Who will check the brace is working properly without unwanted side effects? Who provides the aftercare once treatment has finished?
Unfortunately, these are questions that are not being answered. Brace to door companies provide no oral health examination. In fact, no dentist will ever even look inside your mouth before, during or after treatment. The companies claim treatment is overseen ‘remotely’ and is ‘dentist directed’. In short, an unknown dentist, possibly miles away or in another country will be glancing at your treatment and giving it the green light. This is a big worry for me as tooth movement can sometimes be unpredictable and I have seen plenty of patients for whom orthodontics is not a suitable option for one reason or another. Cutting out direct dentist visits for braces is simply not possible and can lead to long and costly consequences when treatment fails.
The major down side of convenience is loss of personal service, and loss of interpersonal relationships. It is very important when making a life changing decision such as straightening your teeth, to do your research. Look into what you are purchasing, who you are purchasing from and how you will be looked after during treatment. Make sure there is always a point of contact and use a brand with a good reputation.
You will rarely find positive reviews from D.I.Y brace companies on social media. Most reviews relate to poor customer service and poorly fitting braces that are not being rectified.