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Are you considering clear aligners to straighten your teeth? While online mail-order options may seem convenient, there are several compelling reasons to see an orthodontist in person. In this article, we will debunk the allure of online mail orders and explore the benefits of choosing an orthodontist for your clear aligner treatment.

The expertise and personalized care of seeing an orthodontist in person

One of the primary advantages of seeing an orthodontist in person for clear aligners is their level of expertise and personalized care. Orthodontists are dental specialists who have dedicated their careers to correcting dental issues and creating beautiful smiles.

When you choose an orthodontist for your clear aligner treatment, you benefit from their extensive training and experience. Orthodontists undergo at least two years of additional education after dental school to specialize in orthodontics. This specialized knowledge allows them to diagnose and treat a wide range of dental misalignments accurately.

By seeing an orthodontist in person, you can trust that you receive the highest care level. They will take the time to understand your unique dental needs and develop a tailored treatment plan. This personalized approach ensures that your clear aligner treatment is effective and achieves the desired results.

Furthermore, orthodontists have access to the latest technologies and techniques in orthodontic treatment. They stay up to date with advancements in the field, allowing them to provide the most advanced and effective treatment options. By choosing an orthodontist for your clear aligners, you can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

The importance of comprehensive orthodontic evaluations

A comprehensive orthodontic evaluation is crucial for success in clear aligner treatment. This evaluation considers various factors that can affect the outcome of your treatment, such as:

  • The alignment of your teeth
  • The health of your gums,
  • The overall condition of your oral cavity.

During an in-person orthodontist’s visit, you can expect a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. This examination will include taking X-rays as well as detailed measurements and impressions of your teeth to assess the underlying bone structure. These evaluations provide valuable information that helps the orthodontist develop a personalized treatment plan.

By seeing an orthodontist in person, you can ensure that any potential issues or complications are identified early on. For example, if you have gum disease or tooth decay, these conditions may need to be addressed before starting clear aligner treatment.

Additionally, an in-person orthodontic evaluation allows the orthodontist to assess the complexity of your case. Some dental misalignments may require additional interventions, such as attachments or tooth extraction. Only an orthodontist can make these decisions after a comprehensive evaluation.

In-person consultations and treatment planning

One significant advantage of seeing an orthodontist in person for clear aligners is the opportunity for face-to-face consultations and treatment planning. These consultations allow you to discuss your treatment goals, ask questions, and address concerns.

During an in-person consultation, your orthodontist will take the time to understand your expectations and desired outcomes. They will explain the treatment process, including how long it may take to achieve the desired results. This open communication ensures that you clearly understand what to expect throughout your clear aligner journey.

Additionally, in-person consultations allow the orthodontist to provide you with a visual representation of how your teeth will move during treatment. With the help of advanced imaging technologies, they can show you a simulation of your teeth’s movement, giving you a preview of the final result. This visual representation can be incredibly motivating and help you stay committed to your treatment.

Furthermore, an in-person consultation allows the orthodontist to address any potential challenges or limitations of clear aligner treatment. For example, clear aligners may not be the most suitable treatment option for someone with severe dental misalignments or bite issues. Your orthodontist can discuss alternative treatments that may be more effective.

Monitoring your progress with in-person orthodontic treatment

One critical aspect of orthodontic treatment is monitoring progress and making any necessary adjustments along the way. Only an orthodontist can provide this level of personalized care during in-person visits.

When you choose an orthodontist for your clear aligner treatment, they will schedule regular check-ups to monitor your progress. During these visits, the orthodontist will assess how your teeth are shifting and ensure the treatment progresses as planned. They can make any necessary adjustments to the aligners to ensure your teeth move in the desired direction.

Regular monitoring by an orthodontist is essential because it allows them to identify any potential issues early on. For example, if your teeth are not moving as expected, your orthodontist can investigate the cause and make the necessary adjustments to ensure optimal results.

Furthermore, an orthodontist can provide guidance and support throughout your clear aligner treatment. They can offer tips and advice on caring for your aligners and maintaining good oral hygiene properly. This personalized support can make a significant difference in the overall success of your treatment.

Warning from the American Association of Orthodontists about Mail-Order Aligners

A close-up of a bankruptcy sign superimposed over SmileDirectClub's building.

A year ago, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) warned about mail-order clear aligners. In January of 2022, they stated:

“It sounds almost too good to be true: the convenience of orthodontic treatment without ever having to leave your home or see an orthodontist or dentist in person,” said Dr. Ken Dillehay, DDS, MS, President of the AAO. “Far too many patients are finding out what the scientific evidence makes clear: that undergoing orthodontic treatment without being examined in person by an orthodontist or dentist can lead to irreversible harm.”  Dr. Ken Dillehay, DDS, MS, President of the AAO

You may have heard about SmileDirectClub’s recent closure. The company, which offered virtual consultations for clear aligners, recently filed for bankruptcy, and closed, leaving people hanging regarding their clear aligner treatment.

The AAO’s Guidance for SmileDirectClub Patients

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is offering guidance to patients impacted by the recent closure of SmileDirectClub and patients approached by other “mail order” teeth straightening companies. Given Smile Direct Club’s abrupt shutdown, patients have been left with questions and concerns about their ongoing orthodontic treatment.

“The best thing SmileDirectClub patients can do at this point is to book an in-person exam with a licensed orthodontist in their area,” said Myron Guymon, President of the AAO. “Most SmileDirectClub patients have not had an x-ray or in-person exam, which are critical to ensuring an accurate diagnosis and safe and effective treatment plan.”

  1. At your appointment, share all concerns and past treatments. Feel confident knowing that an orthodontist has specialized education and experience and has helped patients through similar situations.
  2. If finances are a concern, ask about complimentary consultations offered by many AAO orthodontists when booking the appointment.
  3. Beware of other mail-order orthodontic companies feeding on SmileDirectClub’s failure. AAO emphasizes the importance of visiting an orthodontist for in-person examinations and X-rays before starting orthodontics with a provider to avoid irreparable harm.
  4. For patients with complaints, including those who may be unable to contact the dentist supervising their SmileDirectClub treatment, AAO recommends contacting state dental boards with individual complaint processes for dental treatments. For a list of state dental boards, visit

The long-term benefits of seeing an orthodontist in person

Choosing an orthodontist in person for clear aligners offers several long-term benefits that go beyond just straightening your teeth. Opting for in-person orthodontic care makes a significant investment in your oral health and overall well-being.

Orthodontic treatment is not just about aesthetics; it also significantly impacts oral health. When teeth are correctly aligned, it becomes easier to maintain good oral hygiene. Straight teeth are less prone to plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay. By seeing an orthodontist in person, you can ensure that your clear aligner treatment is not only improving the appearance of your smile but also enhancing your oral health.

Furthermore, orthodontic treatment can improve your bite alignment. Misaligned teeth can put excessive pressure on specific areas of your jaw, leading to discomfort, headaches, in addition to excessive wear of tooth surfaces, and other dental and oral health problems. By seeing an orthodontist in person, you can address these issues and improve the functionality of your jaw.

Additionally, orthodontic treatment can boost your self-confidence and improve your overall quality of life. You may feel more comfortable smiling and speaking in public when you have a straighter smile. This increased self-confidence can positively impact various aspects of your life, including personal relationships and professional opportunities.

Conclusion: Choose Embrace Family Smiles for Your Local Orthodontist

At Embrace Family Smiles we have an expert orthodontist, Dr. Roger Hennigh.  As a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontists and having practiced dentistry and orthodontics for nearly 30 years, he is well qualified to provide outstanding orthodontic care for adults and children. Furthermore, your treatment is backed by a team of professionals to ensure you get the best care. Embrace Family Smiles offers orthodontic services for braces, Invisalign, retainers, and space maintainers. With three convenient locations in Woodbridge, Burke, and Dale City, it’s no wonder that our orthodontic services are rated #1 in the local area.  If you are “looking for an orthodontist near me”, think of Embrace Family Smiles and Dr. Rober Hennigh.

Your Embrace Family Smiles Team