A Lesson In Why You Should Trust Your Local Dentist
The collapse of a popular company offering remote orthodontic treatment should be a warning to us all.
You may have read in the papers about the collapse of a well-advertised company who offered customers a way of having orthodontic treatment, sometimes without seeing a dentist at all. Consultations were done remotely in many cases with impressions being taken at home by the customer and then sent back in the post. Ongoing care often consisted of photos being taken by the patient of their teeth’s progress and this would then be checked by a dentist at the company.
We can understand why some people felt tempted by this company. Few people actually enjoy visiting a dental practice and this option was usually cheaper too, something that is especially important in difficult financial times. It may be too, that this service was offered with the best of intentions and probably with a belief that it was a good idea. Unfortunately, there are so many pitfalls that many dentists believed that this was a flawed idea.
Let us take a look at various aspects of what this company offered and how it compares with the orthodontic treatment offered at SG Dental and Implant Centre in Burton.
This stage is not ‘just’ about checking the patient’s teeth to see what needs doing to correct their position. It is also an important stage for checking the patient’s overall oral health. If a patient has tooth decay or gum disease, for example, it is important that this is treated before any orthodontic treatment is started. While subscribers to this “braces by post” service had the option to do this independently with their own dentist, it wasn’t part of the service routinely offered and therefore few people would probably have done this, possibly leading to problems later on.
Preparing the treatment
Anyone going to a dentist to have their teeth straightened will have impressions taken, along sometimes, with scans, so that the orthodontics can be made to straighten teeth in the right way. In most cases, on-line braces members had to do this themselves and return the impressions to the company. Anyone who has had this done will know that it can be mildly uncomfortable and some people struggle to have this done even when a dentist does it. There is a possibility that anyone taking impressions themselves may not take them properly and may adjust the positioning slightly to give them a more comfortable experience. This could then mean that the teeth are not positioned correctly following treatment.
Anyone that has orthodontics fitted at our Burton dental practice will be invited back from time to time to check on their progress. This is standard practice at UK dental clinics. As braces-by-post companies typically don’t have practices (although some do offer appointments with dentists we believe), aftercare largely involves patient feedback online along with progress photographs. There are two potentially significant problems here. Firstly, a dentist checking the progress knows what they are looking for and will also take the opportunity to monitor your general oral health. Asking a patient to do this presents a lot of issues. Firstly, they will not necessarily spot any problems that might be occurring and also, how do you take photos of your teeth at a level where a dentist can check them in any detail?
You could check the front of the social six teeth perhaps, but any further back in the mouth would be almost impossible. We can’t see people actually inserting a phone in their mouth to take pictures and we are pretty sure that even if they did, they would be next to useless.
What happens now for let down patients?
As the collapse of the company came without warning, lots of people have essentially been abandoned part of the way through the treatment with no idea of what to do from that point. In addition to any money that has been lost, anyone half way through their treatment is going to be very disappointed to find out that their teeth will revert to their original position once they are no longer able to replace the aligners that are used.
Inevitably, many of these people will seek out a dentist in their locality. They may run into problems here though as most dentists were cautious at best about the use of this method, with many opposing it strongly. Anyone asking a dentist to continue the treatment may find that the dentist insists on going through the full process again of examining and checking the teeth, taking impressions etc and using a recognised orthodontic system in order to straighten the teeth correctly. While this is the best way to ensure that you end up with even teeth and a much improved smile, it does mean that the full cost of the treatment will have to be paid as if you were starting from scratch. It may also be the case that if previous treatment has not progressed satisfactorily, a dentist may decline treatment or perhaps refer you to a specialist.
The failure of this “remote dentistry” company should be a warning to us all; not just those seeking orthodontic treatment but others travelling abroad for cheaper dental implants etc. Although methods will differ according to country and type of treatment, you can never be as sure of receiving the correct care from a company as you can with the dentist you know. Having dental treatment, whether general or cosmetic dentistry, is a serious business and should not be left to chance. Just one bad experience could result in lifelong oral health issues and it really isn’t worth it.
If you are considering any treatment, whether that be orthodontic, implants or even teeth whitening, don’t take chances for the sake of a few pounds. We can even offer payment plans that help you spread payments so there is no point in taking risks with your oral health.
For more information on any treatment, or to book an initial consultation with one of our experienced team, please call SG Dental and Implant Centre on 01283 845345.