These days you can do almost anything with the click of a button. Order school clothes. Get a ride across town. Watch your favorite tv show. Order delivery for dinner. It seems like every day there’s a newer and easier way to do almost everything. We’ve been programmed to accept that anything can be ordered online and delivered right to your front door. However we believe there is one thing that has no easy replacement: orthodontic treatment. There is no match for experienced and highly trained professionals when it comes to your dental health.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) agrees. They recently issued a Consumer Alert listing key questions to ask about direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies. You can download a print-friendly version here.
The issue is that many direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies do not involve the in-person evaluation and/or in-person supervision of your treatment we provide at Dr. Arleen Azar-Mehr’s practice. This type of supervision is crucial because there is more to creating a healthy, beautiful smile than moving the visible portions of your teeth. If not done correctly any dental work can lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as:
- Tooth loss
- Gum loss
- Changes to your facial profile
- Mobility of anterior teeth
- Posterior open bite
An orthodontist like Dr. Arleen Azar-Mehr has many tools in his or her arsenal to help create your beautiful smile – Invisalign, for example, is just one of them. It’s important to have a fully qualified and certified orthodontist involved when making any changes to your teeth.
The Top Questions To Ask
The AAO advises that when researching orthodontic treatment (including treatment models from direct-to-consumer companies, you should consider many key questions, some of which include:
- As part of your treatment, are comprehensive diagnostic records like x-rays taken before your treatment?
- As part of your treatment fee, do you receive any in-person visits to a dentist’s or orthodontist’s office during your treatment?
- Is only one treatment type offered (such as invisible aligners or a certain appliance)?
- What are the possible risks (financial, health, etc.) associated with your orthodontic treatment?
- 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 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?
- If you are injured or have another dispute involving your orthodontic treatment, how is it handled (litigation, arbitration, etc.) and what rights do you have?
- Does the treatment model comply with the dental laws in your state? To check your state’s dental laws, click https://www.aaoinfo.org/state-laws-and-regulations. Information for your state dental board can be found at https://www.aaoinfo.org/aao/state-dental-board-info.
Where You Receive Your Health Care Is A Very Important Personal Decision
Remember that orthodontic treatment is not a product or device – it is a professional, medical service. Dr. Arleen Azar-Mehr completed her orthodontic training at the University of Southern California, where she also received her Dental Degree and her Master’s Degree in Craniofacial Biology. Dr. Azar comes from a dental family. She is a third generation dentist. Her maternal grandfather was the first Dean of Dental School in Seoul National University in Korea. Her parents are both dentists and professors at the University of Southern California School of Dentistry. Her husband is also an orthodontist. In addition to her private practice, she previously taught at the Orthodontic Department at UCLA Dental School. Dr. Azar is currently the president of the USC Orthodontic Alumni Association. Dr. Azar is an active member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (PCSO), the California Association of Orthodontists (CAO) and the San Fernando Valley Dental Society (SFVDS).
Before making any decision about orthodontic treatment, consider doing some research and having a complimentary in-person consultation. Our friendly team is waiting to answer any of your questions and start you or your child on a path to a gorgeous smile. Call us for a complimentary consultation, at (818) 886-6666 or click here.
Here’s a recent article that I thought was interesting, on the partnership between one of the direct-to-consumer aligner companies and CVS: