Your Orthodontist vs. Do It Yourself Aligners – Part 2

June 21, 2019

At Somerville Orthodontics, it is our goal to do everything we can to educate our patients. Lets work together as a team to help create your best smile. The purpose of our blog is to provide information so that you, the patient can make an informed decision.

Today’s article is Part 2 of Your Orthodontist vs. Do It Yourself Aligners. If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can access it here.

In Part 2 will we will dissect some of the other claims that Company X makes about clear aligner treatment.

Treatment Time and Cost

Company X makes two claims to try and attract you to their product. First, they claim that the treatment time is limited to 6 months. Second, the cost of treatment is less than treatment with your orthodontist.

Treatment Time

Orthodontic treatment, regardless of the technique used (metal braces, clear braces, clear aligners), involves: 1. Alignment of the teeth for a nice smile, 2. The functional and health aspects of your bite/occlusion and 3. The position of your teeth within your jaw and face.

Every patient starts off with a different bite and has different expectations and esthetic goals. Therefore, it is impossible to give an accurate estimate of treatment time without first thoroughly evaluating your specific bite and concerns. Treatment time also depends on many other factors including your compliance with the prescribed treatment, oral hygiene and your own anatomy and physiology.

The orthodontist will evaluate your individual case and present a variety of treatment options to address your specific goals and concerns. He will also explain the risks and limitations of each treatment option so that you can make an informed decision. The estimated treatment time will depend on the type of plan that you and your orthodontist select together.


In most orthodontic offices, the cost of treatment is linked to the treatment time. In general, if a treatment plan is more complicated due to a complex initial bite or high esthetic expectations, the time of treatment will be longer. Therefore the cost of treatment will be higher.

Company X compares their fees to the average cost of treatment for a teenage patient. Most teenagers require approximately 18 months of treatment to straighten the teeth, correct the bite, make sure that the roots of the teeth are in a good and healthy position, and provide maximum smile esthetics and facial balance. Company X does NOT addresses all of these critical aspects of comprehensive treatment. It is obvious then that the cost and the treatment time with Company X will be less than with your orthodontist!

If you simply want to straighten your teeth, most orthodontists will be able to offer you that as a treatment option over a similar treatment time and cost. The main difference is that your orthodontist will also be able to explain why that is not always the best option for the long term health of your teeth, smile and tooth position within your jaws and face.

Doctor Directed At Home

Company X claims that your assigned doctor can monitor your treatment over the computer without the need for any in office visits. This may sound great for busy parents, students with many extra curricular activities, or the over-worked millennial who can’t make time to visit the orthodontist.

As I discussed in Part 1, your orthodontist needs to monitor your progress in person so he can directly visualize how your treatment is going. If something appears to be off track, wouldn’t you want to be able to make any necessary adjustments as soon as possible?

Your orthodontist has been educated for an additional 6-7 years after college in dental terminology, anatomy, occlusion, biomechanics and growth and development. Do you feel comfortable trying to explain your concerns about these complex topics to a Company X dentist remotely? Or would you rather visit a professional in an office setting to show the orthodontist exactly what you are seeing and feeling?

Most patients who are treated in an office setting visit the orthodontist every 10-12 weeks. If you have no concerns and the treatment is progressing according to plan, these visits are stress free and can be coordinated around your busy schedule. At Somerville Orthodontics we try to provide the most convenient hours for all of our patients.

Final Thoughts

The purpose of this post is to encourage discussion and educate. I am not trying to talk negatively about Company X, but I want you, the patient, to understand the benefits and limitations associated with obtaining treatment from a do it yourself company. In the end, that is most important.

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If you have any other questions about Company X and At-Home-Aligners, or have a suggestion regarding a blog post, please contact us at 617-227-2421 or

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