Blog

Schedule Appointment
Back To Blog

What You May Be Missing with Online Orthodontics

Many people wish to have a straighter smile. Most people who want a straighter smile want it quickly and easily, which is why clear aligners, and more specifically, online orthodontics have become increasingly popular. While these services are incredibly appealing for their direct-to-your-door convenience and relative ease, there are several important trade-offs when comparing them to traditional orthodontics. In fact, both the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists have released statements regarding their concerns over online orthodontics. 

But what’s the big deal? Here’s what you may be missing with online orthodontics:
  1. There are No Comprehensive Exams

    The best way to ensure that any orthodontic treatment will work properly starts with an in-depth evaluation. Initial X-rays of teeth and jaws, digital scans of your mouth, and a clinical examination of your jaw alignment, teeth, bite, and possible oral health concerns are all vital to determining the best treatment option for you. Online orthodontics may ask you to make a dental impression or get your teeth scanned, but there is no substitute for professional orthodontic exams before getting braces or other orthodontic appliances.

  2. There’s No Supervised Treatment

    One of the biggest drawbacks of online orthodontics is the fact that you don’t have regular orthodontist appointments. While this may seem like a plus for people with a busy lifestyle who feel they don’t have the time, orthodontic treatment is a complicated process that needs to be guided by a professional. Regular consultations are needed to evaluate your progress and allow the orthodontist to make necessary adjustments along the way. Seeing an orthodontist on a regular basis also means that you can receive immediate care in case of issues or emergencies, which you will have to seek out on your own if you use online orthodontics.

  3. Clear Aligners Aren’t for Everyone

    Many people think that orthodontics only moves teeth, but the truth is that orthodontic treatment is a combination of adjusting the teeth, jaw, bite pattern, and facial bones of patients. Online orthodontics doesn’t treat jaw issues or bite problems, and not treating those while straightening teeth can cause more severe issues. Depending on your needs, you may need traditional braces or other appliances for proper treatment. Not using the correct treatment methods runs the risk of causing damage that can be irreversible or extremely costly to fix. In fact, some online orthodontic companies will have you sign an informed consent form before treatment releasing them from liability of dental issues or damage caused by using their services.

  4.  The Little Things Matter

    There are several other things that may make online orthodontic seem less appealing when you take the time to think of them. The first thing you may deal with is that you may need to make any dental impressions yourself before receiving aligners. Making dental impressions on your own is not as easy as it may seem, and it’s easy to make a mistake and create a bad dental impression. If this happens, you will need to receive a replacement kit and try again.

    This leads to the second thing to think about: Time. You may spend a lot of time waiting. Impression kits (or replacements), your aligners (and your replacement aligners as you progress through the treatment process), or anything else they may send you by mail can take some time for you to receive, during which your teeth aren’t being treated properly.

    Another huge difference between traditional orthodontics and online orthodontics is the modes of interaction. There’s simply no replacement for a doctor-patient relationship. An orthodontist will take the time to get to know you and really understand exactly what you need to receive the best treatment possible; on the other hand, dealing with customer service can be time-consuming, feel very impersonal, and may not be able to answer any questions you have satisfactorily.


Considering the best orthodontic treatment options for you should go beyond a couple of photos and a mail-in kit. Since 2003, Carlson Orthodontics has transformed the smiles of hundreds of patients through expertise and compassionate care; we’re truly committed to making every patient feel like a member of our family. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at the closest location near you today and let us help create a smile you can celebrate.
  • Duluth Office: 1901 South Street, Suite 2 – Duluth, MN(218) 727-3789
  • Cloquet Office: 708 Stanley Avenue – Cloquet, MN(218) 879-3794
  • Superior Office: 3701 Tower Avenue – Superior, WI(715) 392-0229
  • Hayward Office: 10541 N. Ranch Road – Hayward, WI(715) 292-5148
  • Ashland Office: 1419 Beaser Avenue – Ashland, WI(715) 682-5958
  • Ironwood Office: 250 Roosevelt Street – Ironwood, MI(906) 932-9720