The orthodontic industry is often associated with tremendous levels of anxiety from patients. It takes many months, sometimes years, of painful or uncomfortable treatment to get your teeth aligned. The traditional orthodontics industry, like the taxi industry, video store industry, public payphones, landlines, and countless other ‘mainstays’ of society is being upended as we speak. Innovative ways of providing high-quality orthodontics at cut-rate pricing is disrupting the industry, and orthodontists aren’t too happy about it.
In the days of yore, the only way to get pearly whites straightened was to frequent your dentist’s office over multiple appointments. Your options were limited to railway tracks in your teeth a.k.a. traditional braces, or the much-improved invisalign braces. As soon as patents on these products expired, scores of 3D printing companies jumped on the bandwagon and started offering clear aligners to clientele.
There are plenty of examples of companies to hit the scene, including: byte, SmileDirectClub, SnapCorrect, Candid, EasySmile, AlignerCO, and ClearCorrect, to name but a few. The typical costs of in-house orthodontic treatment are around $5000, depending on where you live. Besides the costs, there are the commutes, the wait times, the dental appointments, and the scheduling concerns to contend with.
What Are Online Braces and How Do They Work?
The list of providers offering online braces at home is growing in leaps and bounds. It comes as no surprise that these disruptive industries are booming – they saw an opening and they seized it. Given the novel coronavirus and the global lockdowns, more dental patients have signed up for the services of these leading companies. Known in some circles as ‘Teledentistry’ online braces now pepper the scene. Social distancing has definitely given lots of momentum to the at-home online braces industry. The costs are significantly cheaper than traditional orthodontics, with at least 50% + savings via the online option. In fact, there are online braces in all kind of prices from $10c00 to $3000+. That alone is reeling in anyone and everyone with imperfect teeth.
The process begins with HD pictures of your mouth and your teeth. These are usually sent in to the dentist or orthodontist at the online braces companies. Thanks to easily downloadable apps, you can take clear pictures and send them direct through your smartphone. The online consultation with an orthodontist will determine whether you are the right candidate for online braces. If so, you will receive a box of goodies from the orthodontist to make clay moulds of your teeth. The orthodontist will present you with their expectations for your treatment. Next, you will be sent a box of invisible aligners through the mail.
It may be necessary to upload photographs of the aligners for your orthodontist to ensure that they are the right fit. It is important not to be overly optimistic with online braces. They are efficacious for sure, but perhaps not to the degree that in-person, hands-on orthodontics can offer you, for obvious reasons. Provided your teeth are in reasonable condition, online orthodontics options can certainly yield positive results. You will be required to wear the aligners and retainers for a long time, so be prepared for that.
Perhaps the only technical element that patients have to consider is that of making a mould of your upper or lower teeth, to be sent back to the orthodontist. The aligners are expected to be worn for at least 22 hours per day for many of these companies. Every time you eat or drink, the aligners must be removed, teeth thoroughly cleaned, and then the aligners replaced back onto the teeth.
Be advised that there may be instances of pain, and paracetamol or acetaminophen may be necessary to deal with it, given that your teeth are literally being pulled into place by these aligners. Fortunately, the pain factor is temporary and within days is completely bearable.
Which Companies Are Leading the Online Braces Industry?
Source: SmileDirectClub – Stock Chart
Teeth straightening is at the forefront of the dental evolution. The traditional dental industry has already faced challenges in the form of at-home teeth whitening kits, which has all but eliminated the in-person experience at the dentist’s office. Now, the industry is facing another onslaught – that being online braces. There is limited scientific study of the efficacy of online braces, given the newness of this burgeoning industry. However, if user reviews are anything to go by, online braces are actually working.
Many companies offering online braces are reporting growing levels of demand, and a swelling list of satisfied customers. The traditional route of tooth aligners and braces is expensive and time-consuming. When it comes to reputable online braces companies, the numbers are growing all the time. By disrupting the traditional orthodontia industry, online braces companies are making inroads into the teeth straightening business in a big way. Consider that Invisalign, and manufacturer Align Technology reported $2 billion in global revenue for 2018. With all those patents expiring, it was only a matter of time before a paradigm shift took place in the industry.
A year ago, almost to the day on January 23, 2020, it was reported that SmileDirectClub announced the following statistics: They’ve provided online braces to 750,000 clients around the world, comprising 95% of the at-home clear aligner industry. The company is listed on the NASDAQ, with ticker SDC, at a price of $11.50 (January 19, 2021), with a 52-week high of $15.54 and a 52-week low of $3.64. At the time of writing, the company had a market capitalisation of $4.4 billion, and growing. The company is clearly a market leader, with a range of benefits provided to its customers, including the following:
• SDC accepts insurance
• SDC treatments take 4-6 months on average
• SDC online braces cost $1895, and monthly financing is available
With dozens of companies popping up all over the place, it’s imperative for customers to choose reputable providers of online braces. Read objective reviews on trusted sites such as BBB (Better Business Bureau), Trust Pilot, Angie’s List, Facebook groups, forums, and other review sites.
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