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Why Orthodontists are Concerned about At-Home Aligners

Invisalign clear aligners are the most popular teeth straightening option requested by patients in orthodontist offices. Paid advertising by individual orthodontists and the Invisalign company keep patients flowing into dentist offices to get their perfect straight smile. 

The Distributor

At-home aligners have been disrupting the industry by offering clear aligner teeth straightening treatment remotely and at a lower price. A surprising fact is that at-home aligners don’t need to worry about advertising because customers go on YouTube and make their own review videos that promote the company for free. 

One of the YouTube videos of the popular teeth straightening company has been watched by more than 900,000 people. The market opportunity for teeth straightening industry can reach 124 million potential customers located in the United States or half a billion worldwide. According to market prices, the total addressable market is almost $1 trillion worldwide. 

Local Dentist Reach

Local orthodontists don’t have the same market reach because their office is located in specific areas of the country and usually only locals visit the office. Unfortunately, not many patients think of making a YouTube video to discuss how great their orthodontist is and how Invisalign treatment has changed their life for the better. 

What are at-home aligners? 

You might be wondering how at-home aligners are disrupting the orthodontics industry. The best way to explain it is they provide a generic version of Invisalign clear aligner teeth straightening treatment without ever having to see the patient. 

Direct-to-Consumer

Their direct-to-consumer approach hypes up the fact the patient never has to go to the orthodontist during the treatment process which often makes consumers happy.

Emergencies

Consumers are happy until there is an emergency with their treatment and they don’t know where to run when they experience severe pain due to issues with their aligners. 

All patients won’t experience pain but many consumers are willing to take the chance of not having access to an orthodontist just to lock in the lower price. 

Expired Invisalign Patent

Recently, Invisalign came off-patent and now orthodontists are finding their business model disrupted. Seeing an orthodontist for teeth straightening treatment is essential to getting the best results and care. Other teeth straitening companies send a kit to your house so you can take your own teeth molds and send them to a remote dentist that looks at them online and decides your treatment plan. 

Cost

Invisalign treatment that includes office visits and one-on-one attention with an orthodontist often costs between $5,000 to $8,000 while at-home clear aligners charges around $1,895 for their remote service. Consumers are attracted to the lower cost which made the company’s growing revenue reach $586 million in sales over the past four quarters. Revenue is expected to reach more than $1 billion over the next four quarters. 

Invisalign Cost

Initial ExamFree - $250
Invisalign$3,000 - $8,000
Replacement retainers (set)$350 - $600

At-home Aligners Cost

PlanPaymentCost:
Single Pay 1 time payment $1,850
SmilePay$250 down payment and
$80 a month for 24 months.
$2,170

Orthodontists Fight Back

The American Association of Orthodontists and the American Dental Association are concerned about getting undercut which has led to numerous lawsuits against the actions at-home aligners. 

The American Association of Orthodontists has taken extraordinary steps by running video ads explaining the reason consumers need to visit an orthodontist for teeth straightening treatment. 

Why choose a local orthodontist?

A highly important reason to see an orthodontist for clear aligner teeth straightening treatment is to eliminate any hidden oral issues that can become a painful situation during treatment. Sometimes teeth molds don’t reveal serious underlying issues such as gum disease and other serious problems. Taking molds of teeth in the comfort of your own home will never compare to professional attention and guidance offered by an orthodontist.

Orthodontists fear that consumers are getting misled by teledentistry companies and blinded by the convenience and low cost instead of focusing on their overall oral health and access to an orthodontist during treatment. 

Receiving Invisalign teeth straightening treatment at an orthodontist office is always going to be more beneficial due to the direct access to a licensed and experienced orthodontist. This will always remain true no matter how low at-home kits make their prices! 

About Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling, D.M.D., P.C., 

Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling, D.M.D., P.C., also known to her patients as Dr. Jacquie Smiles is an NYC orthodontist, she became a spokesperson for Invisalign Teen treatment which was featured on the Tyra Bank’s show in 2009. Dr. Jacquie teaches and certifies students and orthodontic residents in many of our dental schools and universities in the U.S. and Canada. She has also taught over 14,000 doctors, students and their teams in multiple areas of orthodontics throughout the world including North and South America, Europe, Asia, The Caribbean, and the Middle East.

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