Many online orthodontic companies, such as SmileDirectClub, Candid Co., SmileLove, SnapCorrect, Orthly, etc., have been starting to offer direct-to-consumer services. They advertise these services as being easier and cheaper than visiting a traditional orthodontic center for teeth alignment.

Companies like these offer at-home impression kits at a 60% discount so you can easily send in your smile from the comfort of home and receive your personalized aligners in the mail. Sounds like it’s too good to be true right? That’s because if not done properly, this dream could easily turn into a nightmare. Before you decide to proceed with a direct-to-consumer company, there are some crucial questions and risks to consider before pinching pennies on your perfect smile.

  1. Are comprehensive diagnostic records like x-rays included in your treatment?


  • Are pre-treatment x-rays and pictures taken of your teeth, jaws, face, facial profile, and mouth?
  • Does your treatment include a clinical examination of your jaw alignment, teeth, bite, and skeletal structures?
  • Are digital scans or impressions included?

If NO:

  • Receiving a comprehensive examination by a licensed dentist or orthodontist prior to your treatment is crucial to receiving accurate results.
  • If your treatment does not include the above features, consider how comfortable you’d be risking problems from the get-go.
  • Consider if you’d be willing to visit another doctor to receive these exams, and the costs of choosing this route.


  1. Is only one treatment option being offered? (i.e. invisible retainers or a certain appliance)

If YES (only one option):

  • Every person’s oral situation is unique, how do you know that this is the best possible option for you without being able to explore other alternatives?

If NO (multiple options):

  • Who is making the decision about which option is the best for you and how is this decision being made?


  1. Do you receive in-person dentist or orthodontist visits included in your treatment?


  • How many and what occurs during these visits?
  • Is there a licensed dentist or orthodontist in office to supervise the visits? What are his/her credentials? In what state is he/she licensed?
  • What is his/her education, qualifications, and experience with orthodontics?
  • How can you contact him/her if an emergency arises?

If NO:

  • Occasional in-person check-ups are essential to ensuring that your dental treatment is going as planned with no complications.
  • If you cannot see a licensed doctor, how will you know if someone qualified is making sure everything is going smoothly?
  • How comfortable are you entrusting your teeth alignment with a person/company that you are unsure of their medical background?


  1. Who is responsible for detecting any issues that might arise during your treatment?
  • Is it you? Do you think that you would be able to detect any potential problems without a dentist or orthodontists help?
  • If the company has their own qualified doctor, is he/she available in-person if there are any complications? If not, who would cover the costs associated with visiting your local dentist or orthodontist?
  • If it is a doctor not associated with your treatments, who pays for these check-ups?
  • If an issue does arise, how exactly will it be handled?


  1. If you are injured or have another dispute involving your orthodontic treatment, how is it handled?
  • What rights do you have against the person or company involved in case of injury? Were you asked to sign any forms that release them from liability?
  • Does your treatment model comply with your state’s dental laws? To check, visit
  • Each state has their own complaint process. More information can be found at


Orthodontic treatment is not simply a product or a device, it is a professional, medical service. If not done correctly, improper treatments can result in serious and potentially permanent damage, including tooth loss, changed bites, and a multitude of other issues. Licensed orthodontists spend years perfecting the craft to ensure that your smile is at its most beautiful.

Although traditional orthodontic services are more expensive, without being able to meet with a dental professional you risk facing issues and complications. Before you race to get the best price on dental services, make sure you’re conducting proper research on direct-to-consumer companies or meeting with your local orthodontic professional for a consultation to discuss all of your options.

At Cooney Orthodontics, we provide the highest quality orthodontic care in the Albany, NY area. For more than 50 years we have been committed to helping adults, teens, and children achieve the smile they deserve. To ensure that you’re receiving the best dental care, follow these tips and get ready to embrace your new smile!

To learn more about our orthodontic services, pricing, or to book an appointment, visit