From Selfie to Straight Teeth Instantly


Achieving a Better, Straighter Smile Isn't as Easy as You Think. 


You may have noticed lately that some online direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies have been making orthodontic treatment sound super easy…Just take a selfie and make an impression of your teeth. You’ll receive aligners in the mail and after a few months…BAM! Straight teeth!

While it may initially sound great to save money and buy your orthodontic treatment directly online without having to talk to anyone at all. The reality is…you aren’t getting the treatment for less. You are simply purchasing a product and opting out of the many important aspects that make orthodontics work. The money you save today may end up costing you thousands of dollars in future corrective action. Even worse, it may cause you a great deal of discomfort, pain, and a worse smile down the road. Consider this question: What other transforming medical treatment would you undergo without an in-person, pre-treatment evaluation or ongoing in-person supervision from a medical professional?

Before you decide to proceed with a direct-to-consumer orthodontic company, Dr. Hook, his team, and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) believe there are a number of factors and questions you may want to consider. For example, in some instances direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies do not involve the in-person evaluation or the in-person supervision of your orthodontic treatment by an orthodontist. An in-person evaluation and in-person supervision throughout treatment are be very important, because there is more to creating a healthy, beautiful smile than moving the visible portions of your teeth.

Orthodontic treatment involves the movement of biological material, which if not done correctly could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues. If you are researching orthodontic treatment, here are a few questions you may want to consider:
  1. Are you comfortable starting orthodontic treatment without comprehensive diagnostic records? 
  2. Are you comfortable with orthodontic treatment that does not involve any in-person visits with an orthodontist? 
  3. Do you know if your teeth and gums are healthy enough for orthodontic treatment? 
  4. What are the possible risks (financial, health, etc.) associated with your orthodontic treatment? 
  5. Who is responsible for detecting any issues that may occur during your orthodontic treatment? 
  6. If an issue arises during your treatment, how will it be handled and who will be responsible for handling it? 
  7. If an emergency arises, does the company have an orthodontist in your area that you can see in-person? 
  8. If you are injured or have a dispute involving your orthodontic treatment, what rights do you have against the person or company involved with your orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is a major medical procedure. This is precisely why orthodontists require extensive training and education before they can begin performing treatments. Proper orthodontic treatment must include:
  • X-rays of your teeth and jaws 
  • Clinical examination of your jaw alignment, teeth, bite, and relationship of your teeth to your bone structures 
  • Digital scans and/or impressions of your teeth 
  • Multiple available treatment options explained by a licensed professional who can provide the best recommended course of treatment and determine if you are even healthy enough for orthodontic treatment 
  • Regular, in-person consultations to evaluate the progress of your treatment and make necessary adjustments 
  • Personal interaction with a trusted professional who can explain the risks and answer all your questions 
  • Access to a licensed professional who can help immediately if you have an issue or emergency during the course of your treatment
Remember…orthodontic treatment is not a product or device. Orthodontic treatment is a professional, medical service. When your care is personally supervised by an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, you are assured that your orthodontist spent years in a post-doctoral residency program focused on providing orthodontic treatment to patients.

Today’s patients demand convenience and reduced cost wherever possible. Thanks to the internet, everyone can try to be their own orthodontist and diagnose themselves. Of course, these self-diagnoses are often wrong, and only trained orthodontic specialists, like Dr. Hook, can provide the corrective course of treatment that’s best for your health.

If you are thinking about ordering aligners online without seeing a licensed orthodontist first, we strongly encourage you to schedule a free orthodontic consultation Hook Orthodontics before clicking that buy button. Dr.Hook and his team sincerely care about your smile, and we will take the time to discuss the pros and cons of all your treatment options with you. Based on that consultation, we may not even deter you from purchasing your aligners directly online. At the end of the day, what we care about most is the health and happiness of our patients, and the beautiful smile they achieve is simply a reflection of that.

Before making any decision about orthodontic treatment, consider doing some research and having an in-person consultation with Dr. Hook at any of our three Oahu locations.

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