With many areas still in quarantine, telemedicine has become a popular alternative to seeing a doctor or dentist in person. While telemedicine is a good way to get some things checked out, it doesn’t always go far enough – after all, you can’t get a cleaning over a Zoom call!
Telemedicine also raises questions about how adequate braces by mail are. After all, this new form of orthodontics is done almost exclusively remotely, leaving the patient to handle their own treatment with very little guidance. But if telemedicine can work in a pinch, can it work in the long term?
The short answer is probably not. The reason we go to an orthodontic specialist or dentist for our braces is because straightening the teeth is a complicated process that requires micro adjustments to the teeth to keep the alignment on the right track. If something goes wrong, your practitioner can easily correct it -something that can be missed with telemedicine services such as by-mail braces. In fact, there is currently a class action lawsuit against one major by-mail braces company that alleges the products are “defective and falsely represented.”
So, what can you do if you’re ready to make the commitment to braces but need to hold off due to quarantine?
Our advice? Wait.
Braces by mail have proven to be risky because of the long-distance nature and inability to catch small mistakes that can make a big impact on your treatment. It is in your best interest to hold out just a bit longer until dental clinics start to open back up to ensure that your orthodontic treatment goes smoothly and no permanent damage will be caused to your teeth and their alignment.
As for telemedicine, it’s great for dental emergencies if you aren’t able to be seen by a dentist in your area due to quarantine. For routine care, it’s best to wait until the quarantine is fully lifted in your area, or until you feel safe and comfortable returning to your practitioner’s office.
If you do have any questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Mingus’ office to discuss them or schedule an appointment.