Importance of Diagnostic Exams

To get the best results from your clear aligner treatment, ensure your doctor is taking complete diagnostics.

Demand for aesthetic orthodontic treatments is increasing as more people are seeking alternatives to traditional metal braces. Clear aligners are a convenient and comfortable option for orthodontic treatment. As such, they have gained immense popularity over the past decade. With this demand, many online options have become available. So how do you choose? The first thing to consider is what tests and diagnostics they require prior to treatment.

First step in evaluating an at-home aligner treatment program is to ensure they require comprehensive diagnostics.

Rule number one? Avoid the “goop.” Also referred to as ‘at-home impressions.’ While at-home impressions are very popular among some online clear aligner companies, we do not recommend them, as there is a lot of room for error.

Keep reading to find out what should be included in your initial exam prior to getting your clear aligner treatment plan:

1. X-rays

X-rays are a vital part of the treatment planning process. They determine the root health of the teeth. The x-ray is the only way a doctor can ensure that the roots are strong enough to support movement. Without them, patients run the risk of losing teeth during treatment. However, not all online clear aligner companies require x-rays prior to treatment. This could be changing. In 2019, the State of California passed a law that requires dentists and orthodontists to review x-rays before treating orthodontic patients.

Think of it like this, how comfortable would you feel with a dietitian, whom you never met, giving you a meal plan without first asking you if you have food allergies, diabetes, or even like avocados? It just doesn’t make sense. And neither does moving teeth without seeing if they’re healthy enough to be moved.

2. Periodontal Exam

The second item to include in your pre-treatment preparation is a periodontal exam. This exam tests the gum line of each and every tooth. Testing the gum line reveals if the gum tissue is healthy or not. Moving teeth with unhealthy gum tissue can cause permanent damage, and even lead to tooth and gum tissue loss. At Clear Blue Smiles, we include periodontal exams are part of our process.

3. Three-dimensional scan or impressions of the teeth

Three-dimensional scans or impressions of the teeth allow our orthodontists to see what your tooth structure looks like and how your teeth align. When digital scans are not available, professional administered impressions can also provide the key information necessary to plan treatment.

4. Orthodontic photos

Orthodontic photos are pictures of your smile from the front and sides of your mouth. These photos help orthodontists see how your mouth relates to the rest of your facial aesthetics. Orthodontic treatment is a combination of art and science. Without these photos it’s hard to incorporate the art into your treatment.

5. Dental exam/clearance

This is a general exam to ensure patients do not have any cavities – or other general dental issues. Minor cavities don’t necessarily prohibit treatment, but it is best for the doctor to know if there are any larger issues that could interfere with treatment.

Orthodontics is not a commodity.

The process of orthodontic treatment is a comprehensive dental procedure that requires complete diagnostics taken by a dental professional. When you choose Clear Blue Smiles rest assured that you are receiving a higher standard of care and still receiving the convenience of at-home clear aligners. Ready to get started? Take our ‘Am I A Candidate’ quiz and get going today!

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