Subscription services now exist for everything from digital media, to clothing, to wine. The newest right-to-your-door trend has arrived in Canada – orthodontic treatment by mail. By subscribing to this service, a series of clear aligners is delivered to your door by mail, and you periodically touch base with a representative at the company. At first glance, this might seem like the perfect solution for busy professionals and families, but remote orthodontic treatment has its disadvantages. With a subscription service, your contact with a dental professional is limited. Patients of these services have reported as little as one in-person visit in an entire year of treatment, and only in the very beginning, for a digital scan of the teeth, and not with a dentist or orthodontist. Sometimes this initial intake interview isn’t even in person – it’s done through a video call. Patients submit selfies to the company, who then ‘craft’ a treatment plan, based on limited information. Treatment through these types of services is mostly left to you – self-serving your own orthodontic needs. This type of care turns you into a customer, not a patient. With orthodontics by mail, your diagnosis and treatment plan are superficial. A proper diagnosis needs a personal dental professional touch. An accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of a patient’s needs takes more than a few selfies – it takes an in-depth review of medical history, an up-close and detailed review of x-rays and scans of the mouth, and a thorough understanding of a patient’s personal habits, concerns, and goals. There is more to a diagnosis and treatment plan than simply straightening teeth that can be seen in a selfie. An in-person analysis allows the orthodontist to analyze the entire mouth and create a custom treatment plan that takes everything into consideration, fixes the ENTIRE smile, not just the front six teeth, and has a greater chance of long term sustainability and success. Your aligners-by-mail won’t even begin to address the after-care and retention needed after initial treatment. So be wary of the allure of this kind of service. While it may seem like it’s catering to you by arriving on your doorstep, there is much more to be taken into consideration if you’re looking for the long-lasting, healthy smile of your dreams.