When clear aligners first popped up in the ‘90s, they were a game changer. Finally, people wanting to straighten their teeth could do so discreetly—no clunky metal, no stabby wires, no food stuck in their braces. The only downfall? Aligners still cost a pretty penny (roughly the same amount as traditional braces, so yeah, not cheap).
For a long time, clear-aligner pioneer Invisalign had a lock on the market. In fact, it’s probably what comes to mind when you hear the phrase “invisible aligners.” But we saw an opportunity to do things differently. With Dandy, we’ve created a new treatment model, one that takes advantage of clear aligner technology but makes it way more accessible (read: cheaper)—and way more convenient.
Dandy vs. Invisalign
The reason Invisalign costs about the same as braces—between $3,500 and $8,000, depending on your treatment—is because it works with dentists and orthodontists who sell the product to the customer (versus the customer paying Invisalign directly). A cut goes back to Invisalign, who provides the aligners, and the remainder covers the dentist’s office’s overhead and labor fees. The latter is necessary because Invisalign patients have to see a doctor multiple times—first to get a scan of their mouth, then every six to eight weeks for a checkup and new aligner trays.
Dandy aligners, on the other hand, cost less than half that (simple cases are $1,900, while more complex ones are capped at $2,600). We’re able to make them so much cheaper because we’ve streamlined the process. Most Dandy patients only have to see a dentist once—for an initial checkup, digital scan, and X-rays. Once the treatment is ready, we ship each new aligner tray directly to the patient and monitor their progress through our app. This keeps costs low while ensuring customers still get high-quality care. A win-win, if you will.
The Doctor Stays in the Picture
Of course, we’re not the only company trying to make aligners more accessible. However, most direct-to-consumer aligner companies save you money by cutting out in-person dentist visits altogether. Instead, they send you a DIY kit in the mail, and you use putty-like molds to take impressions of your mouth. While this sounds great in theory (don’t have to leave the house? Awesome!), the molds are messy and prone to user error, often resulting in poorly fitting aligners or, worse, damage to your teeth.
Because patients don’t see a dentist, DTC companies can treat only very simple cases. Most mail-order aligners straighten just the front six teeth (called the “social six” because they’re most prominent when you smile), which can actually ruin your bite.
Unlike other DTC goods like mattresses or razors, aligners aren’t just a product, they’re a medical treatment, and they require medical supervision. In-person dentist visits are necessary to make sure the patient is a candidate for aligners, identify any potential issues, and take care of things like IPR or fillings before they begin treatment.
We are all about making orthodontics more affordable, but we would never put our patients’ health at risk to do so. That’s why we always begin with an in-person checkup, where a licensed professional can do a thorough examination and take your full mouth health into account. By combining local dentists with e-commerce and telemedicine, we’re able to give you the very best care at a fraction of the price.
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