In 2017, two college students started a fledgeling company, called Orthly, with the aim of providing their clients with high-quality transparent teeth aligners. At first, it may seem bizarre that neither of the founders major in anything to do with dental studies, but it makes more sense when you realize that they are only responsible for providing the product, while all dental related areas are covered by a qualified and board-licensed orthodontist. Essentially Dandy, as they are now known, are facilitators who have the experts do what they do best.
Today we’ll be taking a look at Dandy, their treatment process and what may just be the new norm in orthodontics
At first, if you had crooked teeth, that was your lot in life. Then the metal wire braces we all know and despise were invented. But it was no quick and painless solution. It was actually a lengthy and sometimes painful process that could take years filled with countless visits to the dentist before you even saw an improvement in your smile. And to top it all off, it wasn’t cheap, with the cost being anywhere from $3,000 to $8,000.
Just over two decades ago a new solution arrived – Invisalign. While not perfect, it was a huge improvement over traditional wire braces. However, treatment could last more than a year and it was still just as expensive.
Then in 2017, we started to see the rise of at-home aligners. Nearly invisible, some of the companies in the at-home market claimed that their aligners could take straighten teeth only 3 months, with the entire process overseen by a qualified orthodontist rather than just a dentist. Some even claimed that the entire process could be done from home.
As we move towards 2020, 3D scanners and printers are no longer prohibitively expensive. In fact, they are now cheap enough to be found in the offices of every orthodontist. These scanners and printers are now being used by orthodontists partnering with Dandy (formerly Orthly) to make aligner treatment even more accessible and effective than before.
Until recently, Orthly was only available in two states. However, the company recently underwent a major rebranding exercise in anticipation of the launch of its services being expanded across the entire US in 2020.
It’s important to note that Dandy is not just another at-home aligner company. Neither is it a clone of Invisalign. It is positioning itself somewhere between the two and claim to offer the benefits of both with the drawbacks of neither.
Since Dandy’s process is unique compared to the previous reviews we have done on brands providing at-home aligner treatment, we will be going into greater detail with their process.
The very first thing you need to do is visit www.meetdandy.com. Once you have gone through the site, read up on their offering and are interested in giving them a go, it’s time to find out if their treatment is suitable for your particular case by answering the online questionnaire.
Firstly, you will need to fill in your personal details. These include your name, email address and mobile contact number. Once you have filled in the above info, you will receive a 6-digit code on your mobile. Enter this code on the site and click on “Continue”.
Next, you will be shown a number of pictures illustrating various orthodontic issues (crowding, spacing, crookedness, etc). Select the picture that most resembles your condition. If it is deemed that you might be suitable for treatment, you will be asked to book your “snapshot”.
The snapshot is a half an hour appointment with a Dandy partner orthodontist closest to your location. During this session, they will perform an intra-oral scan, x-rays and take photos of your teeth. They will also perform a general oral hygiene check-up. The 3D scans act as a highly detailed and accurate plan that will be used to create your custom aligners and provide a far more realistic model than the putty moulds used by some of the companies offering at-home aligner treatment. Thanks to the latest in dental technology, your visit should be a painless and pleasant experience.
Back to the website, you will now need to enter your zip code so that the system can check to see if a Dandy partner orthodontist. If there is one close to you, you now need to choose a day and time for your appointment.
Now that the online process is complete, the next thing you need to do is go for your snapshot appointment where they will perform the intra-oral scan, x-rays, take photos and perform the general oral hygiene check-up.
Within 72 hours of your appointment, if you have been approved for Dandy’s teeth alignment treatment, you will receive your personal treatment plan and a 3D preview of what your smile will look like at the end of your aligner treatment. If you are happy to proceed, your aligners will be shipped straight to your door so your treatment can begin.
The next step is to visit your app store (either Google Play for Android users or the App Store for those with iPhones), download and register with Dandy’s smartphone app. The app is one of the biggest things to set Dandy apart from the countless other companies providing aligner treatment. It allows you to be in contact with both Dandy and your orthodontist. It also serves as your go-to for all things related to your treatment, allowing you to view general information on the brand and everything to do with the process of aligner treatment as well as the details of your particular orthodontist, the date of your next check-up with your orthodontist, communicate any problems you may be experiencing via the instant chat function, viewing before and after treatment pics, track your aligner shipment and monitor your aligner tray cycles.
Unlike some other aligner companies, Dandy does not have one price for all approach. For those with mild to moderate alignment needs, the cost for the aligner treatment comes in at $1,900, while those requiring more severe alignment treatment can expect to pay around $2,600. The snapshot, which includes a full dental check-up and teeth cleaning, valued at $200, is free. However, any extra dental work you may elect to have done that is not related to the aligner treatment will be charged for. As your impressions are taken by an expert during this session, there is no need to purchase an impression kit, which some companies charge up to almost $100 for.
In terms of price, this sets Dandy right alongside companies offering at-home alignment, even though the level of service you receive is closer to Invisalign. The cost of Invisalign can be anywhere between $3,000 to $8,000, which is on par the total cost of traditional metal braces.
Clients who choose to go for a monthly payment plan rather than paying the full amount upfront can expect to pay from $88 per month over 24 months, through 3-rd party finance provider Affirm.
For those who would like to make use of dental insurance, Dandy will file for the insurance to cover 50% of your treatment. Clients wanting to take advantage of the tax breaks that apply to orthodontic treatment will be glad to hear that Dandy accepts payment from FSA and HSA.
Unlike at-home aligner treatment provider where everything is done at home and there is no in-person involvement from a dental expert, Dandy is not regarded as e-commerce. This is despite the fact that Dandy makes use of digital technology in a far more effective manner and still allows you the benefits that come with consulting an orthodontist in person.
While you do need to see the orthodontist in-person, your aligners will have delivered right to your door.
Because Dandy’s treatment process involves an actual examination by an orthodontist, they are able to treat clients with a wider range of dental issues than at-home aligner companies who deal exclusively with those only suffering from mild to moderate orthodontic issues.
As you can see with the sections above, there are several advantages to using Dandy and not that many drawbacks. You may have noticed that having to see an orthodontist in-person is listed as both a pro and a con. This is because there are many benefits to have an expert in teeth straitening examine your teeth, as opposed to the single negative of the inconvenience the appointment may cause.
So, who would we recommend Dandy to? Well, everyone. But particularly those who may have more severe orthodontic issues. While most of the at-home aligner companies will only treat those with mild to moderate conditions, Dandy’s orthodontist partners may be able recommend a course of aligner treatment for those at-home aligner companies may not treat.
We really hope more of the companies in the aligner market follow some of Dandy’s cues – most notably the inclusion of the free in-person session with an orthodontist and the smartphone app, which serves as your one-stop Dandy shop once your treatment has begun.