You've probably seen the ads for "DIY Braces" on the television, maybe ads on Facebook or different publications. These have become a very hot-button topic in the dental world as they offer the comfort of dentistry and orthodontics from home at a fraction of the cost. But is this too good to be true? Do you get what you pay for? You bet! Absolutely to both! If you visit the American Dental Association site as well as that of the American Association of Orthodontics, you will find a plethora of articles discouraging this method of treatment, reports to the Better Business Bureau and lawsuits against specific companies offering these services, and all for extremely valid reasons. The American Dental Association has even filed a Citizen's Petition with the FDA against one company in particular.
If you or a loved one may be looking to improve your smile, here are some significant reasons to visit a specialist for your treatment:
1. The DIY process encompasses: 1. take a selfie, 2. take an at-home impression (this is something Ortho Techs are trained on for months), 3. Receive your aligners in the mail. 4. Wear them. What if they don't fit? What if they crack? What is your treatment plan?
2. Because this process is done outside of an office, there is no way for a doctor to evaluate an individual's teeth and gums to ensure they are healthy enough for treatment. At a consultation, the doctor can learn a great deal about the medical and dental history, and background of a patient to best prescribe the most effective course of treatment. Doctors find in some patients treatment can actually be too risky to the life of individual teeth.
3. Movement of teeth and the altering of a bite should be overseen by an Orthodontist at all phases of the treatment. DIY allows for sloppy treatment and results, which can have long-term health problems and potential damage as they cannot take into consideration the health of the individual teeth. In almost all cases, to correct a bite will require intervention from an Orthodontist or dental professional at some time as these aligners themselves are unable to fix this issue - which means more money later on. Many people have reported discomfort upon completing these DIY appliances as they have moved teeth enough to cause the bite to be uncomfortable.
4. For any issues or emergencies you may have with these DIY appliances, these companies can't consult. They would require you visit a local Orthodontist or dentist - who likely won't be able to help as these specialists use different appliances of superior quality, and furthermore it is considered unethical for doctors to tinker with the work of other doctors while in treatment.
5. Damage caused by these unattended appliances can be irreparable. Period.
If you have any questions, or would like more information on Orthodontics please feel free to call our office M-TH and talk with our amazing team!