Do-It-Yourself Orthodontic Treatment
In today’s world, you can buy just about anything on the internet, including do-it yourself orthodontic treatment using clear aligners to straighten your teeth. There are companies advertising clear aligners that can be done at home which produce the same results as professional treatment for significantly less money. The process involves taking a set of impressions (molds) and photos of yourself at home, mailing them to the company, and then receiving sets of clear aligners that you wear to move your own teeth in a few months.
We understand that everyone wants to save money in any way they can. However, DIY orthodontic treatment is dangerous and can permanently damage your teeth. For example, there are people who have attempted to close spaces between their teeth using rubber bands as discussed in this New York Times article. As seen in the images below, this can harm the gums and connective tissue, resulting in irreversible damage and tooth loss.
As orthodontic specialists and Premier Invisalign providers, our doctors have gone through years of extensive training to learn how to safely move teeth. Therefore, we have concerns about DIY systems which we have listed below.
- X-rays and Exam: The patient’s entire condition should be evaluated and diagnosed with an exam and x-ray. During our one hour complimentary consultations, our doctors discuss your concerns about your teeth, examine the entire oral cavity, and come up with a treatment plan specific to your personal needs. We do not believe a set of photos and molds taken for DIY treatment is enough to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. There are also cases that are too complex to be treated within the price range and time being advertised by these companies.
- Accurate Impressions/Molds: For clear aligner treatment to work properly, the impressions/molds of your teeth must be accurate. It is not an easy task to have a person with no dental experience produce an accurate impression.
- Medical Oversight: The effectiveness of orthodontic appliances, including clear aligners, depends on the skill of the doctor designing and performing the treatment. A digital simulation of your teeth on a computer screen may show them getting straighter, but human teeth in real life don’t always respond in the same way. This is why you need an actual doctor overseeing your treatment to make sure the tooth movements are reasonable and realistic.
- Regular Treatment Visits: Even in the most simple cases, there are times when the aligners do not move the teeth in the proper direction. When we see patients in person at their regular visits, we check to make sure the teeth are tracking correctly. If they are not, then our doctors have the expertise to know when to make the necessary changes/adjustments. In a DIY system, there is no way for a patient to know whether their treatment is progressing as planned.
- Customized Retainers: Retainers are essential in maintaining treatment results long-term. At our office, we offer different types of custom retainers (permanent and removable) based on what will stabilize your teeth the best, and we monitor your results for years after you complete treatment. With DIY treatment, retainers are not customized to your individual needs, and long-term results are not guaranteed.
We believe your teeth and smile are too important to rely on a system that is not taking your individual needs into account. Our doctors at Papasikos Orthodontics have tons of experience with clear aligner and Invisalign treatment and are the ONLY Premier Invisalign providers in Montclair and Glen Ridge, NJ. To learn more about our treatment options, contact our office to schedule your free consultation.