Nowadays, we live in a world of easy access– if we want something, we can typically order it and have it in hand pretty quickly. While mail order may be fine for clothes, decor and nik naks we find on Amazon, did we take it one step too far with DIY at-home aligners? Well, let’s just say this… dentists go to school for good reason.
While many DIY teeth straightening systems claim to have a dentist behind their brand, the problem is, the buyer doesn’t actually meet that dentist in person. You see, not everyone is a candidate for clear aligners. In fact, there can be serious complications associated with straightening your teeth without an x-ray prior. Through x-rays, the dentist can determine if your teeth are healthy enough to undergo orthodontics. If you choose to start straightening without checking this first, you could put yourself up for serious risk– even tooth loss.
The Risks of At-Home Clear Aligners
We get it, DIY aligners are appealing due to their low cost– but keep in mind that the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have both issued consumer warnings against at-home braces. In a traditional setting, your dentist or orthodontist would conduct an exam to determine if you are a candidate for braces or clear aligners– as well as monitor you throughout the entire process to ensure a healthy treatment plan.
Without this crucial step, you put yourself at risk for overlooking issues including tooth decay, abscessed teeth or gum infections that could be made much worse by imposing orthodontic treatment on top of them. What many people do not realize is that many oral conditions do not present any symptoms. That being said, it can be easy to assume you have a healthy smile when in fact, you are currently living with something that needs professional attention.
So now you’re probably asking yourself… If DIY aligners are so bad, why do I see so many success stories?
Well, while this is a risky job to take on at home, there can be success to it. Remember, not everyone is a candidate– but some individuals are. Typically, those individuals have undergone professional orthodontic treatment in the past and are experiencing relapse. Relapse occurs when the teeth have begun to shift from their corrected position. In this case, this shifting may be minor and not take much to straighten back up. Again, while some people may find success with self-treated braces, the ADA and AAO still do not recommend this despite who you are.
If you have been considering braces or clear aligners, we highly encourage you to pay a visit to a licensed dentist or orthodontist. While it may not be as cheap as your home bathroom, it could save you thousands in the long run. As always, it’s better safe than sorry!