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Considering At-Home Aligners? Here’s What You Should Know

By June 16, 2020July 22nd, 2022Orthodontics
at home aligners in a case

You’ve been wanting to straighten your teeth for a while but, for one reason or another, you haven’t started treatment. Maybe braces, Invisalign or 3M Clarity aligners are out of your budget, or maybe you don’t want to wait a year or more for your brand new smile. These obstacles may have you considering an at-home teeth straightening solution, such as a mail-order aligner system.

These systems promise fast results, they’re cheaper than traditional treatment methods and they’ll even be delivered directly to your door. Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is. At best, mail-order orthodontic systems can be ineffective. At worst, they can cause significant damage to your teeth. At The Brace Place, we believe everyone should have access to orthodontic care — but unless you see a professional, you’re not getting the treatment you deserve.

Before you start DIY orthodontic treatment, we encourage you to read this post. Here’s the truth about mail-order aligners and why professional treatment from Tulsa’s highly trained orthodontic specialist is always the best decision.

What are DIY and At-Home Orthodontics?

These days, you can order pretty much anything online. It was only a matter of time before orthodontics was the latest industry to join the on-demand movement. You’ve probably seen the ads popping up on Facebook and Instagram, promising straighter teeth in six months (or less), all from the comfort of your own home. It’s a quick (and cheaper) answer to a problem you’ve been wanting to solve for years, so it makes complete sense that you’d be tempted to try it out.

These direct-to-consumer orthodontic systems claim to function in the same way as professional orthodontic treatments like Invisalign. And here’s the bonus: the clear, plastic aligners will guide your teeth into the ideal position in a fraction of the time. The reality, though, is that there’s no “quick fix” when it comes to orthodontics. It requires expert knowledge and care from a trained professional.

Do-it-yourself aligners are billed as the latest and greatest solution for getting straighter teeth. But it’s one thing to build your own coffee table — it’s quite another to straighten your own teeth. Not only is this irresponsible, it can be downright dangerous. By taking your orthodontic treatment into your own hands, you could be doing more harm than good.

The Dangers of At-Home Orthodontic Systems

Before we dive into the cons of at-home orthodontics, we need to acknowledge that there are some positives of mail-order clear aligners. It’s true that these systems can be effective for simple cases, and they are a cheaper alternative to Invisalign. But these few benefits are flimsy and don’t compare to the potential dangers they may cause. Here are some of the downsides of DIY orthodontic treatments and why Dr. Patel cautions against them:

  • They’re not backed by science. Mail-order and high-speed orthodontic systems make unrealistic, unproven promises. The length of your orthodontic treatment is based on your unique situation and cannot be rushed.
  • You don’t get the expertise of a professional orthodontist. With DIY systems, there’s no orthodontist involved, no regulations and no guarantees for results. In fact, a dentist only has to take a weekend course to offer these systems, whereas an orthodontist has years of speciality training to provide professional orthodontic care.
  • Inaccurate treatment leads to inaccurate results. Professional orthodontic treatments use dental x-rays and digital scans to get the most precise picture of what’s going on inside your mouth. DIY treatments rely on at-home impressions that cannot provide the data required to appropriately diagnose and treat your orthodontic concerns.
  • At-home systems don’t look at the total picture. DIY and certain accelerated orthodontic systems focus solely on straightening your front teeth and fail to address overall bite concerns. An orthodontist, on the other hand, considers the whole mouth — teeth, gums, jaw and surrounding facial structures — to help create the ideal smile for your face.
  • They may cause lasting damage. Mail-order orthodontic treatments likely will not produce the results you expect or the results won’t last. More importantly, they can cause serious damage to your teeth, jaw, gums and bite. This means you may need more extensive orthodontic treatment in the long run, so you’re better off doing it right the first time.

We understand the temptation to go for an at-home, high-speed orthodontic system instead of signing up for lengthy treatment with an orthodontist. But we can’t stress this enough: there’s an immeasurable difference between professional orthodontic treatment and what you can get at home. As Tulsa and Claremore’s orthodontist, Dr. Patel has the training, knowledge and expertise to provide the highest quality of care and help you get the smile you’ve always wanted.

Still have questions about why professional orthodontic systems are better than at-home clear aligners? Want to learn more about which treatment options are right for you? Book a consultation (in-person or virtual!) with The Brace Place today.