What is DIY Orthodontics and am I a Good Candidate?

DIY orthodontics refers to straightening your teeth at home without seeing an orthodontist for regular visits. Or maybe you’re attracted by the seemingly lower cost of DIY aligners. Whatever your reason for considering DIY orthodontics, here’s the key: Orthodontic aligners and all appliances use force to move your teeth, which means there is a possibility that treatment can go wrong or in an unexpected direction.

At Glow Orthodontics, we care about protecting your dental health and the ideal smile is the result of a well-informed patient working with an experienced professional. An educated patient knows what to expect from orthodontic treatment which for the most part is the non-surgical repositioning of teeth.

Let’s talk about the process of getting DIY clear aligners.

To have DIY aligners fabricated, you need an excellent image of your teeth and a precise plan showing how each tooth must move to improve your smile.

For the image, you can go to a storefront location to let a company representative scan a 3D image of your teeth, or you can pay for a kit that lets you take a DIY impression of your teeth at home.

The company representative sends your scan or impression to a dentist who’s licensed in your state. That dentist develops the plan for moving your teeth and emails you an image of what your teeth should look like when your DIY treatment is finished.

If you approve the email image, the dentist transmits your info to the company that makes the aligners. Soon, a box of aligners arrives at your front door and, like any DIY project, you follow the instructions for wearing your aligners.

Here are the top things that can go wrong with DIY clear aligner

DIY clear aligners sound safe because they’re developed by an in-state dentist, yet there’s significant potential for problems such as:

No checkups

You trust that the DIY process will work and that your teeth will end up just like the image you approved. However, you can’t be sure that will happen unless you have one-on-one time with an orthodontist who regularly evaluates the movement of each tooth while you wear the aligners. One DIY clear aligner company says that an in-state dentist will check back with you in 90 days, which is halfway through your six-month process.

That process just isn’t good enough. For starters, you need to visit an orthodontist frequently to get an assessment of your progress. More importantly, if your progress isn’t checked for a month or longer and your teeth haven’t moved properly, chances are you’ll need to restart with a new set of aligners. Or what if your teeth feel loose after you’ve worn one or more aligner trays?

Harm to the underlying bone

When you correct crooked teeth or eliminate a gap between two teeth, you’re doing a lot more than moving the visible part of your teeth — you’re also changing the bone that anchors the tooth.

Clear aligners work by placing continuous pressure against your teeth, which forces the targeted teeth to move. As the teeth move, the jaw eliminates bone that’s in the tooth’s way and rebuilds bone in the space where the tooth used to be. This process should be supervised by an orthodontist because problems can develop in the bone.

Untreated dental disease

Untreated gum disease erodes the jaw bone. If you wear clear aligners and force that additional pressure on a weak jaw bone, you can further damage the bone, end up with loose teeth, or even push a tooth out of the bone.

The only way to prevent this problem is to have one or more X-rays with a complete medical and dental exam to evaluate the health of your bones and teeth before getting aligners as well as your overall health.

Misaligned teeth

You may think of your aligner as nothing but a cosmetic improvement, but the functional purpose of clear aligners is to correct the dental problems created by misaligned teeth.

If your teeth impression or 3D image wasn’t perfectly accurate, your “in-state dentist” doesn’t have much experience in orthodontics, or you don’t get checkups, your teeth may look better, but you’ll still have a bad bite. The aligners could also worsen the misalignment problem, leading to more serious dental work down the road.

Here’s the scoop on DIY rubber band orthodontics.

Numerous online vloggers recommend that you use a rubber band to close the gap between your two front teeth. However, if it worked, you could end up creating a gap on the other side of each front tooth (next to its adjoining tooth). Additionally, the rubber band can slide up the tooth and cause serious gum damage.

We do not recommend moving teeth with rubber bands as the potential for damage to one or more teeth is possible. Your smile is too important to risk losing one or more teeth.

Are you a good candidate for DIY orthodontics with aligners?

Most cases of misaligned teeth need customized and experienced orthodontic care to ensure you get the results you desire. DIY aligners may work well enough for those very few who have a mild alignment problem and their medical and dental health is good and have the resources to correct any resulting problems. Anyone considering DIY aligners is well advised to seek a professional evaluation prior to initiating any type of treatment especially treatment that can move teeth.

If you have any questions about DIY orthodontics, please contact us. The team at Glow Orthodontics is here to answer your questions, explain all the pros and cons, and help you decide the healthiest way to correct your bite and have a beautiful, healthy smile for a lifetime.

Are you a good candidate for DIY orthodontics?

We recommend never using vlogger techniques like rubber bands. DIY aligners may work well enough to make you happy without causing underlying harm, if you have a mild alignment problem and your dental health is good. However, most cases of crooked and misaligned teeth need customized and experienced orthodontic care to ensure you get the results you desire.

If you have any questions about DIY orthodontics, give us a call. The team at Glow Orthodontics is here to answer your questions, explain all the pros and cons, and help you decide the healthiest way to fix your smile.

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