As you may have noticed, ads for do-it-yourself home aligner treatments are all over social media and television. These ads claim to provide identical results for about half the price of what you would pay when treated by an orthodontist. The home treatment process involves a do-it-yourself impression kit, making your own mold of your teeth, and taking several photos of yourself and your smile. There are no x-rays involved and no guarantee your treatment is planned by a licensed orthodontist.
But do such methods actually work? Is this a possible alternative to live treatment with an orthodontist? The short and long answer is no. According to Dr. Janet Stoess-Allen of Park Avenue Orthodontics in New York City, not only is this a poor alternative, but it could potentially harm individuals who use it.
“There are companies, such as Smile Direct Club, that attempt to allow individuals to basically treat themselves with very little guidance. This could end in not only poor results that do not address patient expectations or proper tooth position, but could also damage surrounding bone and tissues,” explains Dr. Stoess-Allen. “Without an orthodontist (who understands the physiology of tooth movement) prescribing the tooth and root movements, there is always a risk of failure and potential damage.”
Dr. Stoess-Allen advises that when it comes to teeth, you should seek treatment from those trained and equipped with the knowledge to handle your needs. “To use an analogy, if you need heart surgery you would need to be treated by a cardiac surgeon,” says Stoess-Allen. “In the same light, if you desire tooth movement, you should seek treatment by an orthodontist, and not step into uncharted territory by using a system that is not only inferior, but could also be damaging to overall dental health.”
Bottom line: patients who desire to have any kind of tooth movement should consult with and be treated by a licensed orthodontist like Dr. Stoess-Allen.