HEALTHY MOUTH TIPS
Mail-Order Braces: Gambling with Your Smile
New, DIY dental aligners that you can order by mail without having to visit an orthodontist may sound like a good idea initially, but in fact there are many risks to consider when attempting to take orthodontic treatment into your own hands. If you’re thinking about ordering DIY aligners by mail, we urge you to take a few minutes to read the following information beforehand.
The Purpose of Orthodontic Treatment
The goal of orthodontic treatment is to straighten the teeth and restore a straight and healthy smile. Dental aligners, fitted by qualified orthodontists, do a great job of achieving this, but the treatment requires a full set of x-rays in addition to a thorough examination of the condition.
Over the course of treatment, your dentist or orthodontist will gradually fit you with new aligner trays as your teeth gradually shift into their new places. It may take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years to complete the full orthodontic treatment, and many patients must continue to wear retainers even after treatment is completed.
Your dentist or orthodontist will monitor the entire process to ensure that each new aligner fits perfectly and accomplishes the goal of straightening the teeth gradually. If any complications should arise, your orthodontist is there to address them, and make any necessary adjustments to keep things marching along smoothly.
Why DIY Aligners are Risky
Orthodontists and dentists are specially trained in the problems that cause teeth to become crooked or misaligned, which is why conventional dental aligners such as Invisalign require the supervision of a qualified oral health professional.
These devices are designed to shift the position of your teeth, while also affecting the connective tissue, gums, and bone that are attached to the teeth. This is why it is so risky to undergo any treatment designed to manipulate the teeth and bones without consulting a qualified dentist or orthodontist.
If anything should go wrong during your treatment, without an oral health professional to identify and address the problem, you risk doing damage to your teeth and bone.
How Much Can You Save by Choosing Mail-Order Aligners?
The hype is that you can save tons of money by foregoing the services of a professional and ordering the aligners yourself. But the truth is, the presumed savings don’t really add up, particularly if you end up causing damage to your teeth that will then have to be repaired by an orthodontist anyway.
In fact, even if this doesn’t happen, the supposed savings associated with DIY aligners aren’t all that much, when you take into consideration the possibility of not getting a perfect mold the first time and having to order the molds more than once.
What many lay people don’t realize is that taking molds of teeth requires some degree of training and experience, and even in the best orthodontic offices, professionally trained dental assistants can make mistakes when taking these molds. Luckily, if this happens at the doctor’s office, the molds are retaken without any extra cost to you, until a satisfactory mold is obtained that will ensure an effective treatment.
Now imagine you trying to do this for the first time on your own at home with no one to show you how it’s done. The likelihood of botching things up is high, and this could cost you extra money that you never bargained for.
But really the most important reason to seek professional care when straightening your teeth is the fact that you only have one smile, and it deserves the best possible care and protection. This can only come from a qualified dentist or orthodontist and not from an anonymous, DIY mail-order service.
If you are thinking about ordering braces or dental aligners by mail, you should first consult a dentist to see if orthodontic treatment is recommended for you. Steve S. Kim, DDS is a full-service dentist serving patients in the areas of Torrance, & Gardena, CA.