In the age of social media, there are thousands of videos of people attempting to straighten their own smiles. Common trends are using rubber bands to close gaps or even ordering clear aligners online. It may be tempting to give one of these methods a try to save a buck, but leave it to the experts. Orthodontists attend school for at least ten years to learn how to align your smile effectively and safely.
The American Association of Orthodontists conducted a survey and found that 13% of the orthodontists have seen patients who have tried to straighten their own teeth. Some patients experienced irreversible damage from DIY orthodontics, including tooth loss!
Risks of DIY Orthodontics:
- Tooth loss
- Gum infections
- Cracked enamel
- Choking on makeshift appliances
- Damage to the soft tissues
- Painful gums
- Exposure to toxic metals
- Teeth pulling in the wrong directions
- Chronic pain from the teeth moving too fast
Thirty-nine percent of orthodontists who saw DIY patients reported that they provided restorative or corrective treatment to these patients. The majority of these orthodontists also said they felt that treatment for DIY patients would have been cheaper if they sought professional orthodontic care in the first place. Replacing a missing tooth can cost more than $20,000. When considering these risks, professional orthodontic treatment is the safer choice for both you and your wallet.
Online Clear Aligners
You may have noticed advertisements for aligner treatments you can order online. They often advertise that starting orthodontic treatment is as easy as snapping a selfie and sending them self-taken tooth impressions. Then the aligners come in the mail, and eventually, you will have a straight smile. Sounds too easy? Maybe because it is. The AAO does not endorse these companies and encourages patients to seek care from an AAO orthodontist.
Somethings to consider before signing up for online orthodontic services:
- Does part of the treatment fee include in-person visits to an orthodontist or dentist?
- Do you have to receive x-rays before starting treatment?
- Do you know the orthodontist's name who will be providing the care, such as is their name listed on the website?
- Is there anyone responsible for checking in on your progress or identifying any problems with your treatment periodically?
If you answered no to any of those questions, it may be wise to seek an alternative opinion before starting treatment. Board Certified Orthodontists create customized treatment plans to correct your misalignments and monitor the progress of your treatment. There is little risk of complications when receiving treatment from a Board Certified Orthodontist.
Orthodontics is a medical service, not a product you can buy. Nothing can replace the expertise a certified orthodontist has. Orthodontists attend four years of undergraduate, four years of dental school, and two to three years of orthodontic residency, all in preparation to give each patient an effective, safe orthodontic treatment. Don’t let a 10 minute online video or impersonal online services replace that. Trust the experts when it comes to something as important as your smile.