Orthodontists are warning against the dangers of DIY orthodontic treatments like DIY braces and aligners.
Orthodontists and dentists alike are warning Australians to avoid the allure of do-it-yourself braces and orthodontic treatment, out of concern that they are causing long-term damage to your smile. Not only do they risk exacerbating existing dental problems but could eventually lead to expensive remedial treatment.
What are DIY braces and orthodontics?
When we talk about DIY braces, we don’t mean home-made, Frankenstein-style contraptions of metal wires and rubber bands. Instead, the term describes orthodontic treatment that can be purchased over the counter or online and attempt to straighten with little to no professional supervision. These products sell the ability to straighten your teeth without the need for orthodontic supervision or the costs associated with traditional orthodontic treatment.
Typically, the patient will be given an impression kit to make a mould of your teeth, which are then sent to a lab for a set of clear aligners to be manufactured. These aligners then work to straighten your teeth using a similar method as Invisalign. The popularity of DIY dental treatments has skyrocketed in recent years thanks to unregulated and misleading promotion over social media.
What are the risks of DIY orthodontic treatment?
While DIY orthodontic treatments may seem significantly cheaper, there are a range of risks that patients expose themselves to. For example, if there are existing gum issues like gum disease or other undetected dental problems like broken fillings, these are likely to become exaggerated when the aligners start shifting your teeth.
Moreover, any orthodontic treatment that does not involve serious clinical examinations, x-rays or ongoing supervision should be a red flag to potential patients. For example, without initial and ongoing examinations of the jaw or mouth structure how your treatment be altered safely?
Some of the main risks of DIY braces include:
- Aligners that do not fit your teeth or mouth properly
- Damage to the underlying roots of your teeth
- Recession of your gums
- Undetected tooth decay, cavities or damage
- Potential tooth loosening and/or tooth loss
- Bite changes or exacerbation of malocclusion
- Jaw muscle and joint pain
- Relapse, where teeth move back into their original position
Despite the fact DIY orthodontics are a cheaper option, the heightened risk of dental and orthodontic complications further down the track means that you’ll likely have to spend significant sums for corrective procedures to repair the damage. Furthermore, many of the DIY companies operate on a set-and-forget model. In many cases, the aligners are manufactured in another country and if things don’t go to plan there is little you can do in terms of recourse.
Why is a professional orthodontist the best person to help straighten your teeth?
Successful orthodontic treatment is the foundation for great, long-term oral health. This is why it’s best to undergo treatment under the supervision of a qualified orthodontist.
Orthodontists have to undergo years of specialist training and have in-depth knowledge about how to safely and effectively move your teeth.
In Australia, orthodontists must:
- Complete a registered degree in Dentistry
- Complete at least two years of clinical experience prior to specialist training
- Complete an accredited university degree in orthodontics
- Receive specialist registration in the field of Orthodontics
You can even search your own practitioner on Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s online search tool. This is how you can be sure you’re getting treatment from a true professional.
In contrast, DIY orthodontic providers must have:
- Access to a 3D printer
Orthodontic treatment under the supervision of a specialist orthodontist has a number of advantages. These include:
1. Proper supervision of treatment
Moving teeth is a slow business and needs to be precise. Under our supervision, the movement of your teeth is tracked over the course of your treatment – using both in-person examinations and x-rays – to make sure that your teeth aren’t moving too fast or moving into the wrong position. This minimises the risk of damaging your gums, underlying bone or bite.
2. Ensuring your orthodontics fit properly
Poorly fitted orthodontic treatments like DIY braces and aligners are more likely to cause serious discomfort and pain. This is a warning sign that your teeth are being moved improperly. As specialist orthodontists, we ensure your braces or aligners are properly fitted to your individual requirements.
3. Lower risk of infection or relapse
As qualified orthodontists we ensure that the materials used are safe for each and every one of our patients. Moreover, we are able to assess and mitigate against any potential relapse of your teeth movement. This means you’ll only need one course of orthodontic treatment. This not only saves our patients from the grief of having to repeat treatments but is also less costly in the long run.
Orthodontics treatment at iSmile Orthodontics
If you’re looking at improving the look of your teeth and want the straight teeth to look, contact us and one of our experienced team members can discuss the options that are available for you.