For many, having straighter and whiter teeth is like hitting the jackpot.
Straight teeth have the potential of influencing first impressions, grabbing that elusive job, feeling more confident, and even finding success in romance. But getting straighter teeth is a costly affair. The charges of conventional metal braces along with in-office treatment, are beyond the reach of many people.
To cater to this ever-increasing population, many companies have launched DIY teeth straightening kits.
Many people have posted on YouTube videos about their success with DIY teeth straightening techniques. Remember Brandon Andre? Or a student who printed his 3-D braces.
Many companies talk about delivering the DIY aligner right at your doorstep. Their point – democratizing the individual’s desire for straight teeth. According to the DIY aligners, their aligners come at one-fourth cost of conventional teeth straightening.
DIY Teeth StraighteningThis raises a question - Is DIY Teeth Straightening safe?
The short and simple answer is NO.
According to the experts and orthodontists, moving teeth is a continuous biological process that involves the bone dissolving and rebuilding as teeth move into a new position.
During teeth straightening, orthodontists do not only aim for aesthetics. They also determine how good the bite is. Orthodontists aim at planning your bite and smile for a long time, and their aging process over 20 to 40 years.
A significant grouse among orthodontists is that the patient will not be up-to-date with their dental visits.
Regular dental visits plus x-rays before treatment are essential as they help in letting the orthodontists know that the teeth alignment is as per plan and there are no impacted teeth, large cavities or gum diseases.
DIY teeth straightening companies do not insist on x-rays, which will not help in determining the accurate picture. The main attraction for DIY teeth straightening kits is the price.
A typical DIY kit might cost around $2,000, which is less compared to Invisalign ($3000 to $5000) or traditional metal braces ($2,000 to $6,000).
Invisalign is for mild alignment issues, which is why they are cheaper. In general speaking terms, DIY aligners also offer options for mild problems.
But if there is an undiagnosed issue, using DIY aligners can result in the condition worsening, resulting in more costs for treating the disease.
Consult Before Going The DIY RouteNot all dental treatments need to be costly. The milder the problem, the less the cost and vice-versa. If opting for a DIY kit, consult a dentist or orthodontist beforehand.
Many orthodontists or dentists don’t charge for the initial visit. Talk with them about your interest in following the DIY route.
DIY teeth straightening is suitable for patients who have milder issues, but getting an OK from the experts is essential. No matter what the company says on their website, get an opinion from your orthodontist and get all the doubts clarified.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) also asks patients to ask a lot of questions before signing up for the DIY kit. The AAO offers a tip sheet to those who are considering the DIY route, offering questions that you should ask the company and yourself.
These questions include inquiring about comprehensive X-rays, consultations from licensed orthodontists, handling of emergencies, etc.
In ConclusionThe increased popularity of DIY aligners has thrown up an important topic - accessibility. Insurance coverage has not changed a lot over the past decade and neither has the treatment costs. Few dental insurance carriers are generous and provide nearly 50% coverage.
In the end, increased DIY aligner popularity has been a big boon to the industry overall. The increased popularity of DIY aligners has resulted in increased competition which could make the prices go south.
All said done, DIY teeth straightening is not safe, and the efficacy is still in question. Spend some more, consult your dentists or orthodontist and get proper care for your teeth. It is always better to be safe than sorry.