Do-It-Yourself Online Clear Aligners are being heavily advertised as an inexpensive “at-home” treatment to straighten your teeth. It is important to understand that these products are gimmicks intended to make money. The owners of these companies have little regard for patient health, quality of treatment, and they do not yield results that are acceptable to the standard of care maintained by the American Board of Orthodontists. These companies claim to be able to do so remotely and at a much lower cost than traditional methods. The initial process involves either a photo scan of your teeth, or they will send you a kit to make a 3-D impression, which you then mail back to them. X-rays are never taken and a patient’s proper diagnosis is never done. In fact, we have seen many patients in our consultation room who tried “at-home” aligners with very poor results. They are now starting treatment with Dr. Taylor and regret wasting time and money on these products.
Dr. Taylor is a Board Certified Orthodontist and he will take measurements, several x-rays and photos and a 3D scan of how the jaw and teeth fit together in order to properly diagnose malocclusion. He will also closely monitor progression and identify and correct potential problems throughout treatment. Poorly done orthodontics can be disastrous and potentially cause permanent damage such as TMJ (where the jaw is not properly aligned), and serous occlusal issues later in life. Periodontal disease and even tooth loss can occur as a result of unmonitored or poorly diagnosed orthodontics.
Here is what the medical community has to say about Online Clear Aligners:
The American Association of Orthodontists issued a Consumer Alert on 1/31/2015 regarding the risks involved with “Do It Yourself” Teeth Straightening Products. It states:
Consumers who may be considering “do it yourself” orthodontic treatment should be aware that they may be putting their teeth, gums, and bones of the jaws in harm’s way. This alert is predicted by the uptick and availability of such products available online and in retail stores ……. Any time a dental procedure is undertaken by an untrained, unsupervised individual there is substantial risk for irreparable damage. “The American Association of Orthodontists is committed to consumer health and safety and urges anyone considering any type of teeth straightening procedure to see an orthodontic specialist,” says Robert Varner, DMD, president of the AAO………Aligning jaws, straightening teeth, and correcting bites should begin with a comprehensive examination by an orthodontist, not with a few clicks on a computer screen, and not without the supervision of a qualified dental professional. Throughout orthodontic treatment, and through regularly scheduled appointments, orthodontists assess the movement of teeth, bone, and soft tissue, and make the necessary adjustments to advance the process.”
To become an orthodontist, it takes an additional 2-3 years of education after dental school. Orthodontists are specialists who treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align one’s teeth, bite and jaw. They are experts in occlusion (the meeting of the upper and lower teeth, bone physiology, and bone development).The essential difference between online clear aligners and proper orthodontic treatment is this: The manufacturers of Online Clear Aligners are offering a PRODUCT; aligners. The regulatory safeguards that protect the consumer are nonexistent.
Conversely, an orthodontist offers SERVICES, KNOWLEDGE, MEDICAL EXPERTISE and a PRODUCT; straight teeth, a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile.
Dr. David Taylor, of A Perfect Smile Orthodontics in McAllen, Texas, is a Board Certified Orthodontist and an Elite Provider of Invisalign. We offer a complementary consultation including a 3D scan of your mouth to be able to fully evaluate your orthodontic needs. He has treated thousands of patients with excellent results.