By Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer on Apr 25 2018
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, everyone wants cheaper and faster options. The idea of wearing braces for a year (or three!) can be frustrating, but the risks associated with so-called “fast braces” or home-shipped aligners will greatly outweigh the costs and time associated with proper orthodontic treatment.
In particular, home-shipped aligners bring a lot of danger with use. You may have heard of some select cases where patients achieved beneficial results; however, don’t be fooled by these stories: those results are few and far between. Not only are you not likely to receive any benefit, but you could potentially hurt your jaw or teeth alignment even more—causing the need for further orthodontics.
Here are some of the dangers of home-shipped aligners and why you should stick with an orthodontist instead.
The way home-aligners “work” is that a company sends you a kit with instructions on how to take a mould of your teeth, which you then send back and they send you clear aligners based on that mould. While Invisalign aligners from your orthodontist work, home-shipped knock-offs do not.
While these companies often do have a dentist on staff, it is nearly impossible to deduce the appropriate shape of your aligners from your homemade impressions. What’s worse is that after shipping you your aligners, the company is done with you. There is no follow-up, no mid-treatment consultation. If you run into any issues or problems, you’re on your own.
Often, orthodontic procedures require course corrections throughout treatment. That is part of the reason why you have regular, scheduled visits with your orthodontist. No consultation means you could face unresolved complications along the way, which could end in pain, crooked teeth (worse than before), and new health problems.
A Poor Fit
All these companies have to work with is one impression of your teeth that you took yourself at home. The odds of being able to construct an appropriate series of clear aligners from this mould are slim. That means that, when you get your aligners in the mail, they will be a poor fit for your mouth. This translates to discomfort and, ultimately, teeth that are not appropriately aligned at the end of treatment.
With proper orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will continue to adjust your braces as needed, ensuring your end result is corrective and effective.
Damage, Not Health
Orthodontic treatment is a complicated procedure that requires education and experience to manage effectively. By using home-shipped aligners unsupervised, you run the risk of introducing new damage to your mouth. You could damage the roots of your teeth, cause gum recession, and even cause your teeth to loosen.
The goal of orthodontics is oral health, a part of your overall health. Home-shipped aligners are more likely to cause the opposite. You want to work with an experienced orthodontist who will help guide you to oral health.
Savings Don’t Matter
In the end, most people choose home-shipped aligners for the cost; they think it’s cheaper. But in truth, after the impression kit and the cost of each aligner, the procedure won’t be that much of a saving. There’s also a very good chance that you’ll do more damage to your teeth and have to visit an orthodontist.
Trust in your orthodontist. He or she has spent many years being appropriately trained through accredited medical institutions, along with years of personal experience working with patients in need of orthodontics. Resist the urge to “pay less” with home-shipped aligners because, in the long run, you will end up paying more for a twice-crooked smile that your orthodontist will have to help you fix anyway.