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Straightening teeth from your home

In the last few years there has been a growing trend of several companies that offer the ability for a consumer to order clear aligner trays to straighten their teeth at home without stepping foot into an orthodontic office. Here are a few reasons why you should avoid this trend and turn to an orthodontist for a straight smile.

  1. Aligners don’t straighten teeth, your orthodontist does.What do I mean by this? The plastic aligner by itself can not straighten your teeth. Yes there is software that shows the teeth moving from crooked to straight, but without the knowledge of how teeth really move, what you see on the screen is only an animation. An orthodontic specialist has an additional 2-3 years beyond dental school and understands how to engineer tooth movement with plastic aligners. The human body is complex with many variations of normal and because of this, teeth don’t always move according to plan.

  2. It is not necessarily cheaper. Many of these aligner companies claim they align teeth for way less. What you may not realize is that the aligner companies limit the maximum number of aligners needed to straighten your teeth and if you are a complex case where your bite is off, the aligners that you receive will not address that. They are not designed for you to wear rubber bands or other orthodontic appliances to get your teeth to function together properly. If you are looking for a short course of treatment and only wish to straighten your front teeth only, your orthodontist can offer you a limited option to address the chief concern at a similar cost. In addition, they would be able to let you know if such a plan is not beneficial to your dental health.

  3. The virtual exam does not include x-rays. The benefit of having an orthodontist do your aligner treatment is that you would receive a full examination including x-rays which determine the health of your teeth and ability to withstand treatment. Getting the x-rays help reveal any underlying conditions that need attention prior to moving your teeth. Think of it this way, when you take your car to the mechanic, do you expect them to diagnose your car trouble without looking under the hood? Getting a proper diagnosis is the first step in addressing your concerns.

So watch out for these pitfalls and see an orthodontist for your treatment needs. Otherwise, straighten your teeth at home at your own risk!

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