First off, what are Mail Order Aligners?
Have you ever been inspired by Pinterest to do a little DIY? Well, that is pretty much what these mail-order aligner kits are. You’ll receive a box in the mail and instructions on how to take your own impressions with some trays and goop, a return label, and a few weeks later, BOOM. Cheap aligners made just for you, delivered right to your doorstep. Sounds too good to be true right? That’s because it is.
What makes these so risky?
Most dentists, orthodontists and even the American Dental Association are speaking out against these DIY aligners. First off, you probably won’t get the results you are looking for. Unlike the aligners dentists and orthodontists use, these mail order aligners have no attachments. You know, those little tooth-colored buttons on a few teeth that need a little extra love to shift and rotate them to their ideal space. In fact, aligners cannot rotate teeth at all without these buttons. So these DIY aligners will move your teeth, but may not in the right direction, compromising your ability to chew and the esthetic outcome.
The scariest part of these at-home orthodontics is the aftermath. Things that you can’t catch while you’re in them since the movement is unsupervised. Moving teeth too quickly can result in mobile teeth and short roots which can lead to tooth loss! The front teeth are most affected by this as they have skinny, conical roots. This could be the outcome even for those with healthy teeth, and those with uncontrolled periodontal disease can almost be guaranteed to have tooth loss. These results are detrimental and in many instances, irreversible.
So Put your Money where your Mouth Is.
There are no doubt aligners used by dentists or orthodontists come with a heavy price tag compared to that of mail-order aligners. It takes a dentist at least 8 years to obtain their degree and an orthodontist an additional 2-3 years. All of this training is to help prevent post-treatment problems like these which we are unfortunately seeing more and more. Don’t let these DIY Aligner companies fool you, dig a little deeper and behind these heavily marketed companies are hundreds upon hundreds of lawsuits. They are getting away with it because YOU, the consumer, signed a waiver, similar to that of when you update your smartphone software without actually reading the lengthy terms and agreement (come on, we’ve all been there). State dental boards along with the American Dental Association are fighting these companies but it will be some time before this matter is resolved. So do yourself a favor, limit the DIY to your Pinterest board and not your mouth.
Note: Many dentist and orthodontist offices offer payment plans making doctor preferred aligner systems, like Invisalign and Clear Correct, an affordable option. Always check with your dentist first to get their opinion. As always, if you have questions, concerns or want to learn more, simply call, text or email us.