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Are DIY teeth straightening kits safe? The risks of teeth straightening at home

28 March · 6 minutes

Clear orthodontic treatments have become increasingly popular in the US in recent years, and for good reason. Clear aligners offer a more comfortable and discreet solution to dental problems and improving the appearance of your smile than traditional braces. Additionally they have given patients the flexibility of straightening teeth in the comfort of your home.

As with any growing industry, more and more companies are entering the market, making it harder to choose the right provider. However, it's important to remember that deciding how to fix your teeth at home shouldn't be taken lightly as it involves your health.

To help you make an informed decision, we outline the differences between at-home orthodontic treatments and professional teeth straightening kits, important factors to consider when choosing a provider, and the potential risks of choosing the wrong treatment. By following these guidelines, you can avoid putting your health at risk and find the best solution for your needs.

Are all ‚Äúteeth straightening at home‚ÄĚ treatments made equal?

Many brands make lofty promises of fixing your teeth at home for a fraction of the cost of professional treatments. But when it comes to your health, price should be the least of your concerns. While there are numerous brands offering DIY teeth aligners and at-home clear aligners, it's crucial to recognize that not all methods are equal.

To avoid being misled, it's important to distinguish between DIY or DTC teeth straightening (at-home braces and clear aligners) and teeth straightening kits that are performed under medical supervision but can be completed mostly at home. We will shed light on the differences between these methods, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to how to straighten your teeth at home.

Patient wondering if at-home teeth aligners are safe

Straighten teeth DIY with no doctor oversight

The rise of DIY teeth straightening has led to various unsupervised at-home teeth straightening treatments, but they come with numerous risks. Here are the most common options:

  • Homemade braces and dental aligners should be avoided as they can cause harm to your teeth.
  • Similarly, online orthodontic devices without a proper diagnosis or medical follow-up can cause irritation and create new dental problems.
  • Another option is brands offering DIY teeth straightening kits, where you take a mold of your mouth at home and they send you ‚Äúcustom‚ÄĚ clear teeth aligners. However, without professional supervision, the treatment may not be tailored to your smile needs, and it could be ineffective or even harmful. Additionally, using DIY teeth aligners from DTC aligner companies offering initial diagnoses but no medical follow-up can also be risky.

In short, none of these DIY teeth straightening aligner options are recommended by expert doctors. The risks to your oral and general health are simply too great to take the DIY teeth straightening kits at home. So if you're looking to straighten your teeth, it's best to consult with a qualified doctor who can provide safe and effective treatment.

What is the best at home teeth straightening option?

When it comes to at home teeth straightening, it's important to avoid dangerous DIY options and opt for professional orthodontic treatments. Fortunately, there are professional at-home alignment kits available that provide a safe and effective alternative. Home teeth straightening kits, such as teeth alignment kits, offer a convenient way to straighten teeth without frequent visits to the doctor. With the best at home teeth straightening options, patients can receive an in-person diagnosis from a professional orthodontist who will supervise their at-home teeth treatment digitally. Impress, for example, offers an at home teeth straightening treatment that allows patients to change their invisible aligners at home while being monitored by a team of professionals via their app. By choosing a safe and effective at-home teeth straightening kit, patients can achieve the straight, beautiful smile they've always wanted.

Impress patient learning about ditigal follow-ups

Are at home DIY teeth aligners safe for your smile?

If you‚Äôre wondering ‚Äúare at home DIY aligners safe?‚ÄĚ The long and short answer is no. Due to the lack of professional and expert oversight, at home DIY aligners, without doctor supervision are not a safe option. We will explore the dangers of carrying out unsupervised treatment which can be classified into four categories: functional, orthodontic, oral, and aesthetic.

Orthodontic risks

Using DIY teeth aligners at home can cause the initial problems to even worsen or new issues to develop and affect the positioning of teeth or bite.

Oral risks

In addition to running the risk of mispositioned teeth or an incorrect bite, DIY teeth straightening at home or without medical supervision can affect:

  • Teeth: rotating teeth incorrectly can cause tooth sensitivity, new cavities or (in extreme cases) loss of teeth
  • Gums: gingivitis, receding gums, or periodontitis
  • Tongue and cheek: sores, cuts, or wounds

Functional risks

The inappropriate use of orthodontic devices without medical supervision can end up affecting vital oral functions. Unsupervised at-home teeth straightening or DIY teeth aligners could have negative effects on speech, chewing, swallowing or even breathing, among others.

Aesthetic risks

Mispositioned teeth or other effects, as mentioned above, can lead to changes in your overall appearance.

What should you consider when choosing clear aligner treatment?

With the understanding that at-home teeth aligners are only safe when used under professional supervision, the challenge becomes distinguishing between safe and unsafe brands offering similar treatments. To minimize risk, it's important to consider several key factors when selecting a clear orthodontic treatment. If any treatment you're considering fails to meet these guidelines, it should be avoided.

Specialist checking patients treatment progress

Expert doctor diagnosis

A professional diagnosis from a qualified and licensed doctor is non-negotiable. Without the oversight of a medical professional, this immediately eliminates all at-home DIY teeth straightening. Only an expert in teeth alignment will be able to assess your smile and develop a treatment plan based in science to achieve optimal smile results. Your doctor will decide what types of tests you need to know if you are suitable for clear aligner treatment. Although some individuals need more tests than others, two basic ones are:

  • Recognition and oral examination
  • Orthopantomography

These two tests allow the doctor to identify anything that would prevent individuals from starting treatment or any complexities that need to be addressed before beginning orthodontic treatment‚ÄĒsuch as the onset of periodontitis, incoming wisdom teeth, or cavities.

Precise technology

To design your custom clear aligners, your doctor needs to take initial imaging of your teeth. The most traditional way is using silicone molds. Recent technological advancements have introduced the 3D scanner. This state-of-the-art equipment allows professionals to quickly capture highly accurate 3D renderings of your teeth to generate a detailed image of the oral cavity.

Although 3D scans far exceed silicone molds in efficiency and precision, both methods are safe and valid if performed by a qualified doctor. It is extremely important that any ‚Äútreatments‚ÄĚ that propose a patient should take their impressions themselves, should be avoided at all cost.

Customized treatment plan

Another factor to consider when selecting at-home teeth straightening is the level of customization your provider is able to give you. Not all DIY teeth straightening kits are made equal and it is of the utmost importance to avoid buying unsupervised at-home alignment kits that contain pre-designed aligners. This method will only lead to further issues down the road because there is no doctor oversight. If you are looking for straightening your teeth at home, ensure the aligners have been custom-made for your smile.

Complex smile case treatments

It is also highly recommended to avoid DIY teeth aligning brands that do not differentiate between the smile complexities they are able to treat. Not all dental problems can be aligned following the same treatment plan. Some smiles have certain complexities that can only be assessed and treated by an expert doctor. For example, in many complex smile cases, patients need attachments, rubber bands, or need to have IPR performed during their treatment. These procedures can only be performed by licensed doctors and are necessary for treating a range of complex smile cases.

Orthodontist examining patient beginning treatment

Professional supervision

Making decisions regarding your orthodontic treatment progress should always be made under the supervision of a professional. It's crucial that a specialist reviews your treatment progress regularly and assesses whether the treatment is working correctly. This should be done in-person or digitally by a licensed doctor. You should not make decisions about when to switch to the next aligner on your own.

In case you encounter any concerns during the treatment or if you notice anything that may be hindering proper development, it's necessary to reach out to experts who can resolve or evaluate the issue in greater detail.

In-person visits

While no orthodontic treatment can be considered simple, there are varying degrees of complexity. For less complex treatments, digital supervision by expert doctors allows for monitoring to take place almost entirely from home. However, for more complex cases, it's likely that in-person appointments will be recommended with regularity, about every 1 or 2 months. This allows the licensed doctor to evaluate the treatment's progress in person and make any necessary adjustments, such as performing interproximal reduction (IPR) or repositioning attachments.

Your health is priority #1

Your health is our top priority at Impress. We strongly recommend seeking treatment from qualified doctors at a professional clinic, regardless of whether you choose to undergo treatment with us or not. Only a professional can assess your individual case, develop a personalized orthodontic plan, and provide the necessary follow-up care to ensure your safety and satisfaction.

Patient seeing 3D scan and receiving Impress clear aligners

How is Impress different?

Impress offers tech-enhanced clear aligner treatments that have elements of both traditional and at-home orthodontic care. How is this possible? Here’s how:

  • At Impress you are only ever seen by licensed doctors who diagnose, design, and oversee your treatment.
  • Our state-of-the-art, patented technology allows our expert clinical team to diagnose and align an array of complex cases.
  • Our tech-enhanced treatments are precise and highly customized to achieve a patient‚Äôs smile goals.
  • With the implementation of our mobile app, our orthodontic treatment plans only require 2-5 in-person appointments. This allows for flexibility to straighten teeth at home with the flexibility of digital supervision from our expert medical team.

Additionally, there are many other benefits to orthodontic treatment at Impress:

  • Fixed prices, with no surprises.
  • We accept insurance, FSA/HSA, and have affordable monthly payment plans.
  • Our Care Team is available via the mobile app.
  • Latest cutting edge technology.
  • We have clinics in 8 different countries, so you can start treatment in one and finish it in another.

Thinking about starting your clear aligner journey? Start by visiting us for your complimentary consultation. To schedule, you can visit our website, call us at +1 628.265.8188 or email us at careteam@smile2impress.com. We’ll see you at an Impress clinic near you!

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