DIY is so tempting, and in most areas of our life, it’s fine! You unclog the sink rather than pay a plumber or paint the living room instead of calling in the painter, but with teeth, it’s different. We only have one set of adult teeth, so you don’t get a second chance if you damage them with DIY orthodontic treatment. The poor outcome is often permanent, read on to find out why.
Types of DIY Orthodontic Treatment
Various methods of DIY teeth moving treatments have popped up on the internet. They don’t use an orthodontist to complete the treatment or reviewing progress in-person.
DIY Researched on the Internet
Doctor Google doesn’t always get it right. But it lures teenagers into believing what they see on YouTube or social media is going to work. They think what works for one person will work for them. But it’s not the case. No two people have the same teeth, gums and orthodontic case. We’re all different.
They see the stories and videos of people who used everything from elastic bands and hair ties to paper clips to straighten their teeth. What’s missing from these sites is the before and after photos of people who didn’t have a positive result. They don’t get to see the permanent damage to the gum, bone loss or even lost teeth because they followed internet advice.
Mail Order/Direct to Consumer Orthodontics
Over recent years there has been a growing number of mail order orthodontic providers. Some are based overseas and others have offices in Australia.
Also known as direct to consumer orthodontics, they promise the same impressive results you would receive in a clinic with an Orthodontist, for a fraction of the price. Their offerings are enticing with claims that their treatment is risk-free while saving thousands of your hard-earned dollars.
What’s not included in the glossy marketing material with glowing testimonials, are the clients that didn’t provide a testimonial. They’re likely out of pocket thousands of dollars because the result isn’t what they had hoped, or worse still, they had to visit a local Orthodontist or specialist dentist in an attempt to fix the damage caused by the cheap orthodontic treatment.
What Can Go Wrong With DIY & Direct to Consumer Orthodontics?
There are many things that can go wrong with any orthodontics that isn’t being managed by an Orthodontist in person. We’re not saying these happen to everyone who uses direct to consumer orthodontics, but there are significant risks.
We’ve seen cases in our clinics and read case studies of the growing problem. Hopefully, Australians hear of the damage patients are suffering and choose to see an Orthodontist in a clinic.
Gum Disease & Gum Loss
Before any orthodontic treatment begins, it’s important that an Orthodontist checks a patient’s gums for any sign of gum disease. If teeth move within diseased gums, there is a risk of long-term damage to the gum and teeth.
Something as small as a tight aligner can cut into the gum and expose a tooth root, but the problem is anything but small. The gum may never heal properly and it leaves the tooth dangerously exposed.
Sure, you might be successful in moving your teeth with DIY methods, but will they move in the right direction or at the right angle? It takes years of experience to know how to shift teeth into their desired position in a safe and effective way. No one should experiment with moving their teeth, the results can be a poor life-long result.
Treatment will often be reviewed and modified, according to the individual's response. This is the main reason an experienced clinician must be overseeing the treatment. Remember that it's not the appliance that counts. The single factor that will influence the quality of your treatment is the clinician, such as a qualified registered Specialist Orthodontist.
Loss of Bone and Teeth
The worst outcome for a person doing DIY orthodontics is to lose a tooth or loss of bone that holds teeth in place. Both have a devastating impact. For a professional to fix the damage such as fitting a prosthetic tooth will cost far more than the initial DIY treatment.
Dissatisfaction with the Result
Many people are heartbroken when their mail order orthodontics don’t deliver the result they had hoped (or were promised). They may have spent years wishing they could fix their teeth and when they saw the ad for budget orthodontics, they thought it would answer their wishes.
In some cases mail order orthodontics cannot fix complex requirements. The only effective treatment is seeing an in-house Orthodontist to have metal braces fitted.
Considering Orthodontic Treatment as an Adult?
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Organisations Opposing Direct to Consumer Orthodontics
It’s not just Orthodontists who feel strongly about the risks of DIY orthodontic treatment. The following are statements released by reputable Australian and overseas organisations recommending people don’t use DIY and mail order orthodontics and the reasons why.
Australian Society of Orthodontists
American Association of Orthodontists
Why Use a Qualified Orthodontist?
Sure, you will pay more to use a qualified orthodontist in a local clinic, but it could be cheap compared to the pain and suffering you can experience when something goes wrong with a direct to consumer product.
Our teeth have a major bearing on our self-esteem and our ability to eat and speak properly. They deserve the best of care to ensure they serve us well into old age.
If you have any questions about what Orthodontic treatment is suitable for you, make an obligation free appointment with the Orthodontists by calling (08) 9364 8020 or contact us online