If you use social media, you cannot miss the fact that there are more and more companies offering teeth straightening with at-home clear aligner therapy. They send you a kit to make impressions of your teeth in the mail. You take your own impressions, mail them back to the aligner company, and receive a set of clear aligners within a few weeks.
It could be part of a large conspiracy to give dentists and orthodontists heart attacks or just a business venture that capitalizes on the DIY craze. We know how tempting it can be to do something yourself in order to save money. With teeth straightening, though, the risks far outweigh the benefits.
One of the most important pre-operative steps in orthodontic treatment is using x-ray images of the teeth to confirm that the jawbone surrounding each tooth is healthy enough to support tooth movement. Moving teeth requires very controlled remodeling of the bone around the teeth. This can only happen when that bone is healthy.
Another important aspect of pre-operative x-rays is confirming the health of the teeth themselves. Cavities can weaken teeth, and if left undetected, lead to severe infections and toothaches during orthodontic treatment. X-rays allow dentists to confirm the health of the teeth and surrounding bone before any tooth movement begins.
No Dentist Evaluation
Some people just are not good candidates for moving their teeth with clear aligners. Certain tooth positions and bite misalignments are almost impossible to correct with clear aligners. Only a dentist with orthodontic experience will catch these hard-to-correct issues. Without a dental evaluation, you may be attempting to move something that even your dentist would not attempt.
An experienced dentist will anticipate “problem teeth” and explain the limitations of clear aligners in fixing them. All clear aligners are created from a virtual model of the projected tooth movements. In the virtual realm, artificial intelligence or a lab technician can plan for any type of tooth movement and make the aligners that attempt that movement. However, in reality there are only certain tooth movements that clear aligners can successfully accomplish.
No Dentist Supervision
Professional orthodontic treatment with clear aligners involves periodic evaluations during your course of therapy. This is how the dentist supervises and oversees the actual movement of your teeth. Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara confirm proper “seating” (the way the aligners fit over your teeth) of the aligners and intercept any problems with tooth movement. We can make any necessary adjustments to the aligners and change the parameters of your treatment in order to ensure the desired outcome.
Rarely, a tooth with past trauma will begin to die once it receives pressure from orthodontic forces. It can discolor or even develop an abscess with a severe infection. A dentist’s supervision and intervention is essential to preventing spread of dangerous infections from a dead nerve within a tooth!
Worst Case Scenario
There are documented cases of DIY teeth straightening patients who have actually lost teeth due to un-prescribed and unsupervised tooth movement. And we’re not just talking about a back tooth that won’t affect the smile. People have lost front teeth from using direct-to-consumer clear aligners. Any money they saved with DIY teeth straightening is now going toward replacing the lost teeth with dental implants or bridges.
In these cases, the jawbone around the front teeth was not healthy enough to support tooth movement. Applying forces to these teeth with clear aligners in order to change their position accelerated the bone loss around them, leading to loosening and eventual loss of the teeth. Had these patients seen a dentist to discuss clear aligner therapy, their gum disease would have been intercepted, treated, and healed before any tooth movement was undertaken.
More Questions about Teeth Straightening?
There are some things you just cannot do yourself, and teeth straightening is one of them. Call 972-347-1145 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill and Dr. Cara. They will discuss your teeth straightening options and help you achieve the smile you want without putting yourself at risk for further dental problems.