Imagine deciding to perform surgery on yourself or stitch up a wound without a doctor’s supervision. Sounds pretty risky, doesn’t it? Yet people are suddenly all over social media performing orthodontic treatment on themselves by means of new, Do-It-Yourself mail-order braces and aligners!
Think about this: buying orthodontic devices with the goal of “saving money” on the cost of a professional dentist or orthodontist might be comparable to buying a scalpel to “save money” by performing plastic surgery on yourself to save on the cost of a surgeon. Yet people are falling for this, and risking their precious smiles in the process.
What Could Go Wrong?
For starters: orthodontic treatment is a professional medical specialty in the field of dentistry that only certain dentists are qualified to practice. Bypassing the years of training that these professionals have and trusting your own capacity to perform their very specialized job, without their knowledge, training, and experience, could lead to consequences that could cost far more than what you are hoping to save.
Teeth are not toys you can randomly move around and play with. Teeth are attached to the underlying bone by tough connective tissue such as ligaments, and surrounded by soft gum tissue. The function and health of all of these components must be addressed during the course of orthodontic treatment. With no one to evaluate how well the treatment is going, you have no idea what’s brewing beneath the gum line and how your DIY braces are affecting your gums, ligaments, and bone.
One common problem that may arise, and often comes up in professional settings, is when a patient has a tooth that is already a bit loose, the putty that is used to take the mold must be closely monitored as it dries, and must be skillfully removed in order to prevent it from yanking the tooth out when you attempt to remove it. In other cases, the putty could pull up fillings and bridgework if it hardens excessively and is removed improperly. This is an especially tricky part of the procedure that really requires a professional hand.
If your aligners are not properly fitted to your teeth, they could exert undue pressure on the teeth and cause them to shift incorrectly, or to become loose or unstable. This pressure could also affect the jawbone, connective tissue, and gums. Damage to any of these could mean costly dental bills in the future as a consequence of gum and bone disease that could develop from complications of improperly fitted braces or aligners.
And the saddest part is – from a savings perspective – that once any damage is done, it will be far more costly to undo than it would have been to prevent it.
Less Bang for Your Buck
Even in the best-case scenario, assuming your DIY teeth-straightening treatment causes you no serious damage, you still may not get the same results that you would have gotten with a professional orthodontist.
Without a doctor on hand to evaluate your progress and design an optimal custom treatment plan for you, ensuring that your treatment is designed to last a lifetime, your DIY aligners may not accomplish as much as a professional treatment would. In the end, you might still end up needing to go to an orthodontist to complete the job in the future.
To make sure that you don’t do damage to your teeth, all attempts to straighten your teeth with aligners or braces should be supervised by a qualified health professional. To learn more about your options for properly straightening your teeth, contact Thornton Town Center Family Dental, serving patients in the areas of Thornton, Broomfield, and Westminster, CO.