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The Danger of DIY Braces

16/10/2019

the danger of diy braces

My name is Dr. Ramtin and I am specialist orthodontist which means I specialise in every type of brace, whether fixed or removable. You may have heard of the current trend of DIY braces – with heavy online and TV advertisements promising of braces being delivered to you to straighten your smile without ever needing to see a dentist or braces specialist. Sound too good to be true? That’s because it probably is. Here I explain the danger of DIY braces.


To begin, any orthodontic treatment should begin with a thorough consultation. This is to allow for the client’s teeth and mouth to be properly examined and inspected for any traits that the orthodontic appliance will need to cater for. For example if a client has active periodontal (gum) disease, this could worsen with braces and should be treated before any braces begin. It’s important to keep in mind that periodontal disease is not always visible and having braces without treating this could result in the loss of your teeth, creating a much larger problem to fix. When moving teeth in the mouth, it’s vital that they are moved into healthy positions and within their limits. The problem with DIY braces is that a dentist cannot diagnose the health of your teeth from a mould of your teeth. Secondly as you never see a dentist throughout your treatment, there is no way of keeping an eye on any potential issues that may present at any time.


Additionally, the only way that DIY braces can create space to solve your crowded teeth is to push your teeth forwards. Often this can lead to teeth being pushed out too far, resulting in your gums receding and more commonly, open bites (front teeth do not crossover or meet). A dentist can create space in other ways to overcome these issues. In  tandem with this, the act of taking impressions arguably takes years to master – so I am really sceptical about the integrity of the mouth and teeth and proper impressions being completed by the client at home and then sent in the post to these DIY braces companies (this seems to be the most common method that they use to prepare the client for treatment – nothing is in person).

the danger of diy braces

So the danger of DIY braces companies is that they take a very minimal approach to healthy alignment and instead place an emphasis on visual results that don’t always offer long term guarantees. In essence, I view them as a dangerous ‘quick fix’ approach that can actually harm the client and may need dental intervention which will inevitably be complex as the dental professional who comes on board will first have to fix any damage done before proceeding.


The Danger of DIY Braces

While clear aligners may just be an appliance, they nonetheless require a dental professional to oversee them to make sure they are successful at every stage and don’t cause any damage either. Taking away the dental professional is a scary thought. The British Orthodontic Society also mention that they are “extremely concerned about this trend” and they recommend that “patients attend to see an experienced / trained clinician in person who will be able to carry out a full clinical and orthodontic assessment and discuss their particular orthodontic and dental requirements and ensure all appropriate and available options are considered.” Put simply, DIY braces just can’t do this – but your dental professional can and will always ensure your teeth are looking perfectly straight but also ensure they end up in a healthy long term position.

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