DO-IT-YOURSELF ... DENTISTRY?!
Let me begin by saying that I have a confession to make: I love DIY projects. There really is something satisfying about making or fixing something with your own two hands. Over the years, I have learned to install appliances, run cables, tackle plumbing issues, and even replace my own brakes and rotors (though Margaret was justifiably a little concerned about this one). I have not yet tried to make a boat out of a screen door and FlexSeal, like the commercial shows, as I do have my limits. For me, two limits are electricity and dentistry. After one good zap in my teenage days, I do not touch anything related to wiring. And as far as dentistry, I’ll let Dr. Copeland take care of my dental upkeep! That said, with my DIY inclination, you can imagine my intrigue when I first saw a commercial for do-it-yourself orthodontics.
Here is what I think. Clear aligners absolutely do work to move teeth. Some cases of very minor spacing (gaps between the teeth) or very minor crowding could possibly be treated predictably at home by such a system. But, after overseeing hundreds of orthodontic cases, I can also tell you with certainty that teeth can be stubborn to move. Many of our Invisalign patients know some teeth even require special bumps to gain movement, and they often need a second batch of trays after the first ones reveal a stubborn tooth or if a tooth needs some fine-tuning. Moreover, some cases even require a bracket to gain the needed movement.
The final verdict, at least in my humble opinion, is that such at-home orthodontic solutions could work for a small
percentage of patients. For most, I worry about what happens when the teeth don’t move like they should. Or to further complicate things, what happens when unpredictable tooth movement occurs, making things worse than before treatment? If you’ve ever thought about straightening your teeth, I promise to give you my honest opinion about what options you really have. Just call or email the office. And, as for that outlet in your house that is no longer working, my best advice is to call a good electrician!
“My first thought was to dismiss this entirely as a gimmick. Moving teeth can be hard even when we are doing it with brackets and wires!”
The commercial was for a new company called Smile Direct Club. My first thought was to dismiss this entirely as a gimmick. Moving teeth can be hard even when we are doing it with brackets and wires!
Upon further research, I found this company fabricates clear aligners with molds the patient takes themselves. They then ship them directly to the patient.
– Dr. Jones
770-965-3048 • 1
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