DIY Orthodontics

Online aligner therapy…. Why not?

This is a question I have received with growing regularity. Why not just do it yourself? There does seem to be a YouTube video explaining how to do just about everything these days.  In all honesty, I just searched how to replace a water pump on a 2004 Lincoln I’m fixing for my son and it was awesome and saved me $500 labor! But do we really believe healthcare should be a DIY activity?  You have probably already seen many ads for a DIY aligner company called Smile Direct Club, whose website states a “dental professional” reviews your case.  This does not mean an orthodontist or even a dentist.  There is no specialist following your progress or even completing a thorough diagnosis of your need (there is not a review of bone nor underlying tissues). Photos and impressions or digital scans only, are not the standard of care for orthodontic treatment diagnosis and for good reason, it’s dangerous.  Considering what could go wrong, tooth root resorption or perforations through bone, periodontal recession or even tooth loss, all of the sudden that cheap alternative to Invisalign becomes a very costly choice. Ever been to a mechanic and seen the sign “$45 an hour for service, $150 an hour if you tried to fix it yourself 1st ?

There is a scientific “way” to move teeth that an orthodontist specialist understands. A specialist in Orthodontics spends 2-4 additional years after 4 years in dental school, studying orthodontic/orthopedic tooth movement and this is all we do, all day every day.  Not making crowns, fillings, implants, bonding, or extractions.  Our only focus is on the developing face and dentition, alignment and function of your teeth in combination with the supporting structures.   Technology can make it look easy, but orthodontics is complex and not something we can delegate to computers. Critical analysis and implementation is an essential ingredient for a healthy smile and only an orthodontist can truly provide that level of care for your smile.


What does an Orthodontist treating with Invisalign have over any online DIY company? EXPERIENCE! Orthodontists and Invisalign have been collaborating and developing treatment methods for over 20 years. Invisalign has spent of millions of dollars researching plastics and techniques to develop the very best combination of materials and methods to make Invisalign a safe, effective, and predictable tool for orthodontic specialists to use. Orthodontists use Invisalign, not the other way around. Invisalign is never set it and forget it. Patient progress is consistently evaluated and changes, known as refinements are regularly implemented to provide for the very best results. The plans may not always roll out exactly as they appear on the virtual set up as our patients are humans, not computer models. Without direct supervision this couldn’t be possible. All of these factors combine to provide a stable and beautiful result for patients seeking improvement of their smiles.

 As with many things in life, DIY teeth straightening is definitely a “buyer beware” choice.

Author
Dr. Jon Moles Dr. Jon Moles Dr. Jon Moles is a specialist in Orthodontics and has been treatment children and adults for over 30 years. Dr. Moles received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of New Mexico before obtaining his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry. As a commissioned officer in the United States Navy, he furthered his dental education by completing an orthodontic residency at Fort George G. Meade. Despite retiring after over two decades of serving the oral health needs of sailors, marines, and their families around the world, he continues to lecture and consult the Naval Postgraduate Dental School in Bethesda, Maryland.

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