With the recent advent of new mail-order dental aligners, many people are wondering just how these compare to conventional orthodontic treatment. We’ve compiled some information to help you sort through the confusion.
What are Dental Aligners and How Do They Work?
Dental aligners are orthodontic devices made of clear acrylic that are fitted to the patient’s teeth and worn daily. Clear aligners work similarly to braces to straighten teeth and restore a straight and even smile.
Qualified dentists or orthodontists normally fit their patients with dental aligners, after evaluating a set of x-rays as well as performing a physical examination of the patient’s mouth. Every so often, dental aligners must be adjusted in order to gradually complete the job of moving the teeth correctly into their new positions. In most cases, orthodontic patients must wear their aligners for as little as a few months or for as long as a couple of years in order to achieve full results.
A skilled oral health professional supervises the entire process in order to ensure that no complications arise during the treatment and that the teeth are shifting in a healthy fashion.
How Do Mail Order Aligners Work?
Mail-order orthodontic services claim that you will save a lot of money by bypassing the supervision of a qualified orthodontist. Typically, you will have to purchase a DIY impression kit by mail, and you are responsible for taking your own impressions. This is done using a special type of foam that hardens around the teeth, creating a mold from which the aligners are crafted. Once you mail back the molds, the service will mail you the aligners and you must wear them for a period of about six months.
Unless you have a lot of experience taking molds of teeth using these materials, there is a good probability that the mold you obtain may not come out perfect, and consequently, your aligners may fit too tightly or too loosely. If this is the case, the treatment could cause more harm than good, causing your teeth to move in an incorrect manner. In the worst-case scenario, your teeth could become loose or fall out, or your malocclusion could become worse. These mistakes could lead to a need for further orthodontic treatment, particularly if the treatment adversely affects the underlying bone and connective tissue.
Drawbacks of Mail-Order Aligners
In addition to the risk of doing damage to your teeth, gums, and bone, the following inconveniences are also associated with mail-order aligners
- Without experience, it may be difficult to get a good mold on your own
- Having to mail the impressions back and forth takes time
- There’s also the possibility of the molds or aligners getting lost in the mail
- You may not actually save as much as you imagine
Why risk your oral health to a novelty such as a mail-order aligner kit without the benefit of a professional evaluation? Your mouth is much too precious to take risks like this. Play it safe and visit a good orthodontist. Most offices provided flexible payment plans and financing to keep orthodontic treatment affordable for most patients.
If you want to straighten your teeth and are considering mail-order dental aligners, it is imperative that you consult a qualified oral health professional beforehand, to make sure that you do not embark on treatment that could cause damage to your teeth. Dr. Alex Sohn at C.S. Family Dental is available to serve patients the areas of Denver and Aurora, CO and advise you as to whether orthodontic treatment may be right for you.