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DIY Clear Aligners Are a Bad Idea… And Here’s Why

DIY Clear Aligners Blog Graphic

We all seem to be on a mission to save money when and where we can. We’re creating budgets, meal-prepping, and cutting cable in an effort to lower our monthly expenses. The fact is, 80.9% of baby boomers, 79.9% of Gen Xers, and 81.5% of millennials carry some kind of debt. Chances are, you’re one of them and saving money is pretty important to you.

However, there are some expenses that cannot be avoided. Orthodontics are one of them. Whether it’s for yourself or someone in your family, if your dentist recommends aligners, the common reaction is to panic a little bit and wonder how much it’s all going to cost.

Unfortunately, DIY orthodontics are increasing in popularity as a way to save money. Let me just come right out and say it: they are a bad idea. Let’s go over what they are and why we do NOT recommend them for our patients.

What Are DIY Clear Aligners?

DIY clear aligners look like Invisalign trays that you can order off the internet. Once you place your order, you will get the option to either go into an office to have a scan of your teeth done, or you can create an impression of your teeth at home (on your own).

Once you submit your information, the company will send you a series of clear aligner trays in the mail that you will wear for a certain period of time. The total time is almost always less than Invisalign, and significantly less than traditional metal braces.

Lack of Oversight

One of the biggest selling points of DIY clear aligners is the fact that you don’t have to visit an orthodontist like you normally would for braces or other aligners. In fact, if you do the impressions at home, you don’t have to see anyone, ever. Great, right? Well, not so fast.

The lack of oversight that comes with this treatment option is one of the main reasons we don’t recommend them for our patients. All orthodontic treatments should be monitored by a dental professional. Not doing so could lead to permanent damage such as gum recession, tooth loss or loosening, and ironically, alignment issues. These are not only serious issues, but they can be expensive to reverse.

Effectiveness Concerns

What’s worse than causing damage to your mouth? Causing damage to your mouth AND not solving the original problem that led you to get the aligners in the first place! With any orthodontic treatment plan, a patient will need adjustments along the way. They may even need attachments to make the aligners more comfortable and effective, or an additional appliance to complete the treatment.

If you’ve gone the DIY route, you’re not being seen by an orthodontist, so there’s no way to determine if the alignment issues are actually being resolved. Remember, you’re not actually saving money on your orthodontic treatment if your teeth will need additional work to correct issues caused by the DIY clear aligners! Similarly, if they don’t actually do the job, you’ll be paying twice for another treatment later.

Final Thoughts

DIY clear aligners may be tempting, but the process is not as convenient as the advertisements make it out to be. You run the very real risk of damaging your teeth and gums, which will end up causing you to spend even more money in the long-run to fix.

If you’re concerned about the cost of an orthodontic treatment, the best thing to do is to speak to your dentist. There are almost always payment options that you can take advantage of to make it easier on your budget. The friendly team at Inspire Dental Wellness is here to answer any questions you may have! Just give us a call at 708-460-6699.

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