Do-It-Yourself Braces? A Terrible Idea. Don’t Do It!

A perfect smile is worth doing it right.

Dr. Andrew Chase(Issued Spring 2019)  —  Would you ever repair your own cavities?

In the same way, you should never trust ‘Do-it-Yourself’ (DIY) or Direct to Consumer (DTC) Orthodontics advertised on TV and being introduced at pharmacies across the U.S.

Dr. Andrew Chase of ARCH Orthodontics, with nine offices between Boston and Cape Cod, warns prospective takers to think carefully before considering the harmful DIY route: “Don’t do it! Properly moving and straightening teeth is an art and science requiring six years of dental school.” Practicing since 1998, he is a former President of the Mass. Association of Orthodontists.

In one DIY case, a patient moved teeth in only 16 weeks. The problem: If you move a tooth too fast, you can cause damage to the bone and gums. And if you don’t put the tooth in the right position, you could throw off your bite, leading to additional damage and wear on the teeth. Both the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists strongly discourage DIY Orthodontics. In April, the ADA filed a Citizen Petition with the Food and Drug Administration outlining misleading claims of companies prescribing aligners without proper professional oversight.

“Changing the position of your teeth is not just about slipping in an aligner made 1,000 miles away and praying for a good outcome,” Dr. Chase says. “This can cause permanent damage: tooth loss, infection, cavities, and/or gum damage.” He offers several reasons to put your trust – and smile — in the hands of a trained professional:

  • DIY firms claim a trained pro oversees each case and remotely checks progress by smartphone. Untrue!
  • It’s not a true diagnosis when someone remotely reviews your case, and it’s not a serious treatment plan. It’s a determination, similar to how insurance companies work.
  • It’s not a true periodontal/dental health evaluation if an Orthodontist NEVER sees the patient in person.
  • The ‘treatment plan,’ designed by a lab tech and/or Artificial Intelligence, moves 3D images of teeth to potentially more favorable positions, hoping the result does not cause harm.
  • DTC patients must sign an arbitration agreement/waiver saying they won’t sue the aligner company, and are blocked from participating in any Class Action Suit against the company. Why this concern?

The AAO emphasizes that in-person visits are a crucial component of Orthodontic care.  Trained pros can spot gum disease during these visits and X-rays can detect bone loss not seen in photos. Dr. Chase says, “There’s no substitute for the personal attention and specialized skills you receive at ARCH. DIY service may cost less upfront, but comes with the HIGH RISK of jeopardizing your health, smile self-esteem, and how others see you?  We offer free consultation that guarantees safe, effective treatment, personalized care and peace of mind. Anyone who is dissatisfied with DIY Ortho results is encouraged to contact ARCH so highly-skilled Orthodontist can correct any issues.”