We get it. It sounds simple. It sounds affordable. It sounds convenient.
You order a kit online. It is delivered to your door. You take an impression of your teeth in the comfort of your home. Or you stop by the clinic and have the impression taken. The company sends you clear aligners to straighten your teeth. And it costs a lot less than orthodontist-supervised Invisalign!
In 2013, SmileDirect Club became the first company to offer self-directed teeth straightening. The fact that they are being sued by customers all over the U.S. should tell you something.
Everything that’s wrong with at-home aligner systems
The American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthodontists have released warnings about the perils of direct-to-consumer orthodontics.
“Orthodontic treatment involves the movement of biological material, which if not done correctly could lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues.” American Association of Orthodontists
SmileDirectClub was the first company to offer DIY aligners. They provide custom clear aligners without regular office visits. They tout an average cost savings of over 50% of the price of traditional aligners administered by an orthodontist. They report that the average length of treatment is 6 months.
All aligner systems require a 3D image of your teeth. With Invisalign and ClearCorrect, your orthodontist creates the scan in their office.
With SmileDirect, you can visit one of their “SmileShops” to get a scan. SmileDirect advertises that there are SmileShops in every U.S. state. They also provide the option of taking your own impression using their at-home kit.
You can send a selfie of your teeth. Think about that. Selfies are for vacations. Are they a substitute for the skill of a specialist who attended dental school and several years of orthodontics training?
Is it worth the risk?
Don’t take chances with your smile. Many orthodontists have patients whose self-directed treatment completely messed up their teeth. Some of these individuals end up losing some of their teeth because of mail-ordering treatment gone wrong.