You may have heard of online orthodontic companies that promise to straighten your teeth by mail like SmileDirectClub, SnapCorrect, and SmileLove, just to name a few. These companies claim that you can have straight teeth just by taking a selfie and/or an impression of your teeth, then wearing aligners that arrive in the mail for a few months! As the old saying goes – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Before you decide to use a do-it-yourself orthodontic company, there are a few things you should know. First, many of these companies do not require any kind of in-person evaluation and/or ongoing supervision by an orthodontist. Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of the mouth could result in potentially irreversible damage such as tooth and gum loss. It is extremely important for an orthodontist to look for any untreated cavities, underlying gum infections, and other issues before any teeth-straightening is done.
Just last year, the American Dental Association passed a resolution strongly discouraging the practice of do-it-yourself orthodontics because of the potential for harm to patients. The American Association of Orthodontics has also been cautioning consumers about the dangers of do-it-yourself orthodontics. It is important to know that orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school and are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning the bite. Many dentists involved in these do-it-yourself companies have not received this specialized training.
If you are considering using a direct-to-consumer orthodontic company, you can find some good questions to consider here. We highly recommend having an in-person consultation with a member of the American Association of Orthodontists like Dr. Pulsipher before making any decision about orthodontic treatment. Your health is too important to take chances!