Many consumers have shown a keen interest in straightening their teeth without braces leading the way for clear brace systems such as Invisalign. The next innovation was the complete elimination of dentist supervision via at-home teeth straightening kits. Now, new teeth straightening options have seemingly exploded recently. However, are these at-home teeth straightening kits that are aggressively marketed across the US safe for your teeth?

 How At-Home Teeth Straightening Works

At-home teeth straightening works by first sending the customer a kit that allows them to create a 3-D mold of their teeth. After submitting these to the company, a series of clear aligners are periodically mailed to the patient, allowing them to skip a visit to their dentist’s or orthodontist’s office altogether. So why are consumers turning more frequently to this DIY version of teeth straightening? The main reason is the price. Skipping dentist check-ups and avoiding a trip to the orthodontist according to one leading at-home teeth straightening company is around 60% cheaper than traditional invisible retainers or teeth straightening methods.

 Dangers of At-Home Teeth Straightening

The American Association of Orthodontists stated in 2017 that nearly 15% of their patients had attempted some form of at-home teeth straightening. Orthodontists have recently voiced warnings about these straightening kits, saying that the at-home straightening kits could, without the proper professional supervision, actually cause irreparable damage to your teeth.

One of the main issues with direct-to-consumer teeth straightening kits is the absence of a dental professional’s continued attention. Adjusting bones in your jaw, as you can probably imagine, doesn’t happen easily and teeth straightening plans often need to be adjusted during the process. With at-home teeth straightening, you are missing this critical monitoring of your progress.

Another danger of at-home teeth straightening is that the aligners don’t work for everyone. A dentist can advise you on all your options and work with you to recommend a customized straightening plan, considering all the options available to them. The at-home teeth straightening kits don’t take into account all the possibilities.

Additionally, by circumventing the trusted guidance of a professional, you could be missing significant issues with your jaw or teeth roots. Dentists and orthodontists will always take an x-ray and check your gums before suggesting a teeth straightening plan. Significant complications can occur when bone levels of teeth or gum disease are present but not caught prior to applying teeth straightening methodologies. If gone unchecked, these could impact the results of your straightening attempts and possibly even cause more significant problems.

Lastly, a real danger of at-home teeth straightening kits is they could end up costing you more money than if you had made an appointment with your dental care facility. Sometimes, the at-home kits can leave your smile looking worse than before you started the treatment, requiring you to pay extra money to repair the damage.

DIY Braces: Don’t Attempt! 

What’s even more troubling is the rise in “DIY Braces” where individuals use household items such as dental floss, rubber bands, or even paper clips to create makeshift braces in an effort to straighten their teeth. If at-home teeth straightening kits were terrible ideas, these DIY home teeth straightening attempts are nightmares and have gone on record to be particularly disastrous for some people. Individuals have inadvertently lost teeth with DIY methods they read about on social media or attempted after watching YouTube videos. The cost of correcting a lost tooth can exceed over $20,000 and therefore just isn’t worth taking the risk.

Alternatives to At-Home Teeth Straightening 

For consumers who prefer seeking the advice of a trusted dental professional, there are quite a few options to the direct-to-consumer teeth straightening kits. Dentists in Knoxville see many adults who choose to take advantage of Invisalign clear braces, lingual braces (metal braces behind the teeth), clear ceramic braces, and orthodontic expansions. Because a trained and licensed dentist applies them, these professional teeth straightening options could be considered more effective and safer than at-home teeth straightening alternatives.

Contact Your Knoxville, TN, Dentist: A Good Start

Many things that were once only available from a licensed dentist or orthodontist are now being offered at-home.  A trip to your local dentist office, the easiest way to learn all your teeth straightening options is to visit a dentist near you. Your dentist will be able to give you all the options that are appropriate for you and allow you to decide your best choice based on advice you can trust. Contact us online or at 865-500-5700 for our UT Medical Center office or at 856-305-9440 for our West Knoxville office to make an appointment today.