Why At-Home Orthodontics Are More Trouble Than They’re Worth

With the increasing advertisements of do-it-yourself orthodontic treatment, such as Smile Direct Club, you might be wondering if it is the route you should take. As an orthodontist, I believe in educating individuals and providing them with knowledge to make the best decision. While at-home orthodontics may seem like a cheaper, more convenient approach to braces, I am here to shed a brighter light on this type of treatment. 

For those unfamiliar with Smile Direct Club, it advertises itself as an easy, low-cost, no appointment alternative to seeing an orthodontist or dentist for clear aligner treatment. In larger cities and suburbs they have scanning centers where a “Smile Specialist” takes a 3-D scan of your teeth. Otherwise, the company sends a DIY kit for you to take an impression of your own teeth that you mail back. A few weeks later you receive clear aligners to correct your smile. No dentist, let alone an orthodontist actually examines you. No one assesses the health of your gums, your jaw joint or the bone that supports the teeth. No x-rays are taken to look at your roots. BTW – it’s the roots that actually move when an orthodontist moves your teeth. 

The main problem with Smile Direct Club treatment is that while it may straighten some teeth that are slightly misaligned it can completely change your bite, for the worse.  Your teeth are not only for show but part of a complex system that includes gums, bone, lips, joints, and jaw muscles that can be thrown out of balance by moving teeth without a full diagnosis.

On the surface, DIY orthodontics may seem cost-effective, but they are really not. The simple orthodontic cases that could be solved by Smile Direct Club are much less expensive when treated by a qualified orthodontist than a full set of traditional braces or Invisalign would be. At Moravec Orthodontics we are passionate that everyone should have the opportunity of a beautiful smile, regardless of financial status. Our goal is to make orthodontic treatment affordable for any budget. We also have an insurance expert on staff who is dedicated to getting you the benefits you deserve. 

At-home orthodontics can be dangerous—it can also cause more harm than good. To ensure your smile is in trusted, well-experienced hands, seeking professional orthodontic treatment is the wise option. The American Dental Association (ADA) warns against this do-it-yourself treatment and I agree. Orthodontists use science and technology in a constant effort to move teeth faster and easier. We have studied and been trained in this science, taking into consideration all components of your mouth including the jaw, bite, and gums to recommend proper treatment. This is a key aspect that is missing from DIY orthodontics like Smile Direct Club. 

Your smile is an investment in your future. I advise against do-it-yourself treatments because you will pay for it down the road. Trust that your smile is in good hands by doing research and finding an accomplished orthodontist.