Before you buy those mail-order braces . . .

there are things you need to know. 

The American Dental Association (ADA) has issued a warning about the use of mail-order aligners. Aligning or straightening of teeth is a complex process that requires regular management and adjustment to the device(s) in use. The use of mail-order aligners, however, is growing in popularity.

Most dentists and orthodontists use procedures and processes that gently and gradually move the teeth into position. Traditional braces - pixabay cco --tooth-366335 1280wire braces are adjusted frequently, and the complete process requires several months or even years. Invisalign and other invisible straightening products used by dentists are also replaced frequently in order to move the teeth gradually, gently, and safely. 

A business called “SmileDirectClub” has arisen (and others are sure to follow) as an alternative to dental or orthodontic care. Why do people choose this option? Clearly, one factor is cost. SmileDirectClub charges a one-time fee of $1,850 (or 24 monthly payments totaling $2,170). Invisalign, on the other hand, can cost between $3,000 and $8,000, depending on patient need. Another factor in the choice is the time involved in the frequent visits to the dentist for adjustments of the devices. 

We need to remember that dentistry requires the involvement of a trained and certified dentist or orthodontist. The do-it-yourself (DYI) approach can, and often does, cause more harm that good. In fact, some of the damage done by SmileDirectClub are irreparable. The Better Business Bureau has received 205 consumer complaints against SmileDirectClub during the last 36 months. Of the 19,000 orthodontists who are members of the American Association of Orthodontists, nearly 13 percent of their members are seeing patients who have tried the DYI program and endured some harm. Some of the patients who tried the DYI approach had suffered irreparable damage. 

Clearly, some of those who have tried the SmileDirectClub and its DYI approach believe the procedure is effective and successful. Others, however, have suffered harm of some kind. The harm ranges in type and extent. 

Before you click the “buy” button and order DYI aligners from a company you know relatively little about, please consider the risks involved in this approach. Instead, see a dentist or orthodontist who is trained, qualified and licensed to provide a safe and effective procedure. It is worth the additional cost to ensure that your teeth and gums are not damaged during the procedure.