In this day and age you can get anything in the mail, even a kit to straighten your teeth.
But did you know just how dangerous do-it-yourself orthodontic kits can actually be?
Turns out that DIY tooth alignment, even with clear aligners, can mess up your gums and even cause tooth loss if you’re not careful.
“I have a lot of patients who come to me after trying DIY alignment companies,” said Dr. Todor Stavrev, an orthodontist with a boutique practice in Union Square. “They’re unsatisfied with the experience, and often discontinue treatment because they made their teeth worse.”
Dr. Stavrev said he understands why people sign up for DIY orthodontics. It’s cheap—you’re basically only paying for materials—and they claim it’s fast.
“It probably works well for mild cases, if people just need to align the front teeth,” Stavrev said. “People may only look at the front six teeth, but if you have problems with bite and tooth alignment, you really need to be monitored by an orthodontist.”
Warnings against do-it-yourself orthodontics has spread across the industry. In 2017 the American Dental Association (ADA) passed a resolution strongly discouraging the practice because of possible irreparable damage to people’s teeth.
In 2019 the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) did the same in a news release about SmileDirect LLC, a direct-to-consumer orthodontic system that is locked in lawsuits with regulatory boards in several states and now has more than 1,700 customer complaints logged through the Better Business Bureau.
“These DIY orthodontics companies send all these disclaimers and waivers for your treatment,” Stavrev said. “Everyone that comes to me complains that they couldn’t speak with anyone about their treatment. If something goes wrong, you’re on your own.”
Now, compare that experience with the kind of care you receive with a trained orthodontist. At Todorthodontics, Dr. Todor Stavrev’s boutique practice, he offers the latest technology in accelerated tooth alignment and bite correction with a touch of luxury.
“If something goes wrong with your aligners, I can always put partial braces on,” Stavrev said. “I can make custom appliances for your teeth. We orthodontists are trained to even do mini surgeries that can further help if you have a stubborn tooth that doesn’t want to align. Direct-to-consumer companies don’t do anything like this, period.”
If you are considering teeth alignment as an adult, make sure you put your treatment into the right hands.
“When it comes to your teeth, you have one set,” Stavrev said. “I wouldn’t risk losing them.”