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17 March 2021

Invisalign™ vs DIY teeth straighteners

Invisalign™ is the category leader in clear orthodontic aligners. The company has been around since 1998 and they’ve garnered thousands of hours in specialised training and regulated guideline reviews. They’ve improved the product through trial and error, and it is supported by intensive research. Invisalign™ has transformed more than eight million smiles worldwide, as these Invisalign™ before and after shots show. It is now the go-to solution for basic and complex orthodontic solutions.

But they’re not the only solution available in the market. Recently, there are also several do-it-yourself (DIY) at-home aligners such as SmileDirectClub, byte and WonderSmile. They’re sold as a cheaper alternative to professional clear aligners by dentists.

For clients seeking to straighten their teeth, it is extremely important to know the risks of selecting an alternate route to professional, in-person care.

How do the experience and process differ?

There are many differences between the DIY kits and in-person professional care that we provide using Invisalign™. The key differences lie in the process.

The at-home, DIY process involves the client doing most of the work without much (if any) diagnosis and supervision from a dental expert. After moulds are taken, clients receive aligners in the mail. And there is usually no in-person assessment of the client with a dental professional throughout the entirety of the process. You are expected to track your progress, self-diagnose any issues and call a hotline if something is not right. It is our opinion that having this type of complex dentistry done without proper supervision and is risky. It could lead to damage, and if that damage does happen, you have little recourse.

By contrast, with Invisalign™ treatment, our expert dental professionals are heavily involved in the your smile journey. It all starts with a complimentary consultation with our team where we access your suitability for this form of treatment depending on your specific oral health and condition. We are drawing from extensive experience with orthodontic cases and ongoing continuing Invisalign™ education. We will plan the ideal treatment, oversee your treatment with in-person appointments regularly and will make tweaks to your treatment as needed. We focus on full safety, compliance, and progress of you, the client, every month.

What are the risks with at-home, DIY aligners?

There are increasing concerns surrounding more ‘convenient’ at-home aligners. The ‘convenience’ is short-term and risky.

I do not think the diagnosis can happen with three clicks. These companies treat people as shoppers. They oversimplify the treatment planning and tooth movement process and that’s really the major difference. Clients need to understand that there is more to treating a smile than just moving visible portions of the teeth.

Many clients need an in-person expert professional. Each person is uniquely different. They have varying tissue depths and differences in smile arches. And at The Dental Room, we provide customised treatment plans and aligners to address each client’s individual needs. We’re a proud Platinum Invisalign™ Provider, with extensive education and experience in teeth straightening. Not only can we treat every client holistically and address a client’s cosmetic concerns, but also the underlying potential issues. After all, what is the use of beautifully straight teeth if they cannot function well or lead to irreversible damage?

Perhaps the most obvious issue to consider is that if something does not go as expected with treatment, your only option is to call a hotline. And things can go wrong. You might experience pain or discomfort. Non-compliance (the single biggest concern with all aligners) is also an issue.

With in-person care, our expert team will holistically approach your treatment. We’ll ensure we address all aspects of your oral care from start to finish.

You can’t treat what you don’t know

A key component of the initial consult with our team at The Dental Room includes assessing your overall oral health. You need a professional to assess your potential to withstand aligners.

With at-home, DIY aligners, you track your progress, assess anything that goes wrong, and treat discomfort. Our team has decades of experience and can quickly and safely pinpoint any issues that may be unseen to the untrained eye.

This includes critical aspects of oral disease, bone structure, infections, and gum disease. These need to be monitored before you’re healthy enough to begin aligner treatment.

It is also my opinion that there are cases where aligners aren’t appropriate. Here are a few examples:
1. When teeth are rotated more than 20 degrees
2. When teeth tilt at an angle of more than 45 degrees
3. When a tooth is displaced from its socket
4. When teeth need minor ‘shaving down’ at various points during aligner treatment to make room for the movement and to provide optimal cosmetic results.

The cost

A big drawcard for DIY treatment is the cost. But you cannot put a price on health. Also remember, proper dental care is actually very affordable. Especially at The Dental Room, where we have both interest-free pay-as-you-go plans and payment plans available.

To learn more, book a smile consultation.

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