Clear aligners have grown immensely in popularity over the past decade, and this has inspired the rise of DIY clear aligners that can be ordered from the internet and done from the comfort of your own home, hence the do-it-yourself part of these kits. DIY clear aligner companies simply send you impression kits so you can take and send impressions of your teeth, and they will ship you all the clear aligners you need. It almost sounds too good to be true, and with so many things in life what seems too good to be true is often a bad idea. Especially if you are taking shortcuts with your dental health. So, what’s the catch? 

What Do Clear Aligners Do? 

Clear aligners are an orthodontic treatment option that gently and gradually moves your teeth into proper alignment using a series of clear aligners. They’re made from clear plastic that’s virtually invisible and are removable, making them a popular alternative to traditional braces. Clear aligners can correct several orthodontic problems, including crowded teeth, underbite, gapped teeth, and overbite. 

There are two common ways of getting clear aligner treatment:  

  • In-office clear aligners: This is the safest and most effective clear aligner treatment. The whole process is done under the supervision of dental professionals who will examine you and create a custom treatment plan to get your teeth into proper alignment. Your orthodontist will monitor your treatment progress to ensure everything is going according to plan, and you get a straight and functional smile at the end of your treatment. This approach to removable aligner treatment is the way to get the best results. 
  • DIY clear aligners: This home treatment is also known as mail-order or direct-to-consumer clear aligners. Similar to regular clear aligners, these are also a series of aligners meant to gradually straighten your teeth. However, they are directly shipped to the patient without a face-to-face consultation with an orthodontist or physical evaluation of the current teeth alignment. This means you’re in charge of your orthodontic treatment, not a qualified, experienced orthodontist. Sadly, many patients don’t fully understand what they are signing up for and DIY orthodontics often leave people dissatisfied with their results. 

Why Should You Only Get Clear Aligners While Closely Monitored By Your Dentist? 

Naturally, treatment using DIY aligners is less expensive than Invisalign treatment provided by a certified dentist. But just because you pay less doesn’t mean home aligners don’t come with their own costs. Orthodontic treatment that isn’t designed, supervised, or monitored by a dentist is incredibly risky and often ineffective. The last thing someone wants is to create additional dental problems created from cheap DIY braces. The cost to fix new problems could be far greater in the long run when compared to simply getting orthodontic care from a licensed orthodontist or dentist.

Here are the benefits of having your clear aligner treatment monitored by your dentist:  

  • Monitor underlying dental issues: Before any orthodontic treatment, you need to be examined by a licensed dentist to determine if you have any underlying dental issues, such as cavities or gum disease. If these issues aren’t dealt with before treatment, they can interfere with your treatment. For example, treating a cavity with a filling can change the tooth’s shape, which usually requires a whole new set of aligners, which adds extra cost and causes time delays. Underlying problems left untreated can also result in long-term damage to gums, teeth, and the bones surrounding them. 
  • Regular office visits to monitor your progress and oral health: Unlike DIY companies that take a one-and-done approach, your dentist will review your treatment every couple of months to ensure your aligners fit well and your treatment is going according to plan. They will also monitor your oral health to ensure there are no problems. 
  • Adjustments can be made as needed: Your dentist will assess the treatment, monitor changes over time, and address any new physiological developments that may arise over the course of your treatment. Regular visits to your dentist can not only make sure you get straighter teeth but it can help reduce the average treatment time for clear braces.
  • Unmonitored orthodontic treatment can cause irreversible damage: Without proper supervision from a qualified dentist, using DIY clear aligners could result in potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues. 

Clear Aligner Treatment at Trail West Family Dentistry 

At Trail West Dentistry, we know that no two smiles are the same. Each person has a unique orthodontic condition, a unique lifestyle, unique preferences, and a single, generic treatment plan that the DIY clear aligners offer will not fit everyone. That’s why we provide monitored clear aligner treatment.  Dr. Gould will develop a treatment plan that considers every factor, such as your current condition, the smile you want to achieve, your lifestyle, and any preferences you have, to help you get straight teeth, and achieve the smile of your dreams. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!