Dangers of DIY Orthodontics

Mar 29, 2018
Dr. Ed Grubaugh
You have seen them. They are all over the Internet. Videos and articles of how to straighten or close the gap between your teeth. Following the instructions in these videos and articles— by individuals who have zero training in orthodontics— is about the worst decision you can make for your overall oral health. Furthermore, it is also bad to receive impressions and clear aligners through mail order without ever consulting an orthodontist, and even more Do-It-Yourself (DIY) orthodontic techniques exist out there. Any type of DIY project can be hit or miss – we have all seen a failed Pinterest project or two shared on Facebook. However, melted crayon art is a much different kind of DIY than orthodontic treatment. If you know how to bake or sew, then by all means go ahead and attempt to make a dress from that new pattern, or make those waffle iron cookies. But unless you have experience in orthodontics, doing it yourself can come with complications. Performing DIY orthodontic treatments can cause:
  • Infection
  • Gum damage
  • Loss of teeth
  • Cavities or infections that are missed or undiagnosed
DIY orthodontics can have terrible consequences, with dangers that people do not think of when trying to close the gaps between teeth using their own rubber bands and elastics.  For example, there is a risk of infection since the teeth are connected to the gums and blood supply. The gums might tear and not heal properly. There is also a risk of damaging the attachment between the tooth and gums, with the tooth no longer receiving the support it needs.  Realistically, you can lose a tooth with just a simple rubber band if it slides up the tooth and cuts all attachments to it. One of the worst aspects of DIY orthodontics is that you are operating on a dangerous lack of information since you never consult a trained orthodontist. It is best to avoid risking damage to your teeth or infection. Let Grubaugh Orthodontics know what you want to accomplish with your teeth, and we will help you find the safest and most cost-effective way to achieve it. We want you to be informed and practical about your oral health. Thinking About DIY Orthodontics? The new year brings a new you mentality and renewal of flex spending, which is why many people start considering Invisalign at the beginning of a new year. We receive many questions about DIY orthodontic services because patients have concerns over the cost of orthodontic work, not to mention the need to coordinate office visits with their busy schedules. At first glance, DIY orthodontics may seem like the way to go. These companies work by sending you a mold that you use to take impressions of your teeth and then send back to the company. They then send clear teeth trays back to you by mail. It is important to note that these are definitely not an Invisalign product, which is only available at select orthodontic practices like Grubaugh Orthodontics. The Problem with DIY Orthodontics You should always schedule an in-person visit with an orthodontist despite the fact that these DIY products appear to offer conveniences. DIY companies are very limited in what they can do.  For instance, the molds of your teeth are taken remotely, so the best you can hope is a semi-accurate product. And anything more complicated than a small shift will be denied because DYI companies can only take basic cases. So, while you can always apply— yes, there is an application process—  for DIY orthodontics, take heed that 30 percent of cases will be denied and referred to a local orthodontist like Dr. Grubaugh. Woman at a doctor consultation Why You Need Expert Assistance To paraphrase the Transformers, there is more to the mouth than meets the eye. Since DIY orthodontics do not take x-rays, they cannot identify potential unforeseen problems requiring special consideration or maneuvering of teeth. You may have short roots or impacted teeth that will hinder a shift.  As another instance, sometimes orthodontists have to shave a patient’s teeth to obtain a better fit and provide the teeth an even appearance. To ensure that your trays fit perfectly, your orthodontist uses a computer-generated scanner known as iTero. One important function of the orthodontist is to ensure your teeth can move in the direction shown in the computer-simulated model. Dr. Grubaugh can make any necessary modifications and customize the generic computer-generated simulation to move your teeth in the most effective way possible. The chances of your teeth resulting in a perfect smile are much better when you seek an expert’s help from the start. Trust us, you do not want to see the unfortunate results of some inappropriately planned DIY treatments! You will not know the experience level of the person who is reviewing your mold and computer simulation with DIY orthodontics.  They use a tray made out of inferior plastic material as opposed to Invisalign’s patented Smart Track material. Even when they know the likelihood of success is low, we fear DIY companies may overreach on some of their accepted cases, and the patient would have been better off starting with Grubaugh Orthodontics from the beginning! Avoiding Orthodontist Fees Many patients see DIY options as a quick fix and an alternative to their concerns with the cost of going to an orthodontist. Many uninsured patients take this route because it might seem that these systems offer a good value because you do not have to see an orthodontist. However, you will end up needing to see an orthodontist anyway if you do not get the right fit due to an underlying issue with your teeth. And if anything goes wrong with the DIY kit and impressions, you will still need to get proper orthodontic assistance. Doing financial work Affordable and Convenient We know many of you have concerns about the cost of orthodontics, but you will be pleased to know that this option is more affordable than you think. Many insurance plans allow for great savings by covering the cost of your orthodontics as in-network. A helpful option for the insured and uninsured alike, is interest-free and flexible financing plans that allow patients to pay over time! Why trust your smile to internet tutorials and vloggers, when affordable orthodontics are available from Grubaugh Orthodontics? If you are in the Lansing or Dewitt area, get in touch with us today to find out how we can get you started on the road to a straighter, healthier, safer, and expert smile!

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