Dental Office Aligners vs. DIY Aligners

There is clearly a large market for people interested in straightening crooked teeth.  And as a dentist, I know there’s great value in having an attractive smile beyond the aesthetics and positive self-esteem.  Having straight teeth prevents food from getting trapped in tight places improving a person’s oral health.

So what’s with these Direct Club DIYer orthodontic aligners we’re seeing advertised just about everywhere? And what are my personal thoughts as many patients have asked me about this?

First off, it seems to be cheaper than those products offered in dental and orthodontic offices.  At Gardens Dental Care we offer an affordable Clear Correct aligner special for just $79 a month.  But looks can be deceiving – a dental professional can advise on the estimated number of aligners necessary for a patient to see the best results.  An unlimited number of aligners with Clear Correct is just under $4,000 and that includes hands on doctor supervision and any necessary attachments.  Plus, moving teeth usually requires small tooth colored attachments (bumps) be placed on selected teeth to aid in movement.  And polishing (inter proximal reduction) is usually necessary in most cases.  Neither of these are able to be done with the DIYer’s and the difference in the final result is tremendous.

Not to mention that should an individual have gum disease or an abscess tooth or infection, the unsupervised movement of teeth can be catastrophic and cause tooth loss.  With that situation, the costs would sky rocket and is dangerous to the patient’s health as tooth infections can get into the bloodstream.

Second, DIYer aligners require that their customer make their own impressions at home.  Our team has more than 30 years of experience, the latest in technology and even then we find the process to be challenging while critical to the success of a case.  There’s an art and a science to capturing the best impressions and our team prepares them daily.  In most cases, we take digital scans of the patients mouth, bypassing the need for messy impressions.

Thirdly, when a patient regularly visits the dentist to check their progress it helps hold them accountable for the wearing of the aligners.  Like seeing your fitness trainer for exercise, the face-to-face relationship adds value and discipline to the process.

Finally, at my age I have learned when it makes sense to seek a professional and when I can do it myself.  No doubt patients too will weigh the pros and cons and make their best decision.