Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects can be a hit or miss – we’ve all seen “Pinterest fails” shared on Facebook from friends and family. However, organizing your pots and pans with organizer folders is a different kind of DIY than orthodontics. If you know how to sew, go ahead, attempt to make a dress from a new pattern. Unless you have experience in orthodontics, doing it yourself can come with complications.
Should you use DIY orthodontics?
Many people start considering Invisalign at the beginning of a new year – with the new year comes a “new you” mentality (not to mention a renewal of flex spending). Hopefully, your New Year resolutions are still going strong! This year, we at Bubon Orthodontics have had many inquiries for Invisalign consultations the past month, as well as questions about Do-It-Yourself (DIY) orthodontic services. Some patients have concerns about the cost of orthodontic work, not to mention the need to coordinate office visits during your busy schedules.
At a glance, it may seem that DIY orthodontics are the way to go. These companies work by sending you a mold that you use to take impressions of your teeth to send to the company. They then send clear teeth trays back by mail. It’s important to note that these are NOT an Invisalign product, which is only available at select orthodontic practices.
What is the problem with DIY orthodontics?
Even though these products offer a lot of conveniences, you should still schedule an in-person visit with an orthodontist; DIY companies are somewhat limited in what they can do. Because everything is done remotely, you are taking the molds of your teeth and hoping it’s done correctly. Also, these companies can take only basic cases – anything more complicated than a small shift will be denied. So while you can apply (yes, apply!) for DIY orthodontics, 30 percent of cases will be denied and referred to a local orthodontist.
Why do you need expert assistance?
Often, there is more to the mouth than meets the eye. Without an x-ray, DIY orthodontics can’t see if there is an unseen problem that needs special consideration or maneuvering of teeth – you may have short roots or impacted teeth that will hinder a shift. Sometimes orthodontists need to shave patients’ teeth to obtain a better fit and give the teeth an even appearance.
Your orthodontist uses a computer-generated scanner known as Itero to help ensure that your trays fit perfectly. One important function of the orthodontist is to make sure your teeth can move in the direction shown in the computer-simulated model. Using their knowledge and experience, the orthodontist 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 coming out perfectly are much better when you seek an expert’s help from the start! Trust us, we have seen the unfortunate results of some inappropriately planned Invisalign treatments.
With DIY orthodontics, you won’t know who’s reviewing your mold, computer simulation or their experience level. And as mentioned, the trays are not made of Invisalign’s patented Smart Track material, but rather they use an inferior plastic tray material.
We fear DIY companies may overreach on some of their accepted cases even when they know the likelihood of success is low. The patient would have been better off starting with an orthodontist from the beginning!
What about avoiding orthodontist fees?
Many patients who use DIY kits are concerned about the costs of going to an orthodontist; they see DIY options as a quick fix. At a glance, it might seem as though these systems offer a good value because you don’t have to see an orthodontist. Many uninsured patients take this route because of that concern. However, if you don’t get the right fit because of an underlying issue with your teeth, you’ll end up having to see an orthodontist anyway. And if you use a DIY kit and anything goes wrong with the impressions, you will still need to get proper orthodontic assistance.
More affordable and convenient than you think
If you’ve been concerned about the cost of orthodontics, you’ll be pleased to know that this option may be more affordable than you originally thought. Many insurance plans will cover the cost of your orthodontics as in-network, allowing for greater savings. Interest-free financing plans allow patients to pay over time, an option that is helpful for the uninsured. You can also enjoy benefits like discounts for scheduling appointments in the morning during the school year.
In an office like Bubon Orthodontics, their #1 status as an Invisalign provider affords them manufacturing discounts that they pass on to the patient. In addition, if your tooth movements are simple (like the kind the DIY companies approve) then the cost can be surprisingly reasonable!
You deserve a nice smile! Having orthodontic work done never needs to be inconvenient and offers more options than you may have realized were available.