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  • Writer's pictureCoastal Orthodontics


The modern consumer wants things easier, faster and cheaper which has led to a bounty of DIY (do-it-yourself) projects. We find ourselves foregoing a travel agent because we can research online. YouTube has showed us enough videos to reconstruct our car engine. And most recently, straightening teeth is done without ever stepping foot in a dental office.

Companies such as SmileDirect Club and Candid make it sound so easy. Fill up a tray with goopy impression material and snap a selfie, or pop into one of their “scan shops” to be scanned by a non-dental professional. (Side note: selfies are for vacations when you don’t have someone to take your picture, NOT for straightening teeth!). The clear aligners arrive on your doorstep, and you’re months away from a new smile. BUT WAIT… Are you really making the right choice?


- A thorough dental examination is NOT completed with these DIY companies, which could lead to harmful, expensive dental problems if not diagnosed correctly (ie: gum loss, changes in the bite, or tooth loss). The companies also do NOT take x-rays to evaluate the state of the mouth.

- With at-home treatment, you are not monitored by an orthodontist or state-licensed dental professional to see if teeth are moving in an efficient, healthy way. Sometimes teeth get too loose, or they collide too hard with opposing teeth, causing damage.

- In the majority of cases, the tooth movement needed is greater than these companies can deliver. Typically, the at-home aligners focus only on the six front teeth (“your front porch”) and do not bother aligning the back teeth, leading to major discrepancies in your bite.

- If you have a problem with your aligners, you will have to contact a hotline which may not be able to answer your question. Not everyone in a global company will be well-versed on your individual case.

- Sometimes, in order to properly align teeth, more space is needed between the teeth. Very often we slenderize a few teeth with sandpaper discs, enough to give the teeth wiggle room to move. If you’re not seeing an orthodontist, who’s going to do that for you?


- Following four years of dental school, orthodontists attend 2-3 years of advanced training in how to move teeth in harmony with the jaws for proper function and esthetics.

- Orthodontists are trained to coordinate closely with your dentist to give you a fantastic smile that works and looks great.

- An orthodontist provides you with specialized care, focused on moving your teeth efficiently and safely.

- In addition to residency, 40% of orthodontists take additional examinations to be certified by the American Board of Orthodontics. This is the highest certification that is granted to orthodontists across the country.

Humans ONLY have one set of teeth. Unfortunately, we are not sharks and therefore don’t grow new adult teeth. The goal is for our teeth to outlive us! Make an informed decision when choosing to move and straighten your teeth. Seek more information from a board certified orthodontist so that we can help you safely achieve the smile you deserve.

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