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What is the difference between at-home and in-practice teeth straightening?

At-home teeth straightening kits are becoming increasingly common. You may have seen them advertised on your Facebook feed or promoted by your favourite Instagram influencers. These simple teeth straightening kits promise to be quick, easy and cheaper than heading to your orthodontist. But is at-home teeth straightening safe? And should you trust a mail-order company with your orthodontic treatment?

The first thing to note is that the British Orthodontic Society has raised concerns about the rise of DIY braces. The only person qualified to carry out an orthodontic treatment in the UK is someone who is registered with the General Dental Council. Undergoing orthodontic treatment without the supervision of a

What is at-home teeth straightening?

Many companies are offering at-home teeth straightening. You will typically visit their website and fill in a questionnaire. If you are a suitable candidate, they will send you an impression kit in the post. This will include a soft putty material and a mouth guard to bite into to get impressions. Some DIY braces providers have clinics you can visit to undergo a mouth scan.

You will then receive a series of clear aligners in the post. You will typically wear each aligner for two weeks before moving on to the next in the series. At the end of the treatment, you will be sent a retainer you can wear at night time to keep your teeth in place.

Do at-home teeth straightening kits work?

Orthodontic treatment is very complex and typically requires checkups and supervision by a professional orthodontist. This is why at-home teeth straightening kits can fail. If you have a problem with your aligners, or if you are experiencing any pain, you will not have the same support available in-practice.

Throughout an in-practice orthodontic treatment plan, your dentist will check the progress of your teeth and may ask you to wear one aligner longer, for example. They might also add attachments to your teeth to help the aligners to get better traction. None of this will be available with a DIY orthodontic kit. Once you get your aligners in the post, you are very much on your own.

Is at-home teeth-straightening safe?

As mentioned above, the British Orthodontic Society has raised concerns. They stated: “The British Orthodontic Society strongly advise the public not to undertake such treatments. If you are considering braces please seek the advice of your dentist first.”

For minor imperfections, the risks are smaller. But for more serious alignment issues, you could risk damaging your teeth permanently. There are also issues with poorly fitting aligners which can lead to gum damage and gum loss.

What are the advantages of in-practice teeth straightening?

When you choose in-practice teeth straightening, there are some clear advantages.

● Supervised treatment. Your orthodontic journey will be supervised by a professional every step of the way. This one-on-one support can be incredibly reassuring for patients.

● Choice. You won’t only have the option to wear clear aligners, which aren’t right for everyone. You could also choose from traditional fixed braces or lingual braces.

● Safety. A key part of the orthodontic journey is the pre-qualifying checks which include X rays of your teeth and jaws, in addition to scans. This will help to identify any underlying problems before treatment starts.

● Payment plans. We offer affordable, interest-free payment plans to help you spread the cost of treatment.

What are the advantages of at-home teeth straightening?

Although there are dangers, some people may still be attracted to the at-home teeth straightening option. This is typically because of the following advantages.

● Price. At-home teeth straightening is a lot cheaper than in-practice teeth straightening. But it’s important to remember that it’s cheaper because you aren’t paying for clinical expertise.

● Convenience. Some people feel that they don’t have time for regular dentist visits so a mail-order option is more convenient.

What if my at-home teeth straightening goes wrong or doesn’t work?

If you have an issue with your at-home treatment or it simply doesn’t work, you should contact the treatment provider. Unfortunately, at-home teeth straightening is not monitored by the General Dental Council. If you have used an at-home teeth straightening kit and you are worried about damage to your teeth, you should see your usual dentist as soon as possible.

If you’re interested in learning more about orthodontic treatment options with Stoke Orthodontics, get in touch today!