Do It Yourself Orthodontics

Recently, mail order braces and at-home teeth aligner kits have become very popular. They seem appealing, as they are advertised as affordable and convenient. While at-home kits might seem like an ideal solution to a busy lifestyle, they are NOT the miracle fix that they seem to be on social media.

Not seeing a Dentist or orthodontist in person
– Any kind of orthodontic treatment – including braces, Invisalign, or at-home aligners – involves shifting the position of teeth in your mouth by applying continuous, direct pressure, and over time, changing the shape of your jaw to accommodate this new positioning.
– A dentist can fix problems that cannot be seen via scan or impression. Many issues exist below the gum line, and with the jaw itself. These issues cannot be treated with your typical mail-in aligner kit, and can even worsen with use.
– If your gums are inflamed or infected with bacteria while this process is underway, it could compromise the integrity of your teeth.
– Having a comprehensive exam prior to using aligners is necessary for proper treatment.

Your treatment is not monitored
– Throughout treatment, your teeth may move faster, slower or in ways that were not expected. If you are being monitored by a professional, they are able to modify your treatment if needed. When you use mail-order braces or aligners, you won’t have this specialized treatment. Their plan is based off of your initial scans or impressions, and is not changed throughout, which may cause serious damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw.
– In teeth crowding situations certain teeth may require reshaping.
– Movement of your teeth may change the way your teeth come together. You may require a bite adjustment.

Aligners don’t work for everyone
– Everyone’s orthodontic health is different, and everyone has different needs. There are several different types of braces on the market and a dentist will be able to provide the best system for your individual case.
– Some mail-order kit providers may not tell you that you’re not a suitable candidate for clear aligners when you mail in your pictures or your impressions.
– Some users of mail-order kits even said that their teeth were worse at the end of their treatment than when they started possibly due to ill-fitting aligners or placement issues that need a different form of treatment. Had they been assessed by a professional, the damage would not have occurred.

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Dr. Gary Vander Vliet

Preventive, Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry


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Hastings Commons, Building 2B;
486 Schooley’s Mountain Road;
Hackettstown, New Jersey 07840


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