Are At-Home Teeth Aligners Safe?

Are At Home Teeth Aligners Safe
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What Are At-Home Aligners?

At-home aligners are an alternative to traditional braces designed for people with mild-to-moderate teeth alignment issues. These aligners eliminate the need for regular visits to an orthodontist, making them a convenient option for those with busy schedules. Using telehealth technology, the aligner companies offer remote treatment and guidance for a variety of dental alignment problems, including overbites, underbites, crossbites, and mild gaps or crowding between teeth.

How Do At-Home Aligners Work?

The treatment process starts with an assessment by the aligner company to determine if at-home aligners are the right option for you. If approved for treatment, you have to capture the current state of your teeth, either through a home impression kit to make molds or via 3D scans typically conducted at designated scanning centers or affiliated dental offices. This information is then sent back to the company for evaluation. Customized aligners are created based on these molds or scans and are sent to you by mail. Once you receive them, you wear the aligners for a set amount of time each day, as instructed, to move your teeth into a new, improved position.

See also: How Do Teeth Aligners Work – All You Need to Know about Clear Aligners

Pros Of At-Home Aligners

At-home aligners offer several advantages over traditional orthodontics:

  • Convenience: At-home aligners allow for treatment from the comfort of your own home, eliminating the need for frequent in-person visits to an orthodontist’s office. Progress is usually monitored through virtual check-ins or by sending photos, making it a suitable option for people with hectic lives.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: These aligners are generally more affordable than traditional orthodontic treatments. Since you aren’t paying for regular office visits, the overall cost is often lower, making it a budget-friendly option for many people.
  • Discreet Treatment: Similar to Invisalign, at-home aligners are usually clear and barely noticeable, offering a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional metal braces.
  • Time-Saving: Without the need for frequent in-person visits for adjustments, you save a considerable amount of time. This can be particularly advantageous for those who live far from an orthodontic clinic or have commitments that make scheduling difficult.
  • Controlled Monitoring: While the idea of “do-it-yourself” orthodontics may sound risky, reputable companies have robust online platforms where specialists monitor your progress closely, ensuring your treatment stays on track.
  • Safety for Mild to Moderate Cases: At-home aligners are generally considered safe for treating mild to moderate teeth alignment issues, as long as users adhere to the guidelines and treatment plans laid out by the company or dental professionals involved.
  • Less Invasive: Compared to traditional braces, which may require brackets and wires, at-home aligners offer a less invasive approach to teeth alignment. This can make the experience more comfortable for the user.

Worth Knowing

A survey in the Journal of Orofacial Orthopedics reports that 83% of patients adapted to their aligners within the first week. 

Cons of At-Home Aligners

At-home aligners offer convenience but come with certain drawbacks:

  • Limited Professional Supervision: The absence of regular, in-person check-ups with an orthodontist can lead to a lack of immediate professional guidance. This could potentially limit the quality of care compared to traditional, in-office treatments.
  • Not Suitable for Severe Cases: At-home aligners are generally designed for mild to moderate cases of teeth misalignment. Severe malocclusions usually require more complex interventions that can only be managed by an orthodontist in a clinical setting.
  • Risk of Complications: Without in-person supervision, issues such as poor fit or gum irritation can be difficult to resolve promptly. 
  • Accountability: The success of at-home treatments heavily relies on the patient’s commitment to follow guidelines meticulously. Without the regular in-person reminders that come from traditional orthodontic visits, some people may neglect their treatment, impacting its effectiveness.

Are Aligners By Mail Safe? Tips On How To Avoid Disappointing Results

Ordering aligners through the mail may seem like an affordable option, but this route poses risks. This paragraph provides tips on how to avoid disappointing results and ensure safe, effective treatment with mail-order aligners.

Choose Only Well-Known And Verified Companies

Choosing a well-known and verified company is important for avoiding disappointing results in at-home aligner treatment. As the popularity of at-home aligners has increased, more companies have started offering these services. However, not all companies maintain high standards for quality and patient care. 

To ensure effective treatment and reliable customer service, it’s important to choose a company with a strong reputation, positive reviews, and proper credentials. Opt for companies that work with certified dental professionals and offer good customer support, including the ability for virtual consultations and regular follow-ups.

See our reviews of the most popular at-home aligners:

NewSmile offers a monthly payment program with no initial down payment, aimed at making the treatment more affordable. The company provides video call assistance for taking mouth impressions and offers both day and night aligners. Each purchase includes a free retainer and teeth-whitening foam.

NewSmile

NewSmile

Affordable at-home treatment with positive reviews offering superior look and comfort.

Check out NewSmile Aligners

Byte provides a lifetime guarantee on its product, along with 3D simulations to preview treatment results.

Byte

Byte

An affordable option with refundable impression kits, free HyperByte, and a Byte for Life guarantee.

Check out Byte Aligners

Candid offers a product that many find comparable to Invisalign, along with a high level of customer service. The aligners are designed to address a range of teeth spacing issues, from mild to severe.

Candid

Candid

A hybrid of in-office and at-home treatment that provides 1-on-1 orthodontist support.

Check out Candid Aligners

ALIGNERCO positions itself as an affordable option, offering a monthly payment plan that requires no down payment. The company also offers 24/7 live chat support, aimed at providing continuous assistance to customers.

AlignerCo

AlignerCo

The cheapest at-home aligners, with monthly plans, no down payment, and considerable discounts.

Check out AlignerCo Aligners

Choose Treatment With Expert Orthodontist Care

Choose a service that includes oversight by certified orthodontists. Certified orthodontists can provide professional evaluations and adjust your treatment plan as needed, either through virtual consultations or occasional in-person visits. This ensures you receive individualized care based on your specific orthodontic needs, rather than a generic set of aligners. This level of professional involvement can significantly improve the likelihood of successful treatment and help avoid complications.

Check And Treat Your Teeth Before Treatment

Before starting any at-home aligner treatment, it’s advisable to get a full dental check-up to address any underlying issues that could affect the outcome. Neglecting existing dental problems like cavities, gum disease, or tooth decay can not only compromise the effectiveness of aligners but may also lead to more serious complications.

Take Care Of Dental Hygiene During The Treatment

Maintaining good dental hygiene during at-home aligner treatment is essential for achieving the best results. Poor oral hygiene can cause problems like gum inflammation, cavities, or tooth decay, which can negatively affect the fit of the aligners and disrupt the treatment plan. Regular brushing and flossing are important, as is cleaning the aligners to prevent bacterial buildup. Periodic dental check-ups during treatment can help monitor oral health and make any needed adjustments to your dental care.

Keep Your Aligner Clean And Safe

Keep your aligners clean and safe to avoid disappointing results in at-home aligner treatment. Dirty aligners can harbor bacteria, leading to oral health issues that could compromise your treatment. It’s important to clean your aligners regularly following the guidelines provided by your treatment plan or orthodontist. Additionally, always store your aligners in their protective case when not in use to prevent damage or deformation. A damaged aligner can’t provide the necessary force to move your teeth effectively, which could delay or disrupt your treatment. 

Use A Retainer After The Treatment

Using a retainer after your at-home aligner treatment helps maintain the new alignment of your teeth. Without a retainer, teeth tend to move back toward their original positions. Following the retainer schedule recommended by your orthodontist helps keep your teeth in their corrected positions, preserving the alignment improvements achieved during treatment. Neglecting to use a retainer can lead to a reversal of the gains made, diminishing the success of the treatment.

See also: Do Aligners Cause Gum Recession? 

Are At Home Teeth Aligners Safe? The Importance of Following Recommendations

At-home teeth aligners can be a safe and effective solution for mild-to-moderate cases of malocclusion when used properly. However, it is very important to strictly follow the provided recommendations to achieve the desired results and prevent complications.

Adhering to the treatment plan and using the aligners as instructed ensures a smooth transformation of the patient’s dental structure. Neglecting guidelines can result in inefficiency and increase the risk of adverse effects on oral health. Ultimately, the success of at-home aligner treatment largely depends on the patient’s commitment to following the recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there risks associated with DIY teeth straightening?

There can be risks if you use unauthorized products or fail to follow the recommendations. Legitimate at-home aligner services like Byte always involve a licensed dentist or orthodontist’s guidance.

How do at-home aligners compare to professional orthodontic treatments?

At-home aligners work well for mild to moderate cases of malocclusion. However, severe cases may require the expertise of an in-person orthodontist and more complex treatments.

How efficient are at-home aligners compared to Invisalign?

At-home aligners can be as efficient as Invisalign for the right candidate with mild or moderate malocclusion. 

Sources

Buschang, P.H., Shaw S.G., Ross M., Crosby D., Campbell P.M., Comparative time efficiency of aligner therapy and conventional edgewise braces. Angle Orthod (2014). DOI: 10.2319/062113-466. Available online at: https://meridian.allenpress.com/angle-orthodontist/article/84/3/391/58505/

Ke, Y., A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies. BMC Oral Health. 2019. doi: 10.1186/s12903-018-0695-z Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6343314/

Mortazavi, M., et al. An updated systematic review on the effectivity of clear aligner therapy: A review. Journal of Craniomaxillofacial Research. (2020). Available online at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349579223_An_updated_systematic_review_on_the_effectivity_of_clear_aligner_therapy

Nedwed, V., Miethke, R. R., Motivation, acceptance and problems of invisalign patients, J Orofac Orthop., 2005; DOI: 10.1007/s00056-005-0429-0. Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15827703/

Iza Wojnarowski

Content contributor

Iza is a dedicated content contributor for Toothific. Having worn braces twice and currently using Invisalign to correct a mild overbite, Iza brings a unique perspective to her writing. She spends her time staying updated on the latest dental trends and treatments, ensuring her readers have the most current information for their dental care needs.

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