Posted on: 22 February, 2021
Online orthodontics can seem like a cheap way to straighten teeth, but it can come with a significant cost to your oral health and hip pocket in the long-run.
5 minute read
Teeth straightening (or orthodontics) is a specialist field of dentistry that looks at abnormalities of the teeth and jaw. Orthodontics may help align a bad bite and straighten crooked, crowded or gapped teeth, but it also has a wider range of oral health benefits including:
There are thousands of qualified dentists and specialist orthodontists across the country who provide orthodontic treatment, however, some people are choosing DIY or online teeth straightening to save on cost.
In this article, we review online teeth straightening, what happens when things go wrong and the Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) position on DIY orthodontic treatments.
Teeth straightening is on the rise worldwide, with more people than ever flocking to online providers for mail order orthodontic kits. The appeal is obvious - treatment that you can do at home, for a fraction of the price you’d pay in the dentist chair. While you might be saving money, choosing online orthodontic treatment over seeing a qualified dental practitioner can pose a significant risk to your oral health, and could end up costing you more time and money in the long run.
Things can go very wrong right from the start, in the absence of a face-to-face examination. For example, if a patient has gum disease, broken fillings or a severe misalignment that goes undetected because they failed to see a dentist, shifting teeth under those conditions can cause permanent damage.
Teeth straightening is a complex treatment that requires careful planning and diagnostics, accurate moulds, and ongoing monitoring by a suitably qualified and registered dentist to achieve your desired results.
The dangers of attempting to move your own teeth using an online kit are vast. It takes years of experience to know how to move teeth into the desired position in a safe and effective manner. Everyone’s teeth are unique and won’t respond to treatment the same way. If you choose not to see a dentist and purchase an online kit instead, you’re increasing your risks of experiencing:
At times, clear aligner treatment may require some tooth preparation (where part of a tooth is filed down) in order to create space for realignment. These adjustments require face-to-face contact, so even if you choose online clear aligner treatment, you would need to find a dentist to provide treatment.
At Mount Lawley Dental, our general dentists can provide quality teeth straightening treatment that’s best suited to your oral health needs. Contact us for more information by calling (08) 9227 8777 or book online today.
The ADA and a growing number of UK and US health authorities are issuing consumer warnings against online orthodontics that claim to straighten teeth at home, without ever visiting a dental clinic. The president of the ADA NSW warns:
“If treatment relies on imprints and records without the patient being personally examined, there’s a much greater risk that the treatment will not be successful."1
Another concern is the lack of regulation. Manufacturers of online orthodontics have minimal regulations which means if anything goes wrong, consumers have little or no redress.2 In one example, popular online orthodontics provider, EZ Smile recently told Channel Nine’s A Current Affair program that their company’s orthodontists aren’t based in Australia, but instead in a Chinese lab. 3
As these online kits are manufactured overseas, it’s very difficult to hold anyone accountable should you suffer injury from at-home teeth straightening. Furthermore, dentists overseas don’t necessarily adhere to the same strict standards and protocols that registered dentists in Australia abide by, that’s why overseas dental treatment of any description has increased risks. Dr. Howard Holmes from the Australian Society of Orthodontists also expresses his concern on the matter, saying:
"There’s a distinct lack of regulation, which is even more concerning because that leads to questions about accountability if there are complications or dissatisfied consumers at the end of it. It appears at the moment they’re largely disinterested. They would rather be reactive when problems occur, rather than proactively manage these companies." 3
The reality is that consumers are only shown what online providers want them to see, not the thousands of failed cases where something has gone wrong. The ADA strongly recommends seeing a suitably qualified dental practitioner for a clinical exam and x-rays in person, to identify any issues that may complicate or rule out suitability for treatment.
At Mount Lawley Dental, we offer safe and effective teeth straightening services to help straighten your teeth and align your bite. Our teeth straightening services include:
Our treatment process involves:
*Invisalign® aligners are a registered medical device, always read and follow the label and instructions from your dentist.