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DIY or “Do It Yourself” is a popular method of building, modifying or repairing things on your own based on a manual or web help, and without the involvement of an expert or professional. It can help you save money and is considered an educational approach to different kinds of projects, such as computer repair, home improvement, decoration and even car repair. However, DIY may not be the smartest choice, especially when it comes to something as specialized as orthodontics.
With the influence of social media, such as videos from YouTube and articles available online, DIY orthodontics is on the rise. You may have seen the ads on TV about companies like SmileDirectClub (SDC), providing orthodontic services remotely, after the patient has scanned their teeth at a self-scan booth or has provided DIY molds of their teeth by courier. This business model termed Direct-To-Consumer orthodontics has become a “thing” in the US recently, where there are at least 4 companies other than SDC offering the same “service”. At this time SDC alone has at least 110 “Smile Shops” across the US, and planning to make it to 170 by the end of 2018, including some in Ontario. What consumers may not know, however, is that some of these companies, including SDC, operate without direct supervision by a dental professional.
Straightening crooked teeth and correcting bite problems is a specialty of dentistry that requires 3 additional years of postgraduate study. Orthodontists have the training and expertise not only to decide on how to best perform this task, but also to individualize a treatment that is indicated for the needs of each patient. Bite problems come in a variety of forms and there are several decisions to be made and judgments to be applied when attempting to correct them.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, DIY orthodontics can cause extensive damage to teeth, soft tissue and bone that could require expensive and extensive restoration by a multi-disciplinary team of dental specialists. The American Dental Association (ADA) strongly discourages DIY orthodontics due to its potential harmful effects on dental patients. In fact, a new policy was already passed by the 2017 ADA House of Delegates. The policy supports the importance of dental experts being in charge of treating and diagnosing patients to make sure that appropriate care is safely rendered. When it comes to the health of your teeth and smile, one has to wonder, is orthodontics by correspondence really worth the risk?
If you have questions about DIY orthodontics and its potential dangers, please contact our orthodontic office, Beach Braces, in Scarborough.
– The Beach Braces Team