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The Dangers Of At-Home Braces

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Medically reviewed by: Dr Anthony Lam BDS (Hons), MSc (Lond), MOrth RCS (Edin) Specialist Orthodontist and Clinical Lecturer at Guy's Hospital, London.

26th January 2023
Dangers of at-home braces

At-Home Braces vs In Practice Teeth Straightening

Direct-to-consumer or at-home braces have grown in popularity as people seek an easy and discreet way to straighten their teeth.

But can these at-home aligners offer the same level of safety and efficacy that in practice, qualified Orthodontists provide? With so many ads on television and social media it’s worth considering this before you choose your solution for a straighter smile!

What The GDC Has To Say

The General Dental Council has taken positive action to promote patient safety by issuing 2021 guidelines on the perils of direct-to-consumer treatments.

Stressing that a face-to-face assessment, and physical clinical evaluation must take precedence over any at home procedures offering teeth straightening solutions.

At Orthodontic Gallery we embrace these newly implemented protocols as it echos our commitment to safeguarding patients oral health when carrying out braces/teeth straightening treatment.

We take significant measures and abide by strict regulations so patients can enjoy full peace of mind knowing their care comes first when receiving orthodontic treatment.

Making News

This week, news outlets exploded with reports of the risks associated with at-home braces. With hundreds of ‘Smile Direct Club’ users are warning against this option after experiencing dangerous and damaging side effects.

One user described how his oral health had drastically changed due to usage:

“One of my front teeth has become wobbly, my enamel feels all funny, like the aligners have rubbed some of it off, the aligners have made my gum recede making it agony…I can’t bite into an apple because I can’t trust that my front teeth are strong enough any more.”

The potential hazards posed by these at-home braces are becoming more evident every day.

How Do At-Home Braces Work?

Typically, you complete an online form and then you receive an impression kit in the post. Using the kit, you take impressions of your teeth yourself and send them back to your provider for analysis.

It takes skill and expertise to take a precise impression. Any deviation from the exact measurements can mean subpar results or inadequate dental malocclusion correction – something not worth risking with DIY impressions. Let an experienced professional properly track your treatment progress for best-fit aligners!

After your impressions are reviewed, you receive a set of clear, removable aligners in the post, these sets of aligners are changed regularly to guide your teeth to your desired finished position.

An Orthodontic treatment plan is unique to each individual, and your teeth may move at a rate that was not initially predicted. It is essential to gain professional guidance from an experienced Orthodontist during your treatment journey – without regular reviews with an Orthodontist, aligner changes could cause harm or discomfort, both in the short and long-term.

When you finish treatment, in some cases, you may be offered removable retainers to wear at night.

Wearing your retainers is vital for maintaining your finished results.

Retainers are designed to keep teeth aligned after active Orthodontic treatment, and without wearing them, the teeth can move back to their pre-treatment position, this is known as an Orthodontic relapse which will require re-treatment.

At Orthodontic gallery we offer all of our patients both fixed and removable retainers as standard!

Are At-Home Teeth Straightening Kits Safe And Do They Work?

The safety of at-home teeth straightening kits is a major concern.

While they may be appropriate for minor Orthodontic issues, they can do more harm than good when treating complex ones.

You should always seek professional guidance from an Orthodontist and a detailed examination in order to assess suitability and oral health before investing in any type of treatment.

Ignoring these critical steps could result in permanent damage to the user’s teeth, so it’s better to take caution now rather than risk suffering potentially irreversible consequences later on down the line.

dangers of at-home braces

Differences Between In-Practice And At-Home Braces

The Options: At-home teeth straightening kits include clear aligners aimed at minor Orthodontic problems only.

With Orthodontic Gallery, you’ll receive the highest level of Orthodontic treatment and care. No matter how complex your case may be, our team will provide comprehensive support and guidance to ensure that we find a solution that suits you.

Treatment journey:
When you get your teeth straightened at an Orthodontic practice, you attend regular appointments, and your treatment and alignment is closely monitored.

At-home aligners may seem like a convenient option, but it is essential to track your progress for the best results. Without regular checkups, you could find yourself stuck in an endless cycle of misalignments that take longer and cost more than if proper monitoring had been established from the start.

Choosing in-practice treatment means your Orthodontist can monitor your progress and the health of your teeth throughout your treatment and make any changes needed to achieve your desired results.

Reassurance: Some people aren’t confident following a teeth-straightening plan at home. Seeing an Orthodontist in practice often gives people reassurance that their treatment journey is overseen by a specialist.

One-to-one care: When you attend a practice you can ask questions; the Orthodontist monitors your progress and adjustments can be made to your braces if necessary.

Price: There is only a small difference in cost, which reflects both the type of teeth straightening technique being used and the care involved.


With Orthodontic treatment in practice, you’ll see a specialist Orthodontist for an initial consultation, as well as regularly throughout the course of your treatment.

During your treatment, you will usually see your Orthodontist every six to eight weeks. They keep an eye on your progress and dental health to ensure you get the results you want.

It isn’t always easy to predict how the teeth will move during Orthodontic treatment, so regular appointments with an expert allow for alterations to your treatment plan if needed. Removing the risk of causing serious permanent damage to your teeth, something you do not get from at-home brace kits!

Benefits Of Having Orthodontic Treatment In Practice

Our Clinical Expertise: You benefit from a detailed one-on-one consultation by a trained Orthodontic specialist and ongoing care.

Greater Choice: You get access to a wide range of Orthodontic treatments, and your Orthodontist will help you choose which is the most suitable for you.

Safety: Your Orthodontist will take X-rays and clearly explain which type of braces are suitable for you, so you can decide which is the best option for you and have any questions you might have answered. We are also always at the other end of the phone for emergency appointments and advice!

Orthodontic Therapist at-home braces

Who Can Legally Perform Teeth Straightening? And Who Regulates At-Home Braces?

In the UK, Orthodontic treatment can be carried out by a Dentist or Orthodontist who is registered with the General Dental Council.

The question of who regulates at-home teeth straightening, and how, is one that continues to concern many Orthodontists. One of the UK’s leading Orthodontic societies; The British Orthodontic Society, has previously raised concerns about at-home straightening kits and the lack of clinical supervision you receive with them.

Will At-Home Teeth Straightening Treatment Last?

No! Typically, no orthodontic treatment lasts without an effective retention programme, this means wearing retainers after your treatment to make sure your teeth don’t move back.

Patient safety is extremely important to us, we advise anyone considering at-home braces to have a thorough orthodontic assessment before starting any treatment!

At Orthodontic Gallery we know how important it is for our patients to be well-informed before making a decision.
That’s why our iTero scans are completely free as well as complimentary consultations with one of Treatment Coordinators to discuss every detail.

Find Out More About In-Practice Teeth Straightening Today!

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