Posted by: Jodie Blades Diploma Level 3 in Dental Nursing
Medically reviewed by: Dr Anthony Lam BDS (Hons), MSc (Lond), MOrth RCS (Edin) Specialist Orthodontist and Clinical Lecturer at Guy's Hospital, London.
At-home braces or, direct-to-consumer braces continue to rise in popularity, with many people wanting to straighten their teeth in a discreet and fast fashion. Many at-home teeth straightening kits are being advertised on T.V and across all social media platforms, making it virtually impossible to ignore them. But do these at-home aligners actually work? And are they safe?
The General Dental Council spoke out last year about the potential permanent damage direct-to-consumer treatments cause. The statement issued by the GDC highlights new guidelines for at-home providers. It states that ‘a face-to-face interaction or a physical clinical assessment will be necessary to ensure patient safety’. And, that patients must have a full oral health assessment before starting treatment.
As Orthodontists, we happily welcomed these new guidelines. We had long been concerned about the potential risk that at-home braces pose to patients oral health. Patient safety should always be a top priority when straightening teeth. We follow strict Dental and Orthodontic regulations so, in-practice treatment will always be the best and safest option.
Typically, you complete an online form and then you receive an impression kit in the post. Using the kit, you take moulds of your teeth yourself and send them back to your provider for analysis.
After your impressions are reviewed, you receive a set of clear, removable aligners in the post. When you finish treatment, in some cases, you will be offered removable retainers to wear at night.
We always recommend you seek a thorough dental examination from an Orthodontist to check your clinical suitability and oral health, before investing in any teeth straightening treatment.
This type of clear aligner treatment is aimed at people with minor Orthodontic issues only! Our concern is that, many people are seeking at-home teeth straightening for complex Orthodontic issues; Which is completely inappropriate and will do more harm than good.
Choosing the wrong type of Orthodontic treatment, or having it when your teeth aren’t suitable or healthy, could cause permanent damage to your teeth. You should always seek professional guidance from an Orthodontist before undertaking treatment.
The Options: At-home teeth straightening kits include clear aligners aimed at minor Orthodontic problems only. At Orthodontic Gallery we can give you guidance on all available Orthodontic treatments, advise you on which treatment is the best option for you and treat complex cases.
Treatment journey: When you get your teeth straightened at an Orthodontic practice, you attend regular appointments and your treatment and alignment is closely monitored, checking your progress 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!
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!
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.
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 believe that patients should have as much information as possible before deciding to go ahead with treatment; That is why we offer our iTero scans completely Free. We also offer Free Consultations with our Treatment coordinators, to discuss everything in detail.
Find Out More About In-Practice Teeth Straightening Today!