DIY … great! Just not for your mouth.

Recently, I have seen lots of advertising for “Do-it-Yourself” orthodontic systems. Smile Direct Club (DSC) and Align Technologies (Invisalign) are the two I see most. These programs essentially have patients take “selfies” or “homemade models” of their smiles and send it in. They claim that every case is reviewed by a licensed dentist. If they feel you are a candidate, you proceed with orthodontic treatment alone at home.Think they ever turn anyone away? Probably not.

What are the pros? Honestly, I ‘m not sure if there is one. Possibly reduced cost??

What are the cons? Too many to list! Every case is reviewed by whom? As dentists, are we saying that a selfie is as good as a comprehensive exam? Before I decide if a patient of mine is a good candidate for orthodontics I need to see a complete periodontal charting and xrays. Do they have active infection or cavities?  What is their homecare routine? You couldn’t gain this information with pictures and poor quality models alone.

What happens when there is a complication? We are all aware that patient compliance is an issue even when they are seeing a live doctor. What happens with poor patient compliance? What happens when the treatment outcome is different than what was promised? Who carries that responsibility, the aligner company or the person who failed to take a diagnostic model? Maybe the person who took the selfie?

Like most people, I like DIY projects. Refurbishing an old piece of furniture, making your own curtains…all nice! I even tackled putting in a mosaic pathway in one of my gardens last year. But please, don’t pursue “do-it-yourself”orthodontics. Make daily brushing and flossing your “DIY”.