Solutions to some DIY braces problems. Assuming you are referring to mail order clear aligners, like Invisalign.
DIY braces problems are something that we are starting to see more and more now that the companies are marketing their mail order clear aligners more. If you want to know who you can complain to about the problems you are experiencing, scroll to the bottom of this page.
DIY braces problems with impressions.
The first problem many patients will run into is taking a good impression of their teeth. This is not an easy task and if you are a gagger you will really struggle. A few tips that will help with gagging are to tilt your chin down towards your chest and breath slowly through your nose. Rinsing with saltwater before helps a lot with gagging as does standing on one foot and alternating back and forth while waiting for the material to set up.
Today there are scan centers for several companies that will take a digital impression of your teeth, which will certainly be much more accurate than anything you do. The major issue with the DIY impression is that it’s a bit subjective as to whether or not it’s good enough. There is a lot of pressure to say, yeah it’s ok and get you going. Unfortunately, if the initial impression is not accurate nothing will ever work right. Don’t get me wrong, it will kind of work, just never be perfect.
Solution – Find a store that can scan you.
Mail order clear aligners means you do not have buttons.
Every case that we have ever done with clear aligners always has at least a few buttons on the teeth. Buttons are small bits of composite material we add to the teeth to help the clear aligners move the tooth in the direction we want. Without these buttons it makes tooth movement much more difficult and less likely to work properly. Only a dentist can add these buttons to your teeth so any DIY braces will not have buttons.
Solution – This is simply a limitation to DIY braces that there is no solution to, other than seeing an orthodontist.
DIY braces will never have IP stripping.
Almost all people that have crowding of their teeth, especially lower crowding will need some IP stripping. IP stripping stands for inter-proximal stripping and it is basically minor reshaping of the portion of the teeth that touch each other. We use very small pieces of plastic with sand paper on it to accomplish this. The amount we remove is extremely small but it makes a big difference when trying to move teeth that do not have room to room. Again only a dentist or orthodontist can do this so never will happen with mail order braces.
Solution – This is the same as the button issue above.
Mail order clear aligners have issues tracking with no recourse.
Tracking is industry jargon meaning that your teeth are not going where they should. When you are seeing a dentist for clear aligner therapy, like Invisalign, there is someone ensuring things are working properly. With DIY, obviously, you are on your own. A quick tip though, if you see space between your teeth and the plastic then it’s not tracking. Every clear aligner after that one will be further off as the error gets worse and worse.
Solution – This is the same as the above two DIY braces problems.
DIY clear aligners are using inferior products and technology. They do not use Invisalign.
Align technology, the maker of Invisalign, got into a legal fight with one of the companies selling mail order braces and no longer helps anyone. All the mail order braces companies now use companies that do not have near the level of experience of Invisalign. Align still holds a lot of patents on the processing and materials that make their clear aligners successful.
Solution – This is yet another fact of mail order clear aligners.
Orthodontic work like braces can cause bone loss or tooth loss.
Moving teeth can cause roots to shorten and it can cause some people to loose their teeth. Most people will have some root shortening and rely on a professional monitoring the situation to tell them if it gets bad. 90% of people have root shortening and 1-5% have severe shortening. The severe cases and those with gum disease are the ones at risk of losing their teeth.
When a dentist or orthodontist does your braces they will take x-rays and do an exam where they measure your gums to see if you are at risk. They will also check for decay but that will likely not be made worse with clear aligners. Individuals that have gum/periodontal disease can not be made aware of the risks of DIY braces because the company making them has no way of knowing if you have gum disease.
Solution – Go to your dentist and at the very least ensure your gums and teeth are in good shape before you try braces on your own. You can ask if they will monitor your roots while going through treatment but few will since that means they take all the legal risk without any of the benefit.
Why do DIY braces?
Well obviously the only reason is cost. It is much cheaper than what Invisalign costs with an orthodontist. However, as you can read above you are not getting the same product as what you would with a dentist though. It’s very Caveat Emptor or buyer beware, as you truly are on your own.
Finally, there is not much recourse if things do not work out.
This really does not need much explanation. If you have issues you will be emailing some random person in who knows what country. You want to write the company a bad review? They could care less, the reviews are horrible already. Why do you think they don’t even allow the reviews on their facebook page? While they claim to have a doctor approving your case, you will never speak to them.
The DIY braces doctors will never get into trouble with their license if the aligners cause you to lose your teeth. Legally the states do not consider the doctor who you think you have, responsible for your case. States consider it a legal matter and place the company in charge of the care. This is why they are able to do things that a licensed dentist or orthodontist could never do when providing you with orthodontic care. In order for the state to care they require patient complaints.
Solution – After you exhaust your efforts with the DIY braces company then proceed to the next section!
Who can you complain to if you have DIY braces problems?
Well there will certainly be some class action lawsuits at some point but until then what can you do? Above we mention that the states do not care about the state license of the individual doctor so what can you do? There are two places you can complain. First, you can file a complaint with the FDA. The FDA is in charge of monitoring medical devices in this country. Here is the link to the FDA where you can file a complaint if you experience any DIY braces problems. Next you can file a complaint with your state board. Every state will have their own process.
Illinois – File a complaint