WHAT ABOUT DIY, DO IT AT HOME ALIGNERS?
Many of you have probably seen advertisements for DIY type of Clear Aligner systems like Smile Direct Club and Candid. They often have very deceptive marketing messages like “faster” and “less expensive” than traditional braces. Both statements are false and misleading.
“Limited” treatment options like DIY aligners with reduced prices absolutely have a place in the world. However, problems arise because these companies fail to educate patients that the results are “limited” and oftentimes compromised.
We present these type of “limited treatment” options daily to patients that are just wanting to touch up here or adjust there. Because we truly care for our patients and their satisfaction with their final tooth alignment and smile, we present with clarity that low value treatment can also produce low value outcome.
As an orthodontic specialty practice, we find it our obligation to make the public aware of the truth and the shortcomings of DIY Aligners.
Dr. David Christensen worked as a consultant for Smile Direct Club for over a year. During that time, he would evaluate, treatment plan, and approve cases for treatment. He approved many treatment plans for patients that wanted and needed only limited tooth movement. But, he became concerned when his warnings about compromised and inadequate results were completely ignored by the Treatment Coordinators of Smile Direct. Many of the moderate to severe cases require more than what a DIY can offer. Smile Direct and similar companies give you 1 set of Clear Aligners and then hope for the best. Patients will notice a “difference” in the end, the teeth do look “better,” but the results are far from complete. If additional Aligners are needed, additional charges and investment is required. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of those cases, results often don’t get much better.
In order to make more complex cases look beautiful, you have to utilize more complex treatment methods. If Clear Aligners are being used, that means: refinements (additional Aligners), IPR (interproximal reduction), attachments (tooth colored bumps and ridges used to “grab” teeth better), enamel re-contouring, rubber-bands (like those used in braces), and more. These type of cases require a doctor to monitor, adjust, and finesse to get a beautiful result.
When he recommended that these patients with more complex orthodontic problems see a specialist (Orthodontist), they wound respond with; “the patients are willing to accept the compromised results.” Dr. Christensen chose to part ways with Smile Direct because of they were more concerned about starting cases and not about finishing them properly.