The truth behind DIY dental treatments and the fine print you don’t see…

You’re scrolling Instagram, and all of a sudden a popular Instagram star from one of your favorite TV shows is promoting something you’ve been interested in.

It’s an at-home nose job kit. YUP! Do-it-yourself… get yourself numb, slice and dice away, and reshape your nose to the exact form you have always dreamed of.  Would you use it? Does it sound a little crazy to you? But this popular person from TV is advertising it so it must be okay…. Right?

I’m sure you would think twice before you purchased this kit. But how come you don’t treat your teeth the same way?

Warning_-Do-It-Yourself-Tooth-StraightenWe’ve seen tons of DIY treatments floating around on social media.  Some aren’t effective, but likely won’t cause harm, while others can be extremely damaging. Today we are talking about DIY orthodontic treatments.  At-home orthodontic treatments can be extremely dangerous.

Companies that provide this may lead you to believe that they are safe, but let’s go over some reasons why you should leave dental treatments up to the professionals to help you out.

Did you know that moving teeth too quickly could cause your roots to resorb? That’s right. Excessive orthodontic force on the teeth or any other trauma can cause damage to the periodontal ligament (which holds teeth in place with the jaw bone).

What does that mean? To make things simple, it means your roots get shorter and this is irreversible damage.  If the resorption is extended near the tooth’s interior pulp layer (the nerve), then root canal treatment may be needed.

Needless to say, the more extensive resorption that occurs in the roots, the less likely the tooth can be saved and may need to be extracted.

Did you know that improper movement of teeth can cause bone loss and gum recession? Again, this is permanent damage.

What does this mean?

Gum recession happens when the gum tissue right around your teeth wears away or gets pushed back. The roots of your teeth become exposed, which are normally covered and protected by your gums. As the roots of your teeth become exposed, many people say their teeth are more sensitive to hot, cold, spicy, sweet or acidic foods. Additionally, the roots of your teeth are more susceptible to decay, so having them exposed may lead to more active infections in your mouth, which can travel throughout your entire body.

When orthodontic treatment is not done properly, and it’s not over seen by a professional, the forces applied to the teeth and to the bone of your mouth can lead to inflammation, which may cause the bone to go away, and often times when there is bone loss, the gums will follow which creates the gum recession.

orthodontics-newport-beachThese are just a few reasons why you should make sure you are being treated under the care of either a dentist or an orthodontist if you are wanting to have any kind of orthodontic treatment.

We get it, you just wanted your teeth to be straight, and for your smile to be prettier. You weren’t expecting all these complications, and the DIY treatments are less expensive. But the fact is that the damage can happen without you even realizing until it’s too late.  And then what? You’re out the money for the treatment you paid, it caused damage so now you need to spend more money trying to have it fixed, if that’s even possible.

But it’s not your fault. Many of these companies fool you. They make you think it’s safe, they make you think your treatment IS overseen by a dental professional  But if you read the fine print you’ll see that the forms you sign remove the company from having any liability when it comes to your treatment.

If you don’t believe me, do some research. Look for some questions. For example:

  1. Is a visit with a dentist prior to starting the treatment required? And how does the company document that?
  2. Is a full mouth set of x rays or panoramic REQUIRED prior to starting the treatment?

Before orthodontic treatment is done, every dental professional will make sure that you have sound bone structure, you do not have any active decay, and that you have been checked for presence of any gum disease. These are some of the minimum requirements and standard of care for a patient to start any type of orthodontic treatment.

Most at-home systems do not require dental exams, hygiene visits, or x-rays that have been examined by a dentist before treatment is started. They aren’t concerned with any complications you may have before you start your treatment.  For example, if you have periodontal disease, they don’t require that to be treated or even looked for prior to starting their treatment.  And if you do have periodontal disease, moving the teeth can worsen the disease, which can lead to further bone loss, further recession, and possible tooth loss.  Furthermore, in their paperwork they make note that they are not practicing dentistry so they are not subject to state dental board regulations.  Those undergoing the treatment sign a waiver stating that they can’t go after the company for any bad results or damages.

dryazdanTo be honest, we could go on and on about these types of treatments, but we won’t.

Before you jump on board with these cheaper, at-home DIY type of treatments, think twice.  Is it worth the risk?

Don’t forget that the bitterness of poor quality lasts much longer after the sweetness of low prices has faded from memory.

Written by Dr. Desiree Yazdan (@DrYazdan) & Dr. Rola Rabah (@fifteenblades)


2 Comments. Leave new

  • Thank you Dr. Yazdan and Dr. Rabah. I have been contemplating about doing DIY treatment due to the cost and little income. I will definitely reach out to both of you two hopefully in the next year prior to getting dental work done. I admire both of your work.

  • So true Doc,

    Being under a care of a dentist while going through Orthodontic treatment is so mandatory. Otherwise you don’t know what can be happening and the damage expense comes out of your pocket, not to mention some of it may not even be reversible permanent damage that can not be fixed.

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