The risks and dangers of remote aligners

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Dental therapist Laura Bailey discusses the dangers of direct-to-consumer aligners and why it could cause more damage than good.

We are living in a new age, where convenience and time saved is paramount. Most of the time this means we have better access to the things we love and want. However, braces should never have taken this dangerous leap and it is now urgent that the general public understand the risks.

Invisible aligners have been around for over twenty years and a lot of research and development has gone into them. Although Invisalign is the dominating brand there are many safe and effective alternatives offered by dental professionals and in today’s market there is an option for most budgets. 

The brand or way aligners are made isn’t what causes concern however. It’s more about the lack of professional supervision, missed diagnosis and long-term damage that online services cause.

Protect your health

There is a reason it is recommended to have a full mouth check-up, gum assessment and x-rays before braces and that reason is to protect your dental health.

Braces work by causing pressure between your teeth and the bone in your jaw. This causes your bone to soften and allows teeth to move. If the movement is done too fast and not monitored every two to six weeks or it is done in someone who has or recently has had gum disease the result can be devastating. 

Not only can you lose the bone that surrounds your teeth permanently but you can end up loosing teeth. 

This result isn’t rare and isn’t reserved for the older generation. I have personally seen multiple cases of this and one more recently of a 21-year old girl who was half way through her aligners and now requires gum surgery and lifelong care.

Long-term damage

Aside from bone loss, online braces are limited to moving your teeth by widening your arch only. This means there is very little control over how your bite will end up and whether your jaw will be comfortable in its new position. 

This can lead to long term TMJ pain and migraines. It also means that without the clear buttons that are placed by a dentist, movement is not as reliable and you don’t really know how your teeth will end up.

If you are lucky enough to get through treatment with no problems it is unlikely your teeth will stay in their position. 

Most patients require fixed retainment as well as removable retainers to keep their teeth from moving and gaps opening. Fixed retainers can only be provided by a dentist or orthodontic therapist and increasingly these professionals are refusing to provide this treatment to online brace users. 

The use of online braces will see a big increase in relapsed crowding, dental disease and multiple retreatments further increasing the risks.

Now you know the risks, is it really worth opting for online braces for the detriment of your teeth, gums and jaw bone?


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