Teeth aligners at home sound like a DIY project. Well, not exactly but in a way it is. With the advancement of technology, dental treatments have changed as well. Part of these advancements has been teeth-straightening kits that you can supposedly use at home without any trouble.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? We are here to say it is true, but there is more to it than meets the eye. So, stay with us and continue reading this article to find out more about at-home teeth aligners.
How to make teeth aligners at home?
To DIY teeth aligners from scratch are not something you can do. The technology and amount of expertise needed to make them are not easily achievable at home. On the other hand, dental experts have made having straight teeth more accessible with teeth straightening kits. With teeth aligner kits you are more involved in the process of getting a straighter smile.
So, how does it work? Let’s find out!
Whichever method of invisible aligners you go with, it will go as follows.
Step 1— Dental impressions are the most crucial part of your journey to having straighter teeth. Using a special kind of silicone you or your dentist will get your teeth impressions to be sent to the lab for the next step.
Step 2— In the lab your dental impressions will be 3D printed, and the 3D model will be used to create your invisible braces.
Step 3— The lab will use clear, BPA-free plastic to press out the plastic aligners. Then they will cut off the extra plastic parts and make sure there are no sharp edges.
And done! The invisible braces company is finished with making your aligners and will send them to you.
Do at-home teeth aligners work?
To some extent yes, at-home teeth aligners work.
People who have used them have had positive feedback about aligner treatments. But most licensed dentists do not recommend using this type of treatment due to the lack of regular visits to your dentist’s office. Office visits provide direct access and better observation for your dentist regarding your specific treatment plan. This will help avoid any unwanted orthodontic issues during the treatment process. Also, this type of orthodontic treatment will not work for people with severely misaligned teeth.
How long do I need to wear the aligners?
When it comes to your aligner treatment process the time of your treatment could vary. This is depending on how much of a misalignment you have and how many of those aligners you have to wear. The whole invisible aligner treatment could take anywhere from 10 months to 2 years. During that time you have to wear your aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours a day. The more you keep up with wearing your aligners the sooner you will see your straight smile.
Should I wear my aligners at night?
Yes, if your aligners are meant for that. There is a nighttime-only option for invisible aligners that people who do not want to deal with wearing their aligners during the day can get. But also remember that it is best to wear your at-home teeth aligners at least 20 hours a day.
The best at-home teeth aligners
With a simple search, you will see that there are plenty of options when it comes to at-home teeth aligners, but what’s the best at home teeth aligners? Clear braces, direct-to-consumer teeth straightening kits, or DTC kits just to name a few.
But what are the best at-home teeth aligners? Let’s get to the details of each of these kits available in the market.
Types of at-home teeth aligners
Yes, we do have a few types of at-home teeth aligners that we will tell you about in this part. However, the best at home aligner is the one that works best for you and your dental needs.
DIY aligners are clear aligners that you can get online or from a store. They come with impression kits that you use to make your dental impressions then send them to a lab to get your costume aligners made.
Removable aligners are made of a softer material which makes it easier for you to remove them. They are usually used to fix minor issues such as mild alignments.
Direct-to-consumer or DTC aligners are available online and follow the same procedure as DIY aligners but the main difference is with DTC aligners there are dentists overlooking the procedure.
Clear aligners are a modern replacement for traditional metal braces. They are more aesthetically pleasing and do the same job as fixing misalignments.
The benefits of using at-home teeth aligners
Even though a lot of dentists do not recommend using at-home teeth aligners, still there is something about them that people keep going back to it. Teeth aligner kits have been around for a while now and probably they are here to stay.
Are there any benefits to them? Let’s find out.
The first benefit that has people going crazy over these mail-order aligners is the price.
Comparing the cost of treatment for regular braces or invisible braces to these kits has everyone in a chokehold. Traditional braces’ cost depends on what kind of material they are made of such as metal braces or ceramic braces. These kinds of braces could start anywhere from $3,000 to $9,000. Among the most expensive ones are lingual braces which start from $7,000 to $12,000. The consumer teeth straightening kits price starts from $1,000 to $3,000.
The second benefit of this type of treatment is a shorter treatment time.
Not only that it saves you multiple office visits throughout your treatment duration. This has been deemed quite appealing to a lot of people.
Even though orthodontic treatments come in a variety of shapes and sizes, these aligner companies have stepped up their game and made different types of aligners for their customers’ convenience. Specifically for people who do not want to wear invisible aligners during the day, there is a nighttime-only treatment option available as well.
Are there any risks of using at-home teeth aligners?
The majority of dentists’ would answer yes to this question. So if you ask a dentist “Are at-home teeth aligners safe?” most probably their answer is going to be no.
We did mention in the benefits of at-home teeth aligners that there are fewer dental office visits, but that might not be the best thing ever about them. Now, how is that going to be a problem? With fewer dental office visits there will be less supervision of the entire treatment process. Without your dentist overlooking the whole teeth straightening process, you might come across some major issues such as bite issues.
Can you use at-home teeth aligners when you have plaque?
No, it is best not to use aligners when you have plaque. This stands true for any type of food debris left between your teeth as well. Invisible teeth aligners sit directly on your teeth and can create a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and cause tooth decay. So whether you are using at-home aligners or in-office aligners it is best to maintain good oral hygiene and preferably your teeth better be without any plaque.
The downsides of using at-home teeth aligners
We know in life not everything is 100%. That is why we will talk about the downsides of using at-home aligners now.
Even though using teeth aligners at home can save you time it is taking away from the time of your dental visits. Without the proper inspection from a dentist, many things could go wrong from minor issues to more complex issues.
And that brings us to eventually causing you to spend more money. Maybe not instantly but down the road using at-home aligners can cause severe alignment issues and the extra cost to fix the additional issues is not something that you want.
Last but not least, these types of aligners are pretty limited when it comes to fixing dental issues such as severely crowded teeth and bite problems. So if you are looking to get those types of dental issues fixed it is best to go with traditional braces. And definitely before deciding to go with a treatment plan have a consultation with your dentist.
So, before trying to save a buck or two that could eventually add to the cost of treatment, contact us! Our medical consultants at Dentfix will arrange a free consultation with our licensed dentists to help you figure out the best path to have a beautiful smile for life.
Wexler A, Nagappan A, Beswerchij A, Choi R. Direct-to-consumer orthodontics: surveying the user experience. J Am Dent Assoc. 2020 Aug;151(8):625-636.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2020.02.025. PMID: 32718492; PMCID: PMC7391059.