DIY Orthodontics is making the rounds again. This time a college student designed his own set of clear aligners. I have to be honest: my first reaction was that of sheer awe. The fact that someone without any training in the field of orthodontics (or dentistry for that matter) could produce an objectively better smile for himself, for only $60, is beyond impressive. There’s no doubt the Information Age is rapidly changing the way we do things, and for this student, it allowed him to improve his smile independently and on the cheap.
Of course, there are a lot of details this college student failed to consider and a lot of ways in which he got lucky. To state it clearly: DIY Orthodontics is dangerous and trying to move your own teeth without proper training can end very badly for you. While we always encourage creativity in our patients, taking an appliance like Invisalign clear aligners and creating a do-it-yourself version is a risky option that I absolutely do not recommend.
For example, people who have used “gap bands” they learned about on YouTube to close minor spaces between their teeth have caused irreparable damage to their teeth. While cheap cosmetic correction sounds appealing, the risk of losing your front two teeth just isn’t worth it. There are similar risks to be found in DIY braces and DIY clear aligners.
As an Invisalign-Certified orthodontist, I first underwent specialized training in how to move teeth during a three-year orthodontic residency. I then spent countless hours in the clinic and through continuing education to learn how to move teeth and create stable, healthy, long-lasting smiles using clear aligners. To break down how different a DIY treatment can be from Invisalign, I’ve listed a few points below. You can also learn more about DIY braces in a blog we published last year. Let us know what you think!