DIY orthodontics involves clear aligners that you buy online without visiting a dental surgery. They are sent to you by mail.

You fill a form in online and pay a fee to get a ‘do-it-yourself’ kit. This will involve making an impression (mould) of your teeth at home, or going to a retail outlet to have them scanned.

You are then given a treatment plan and the impressions are used to make the aligners. This all happens without you seeing either a dentist or orthodontist.

What are the risks of DIY braces?

Are your teeth and jawbones healthy enough for tooth movement? 

Before you commit to tooth straightening, a trained professional should examine you face-to-face and talk to your usual dentist to make sure your teeth and jawbones are healthy enough for tooth movement.

Sometimes it’s better to have no treatment. 

Are your teeth moving to a healthy position? 

Orthodontists and dentists are trained to keep checking your treatment by doing examinations and to make sure your teeth are moving to a healthy position.

Sometimes treatment needs to be changed to prevent problems, either with your teeth or your bite.

If there are any problems your treatment may need to be changed to stop these problems developing or becoming worse.

You may save money, but will you get the same value from your treatment? 

If you find orthodontic treatment for a really low price, it might be worth getting a second opinion. Do your research and always get the advice of a trained dental professional.

You could also call the Oral Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline (01788 539 780) for advice.

Be wary of quick solutions. They could lead to complicated and expensive problems. 

What the experts say about DIY braces

Jonathan Sandler, President of the British Orthodontic Society:

In my professional opinion, if you start any tooth-straightening treatment without having a suitably trained professional take the time to examine you and make appropriate recommendations, you could be in danger of having serious conditions missed. For me, one of the issues with ‘DIY braces’ is that it offers just one narrow solution when there may be a more appropriate one for the patient. The value of ‘informed choice’ cannot be over-estimated.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation:

As the demand for adult orthodontics grows, so do the options for patients. We are seeing a growth in online companies offering tooth-straightening treatments at significantly reduced prices. For many patients, it will feel like a sensible, consumer-savvy choice. But this may not be the case. My view is that orthodontics should always involve face-to-face contact with a trained professional. This is to ensure patient safety and the most effective treatment.


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