What is “DIY” Dentistry and Orthodontics?

Have you ever wondered if  “DIY” – or at home – dentistry and orthodontic treatment is good for you?  The American Association of Orthodontists has talked a lot about the dangers of do-it-yourself (“DIY”) orthodontics over the last several years. But what exactly is “DIY” orthodontics? And is it safe to seek this type of treatment?

Definition of DIY Dentistry and OrthodonticsPaper clip bent to resemble a DIY retainer

Most people would say that do-it-yourself dentistry and orthodontics is caring for your dental health without licensed professional oversight.  Sound ludacris? Well, have you ever pulled a primary, or “baby”, tooth? Did you fashion a paper clip into a retainer when you were younger? Ever filed a sharp corner down of a tooth at home? If you’ve tried any of these you fall into the “DIY” dentistry category. But these examples all seem harmless – and they are. So when does do-it-yourself orthodontics cross the line? When is it time to seek professional help so you don’t cause permanent harm?

When it is time to seek professional orthodontic assistance?

We believe a better interpretation of “DIY” dentistry is one that involves a licensed professional who oversees any treatment to change your permanent teeth. The convenience of do-it-yourself at home teeth straightening can work, but ensure your treatment is monitored by a licensed orthodontist, or dentist.

The ADA recently passed a resolution warning against “DIY” dental procedures. Their key concern is that many teledentistry companies do not ensure your care is supervised by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. Kevin Dillard, CEO of Clear Blue Smiles, was a AAO spokesperson on this very issue.

“Orthodontics isn’t just a product,” said Kevin Dillard, CEO of Clear Blue Smiles and former general counsel of the American Association of Orthodontics. “It’s a complicated process. Without periodic visits to the orthodontist, the plan can’t be updated.” He went on to say, “We believe a better interpretation of ‘do-it-yourself treatment should involve a licensed professional. It’s never a good idea to do anything to change your permanent teeth without a licensed, professional monitoring your therapy.”

How is Clear Blue Smiles different than other teledentistry companies?

Some companies will ship consumers an impression kit ⁠— that “goopy” stuff that you mix up and bite down on – so they can diagnose your issues. Unfortunately, this at-home impression does not provide doctors all the information they need to make a treatment recommendation. The best way for orthodontists to know if your gums are healthy enough for clear aligner therapy is with a more thorough diagnostic analysis that includes x-rays. This full examination will ensure the roots of your teeth are in a good place for movement.

Clear Blue Smiles ensures our orthodontists have all of the records they need. From x-rays to impressions (or a 3D scan) we provide our orthodontists the information they need to determine if your teeth can safely be moved. This practice also ensures that your treatment will be effective and produce the new, beautiful smile you wish for.  How do we gather all of this information? Clear Blue Smiles mandates that all records are taken under the direct supervision of a licensed dentist or orthodontist — plain and simple.

At Clear Blue Smiles, we never short change your treatment. While we may not be the most inexpensive option, we guarantee we are the most comprehensive. Putting patient’s health first and obtaining a healthy, beautiful smile safely is our goal. So to answer the original question, yes, “DIY” dentistry and orthodontic treatment can be good for you when done properly.

Do you still have questions or want to talk more about a smile treatment? Contact us today to get started!

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