Do I Need To See A Dentist For Invisalign?
Fifty-seven percent of Americans cover their mouths when they smile.
Whether they are laughing with their co-workers, kids, or their friends, 57% are so self-conscious about their teeth that they have to cover their mouth every time they smile.
Every time they experience joy, they are also stressed enough to cover their smile for fear of embarrassment and judgment.
This could be for a variety of reasons.
Maybe their teeth aren't as white as they'd like them to be, or maybe they're missing a tooth or two in obvious places.
Or maybe they're like one of the 4 million people in the country that wear braces, and their teeth aren't as straight as they'd like them to be.
The obvious fix for crooked teeth is braces, but often braces make people even more insecure about their smiles, especially as adults.
So their smile continues to be covered even as they wear braces.
A popular alternative to braces and crooked teeth is Invisalign.
Invisalign is an alternative to braces that uses a series of clear retainers instead of metal wires and brackets.
A question many people have when they are considering Invisalign is if they actually need to see a dentist to get Invisalign.
In the article below, we will examine that question and more.
- What Is Invisalign?
- Can You Get Invisalign Without A Dentist?
- Should You Get Invisalign Without A Dentist?
- Leave It To The Professionals
Invisalign is a custom-made aligner that is swapped out about every two weeks with a new retainer.
This can last anywhere between six to eighteen months depending on the severity of the misaligned teeth.
The aligners are very similar to a mouth or dental retainer and are used as an orthodontic treatment (instead of braces)to move and align teeth, resulting in a beautiful smile.
The aligners are typically computer generated from a mold of your teeth, taken by a dentist or an orthodontist, and the fitting is unique to each patient.
Imagine for a moment that you're an adult with crooked teeth who never got braces when they were younger.
Now imagine you don't enjoy the dentist, like many other Americans. Or that you can't foot the bill for the procedure.
Is there a way to get Invisalign without going to the dentist?
It turns out that there is.
There are companies online that will send you a kit to do the dental impressions yourself.
Just follow the instructions, watch a how-to video, mix the putty yourself, and you are good to go.
No need for a dentist.
After you've done the mold, you mail it back to the company, and they prepare your aligners.
By doing it this way, you are avoiding the dentist's office and the bill that comes along with it.
Typically, invisible aligners are prescribed by an orthodontist or a dentist after an in-person exam and then a discussion of your options.
The aligners usually cost somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000.
The companies that let you do it yourself at home charge you anywhere between $900 and $2100, much cheaper than the "in-person" variety.
But, just because it's an option, is it the best option?
Is it even safe?
There are critics of the do it yourself variety of aligners.
They argue that prescribing aligners to patients without first seeing them risks overlooking other oral health issues that can compromise orthodontic treatment, or even be worsened by orthodontic treatments.
And, experts say that aligners are not appropriate for everyone, even if it seems like they can correct advanced overcrowding.
It's possible to waste your time and money trying to do something that's not possible with aligners, which can happen if you're prescribed them without an initial consultation.
Most dentists say they would never rely on a patient's picture or "do it yourself" mold to determine whether the teeth within the bone would align properly when in-office x-rays could be taken.
The FDA considers aligners prescription devices and has cleared more than ten varieties of them.
However, they don't regulate the practice of dentistry or orthodontics, leaving it up to the states and their dental boards to decide what's appropriate care.
The American Association of Orthodontists warned consumers against moving teeth without an initial exam and continuing supervision from a dentist or orthodontist.
They're concerned that patients who don't go in for regular checkups or a complete diagnosis can easily be harmed.
It probably sounds enticing to straighten your teeth on your own.
You save money, you save time, and for people who are afraid of going to the dentist, they don't have to deal with the stress.
It seems like a win-win.
But you know what they say about things that seem too good to be true - they usually are.
You should not take the process of straightening your teeth lightly.
Many things could go wrong, especially if you aren't seeing a dentist regularly.
And, when things go wrong, you might not have any idea that they are going wrong, allowing them to get progressively worse over time.
It's like an athlete doing surgery on his torn ACL himself.
That example may seem crazier than wearing aligners without seeing a dentist, but there are just as many things that go wrong.
So when you decide it's time for you to get Invisalign, leave it to the professionals.
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