“Do It Yourself” orthodontics?

The public should be wary of two companies, SmileCareClub and CrystalBraces, that are now offering orthodontic aligners for adults and older teenagers.  Unlike products like “Invisalign” that use used under the supervision of a dental professional these aligners attempt to straighten their teeth at home with the assistance of a customer representative rather than a prescribing dental professional;  this company representative has never actually examined the “customer”.  There is great potential to do harm up to and including the loss of teeth by attempting orthodontic tooth movement without the supervision of a dental professional.

After watching a “How-to video, the customer wishing to straighten their teeth mixes putty that is then put it in mouth-guard-type trays and takes impressions their teeth.  These impressions are then mailed back to the company that manufactures a series of “Aligners” that are used to move the teeth unsupervised by any sort of dental professional.

The Food and Drug Administration considers orthodontic aligners prescription devices. But it does not regulate the practice of dentistry or orthodontics.  Dental care is regulated state by state through the state dental boards.

Last month, the American Association of Orthodontists warned consumers against moving teeth without an initial exam and continuing supervision by an orthodontist. “Our concern is that patients who don’t see an orthodontist for regular checkups and/or for a complete diagnosis are more likely to be harmed,” said Dr. Rolf Behrents, editor of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

Recently KOMO news interviewed individuals at the University of Washington, Department of Orthodontics.  You can watch the video below.