Why choose Invisalign or Spark over DIY orthodontics?

The Internet

The internet has a wide range of dental kits available for purchase.  They promise all sorts, and sometimes people can get a result.  The problem is that a lot of people don’t and then find it difficult to get support when things go wrong.  We have seen situations where people have used elastics around their teeth to pull space closed and lost them over night.  They thought the elastics had fallen out, until they started to experience pain and loosening of their teeth.  The elastic had crept up and under the gum line and worked its way up the roots.  As a consequence this person lost their two front teeth.  There are a lot of horror stories and these are all too common in unmonitored treatments.

DIY orthodontics

There are places that will send your aligners out following a scan.  Often these places will not take any X-rays because you don’t need to go to the office.  Sometimes X-rays are not done, even with a visit to the office.  Bone loss which cannot be diagnosed without a proper in-person examination speeds up if braces are used, and this is another common cause of lost teeth.  A friend of mine who is an orthodontist in Scotland told me that a patient came to see him who had taken an impression of his own teeth at home and had pulled one of his own teeth out when trying to remove it.  Only then did he ask for my friend’s help.  Here’s a previous blog post on why you should avoid DIY orthodontics.

Another of his patients had nearly suffocated because the impression which he tried to take of himself set around the guy’s bridge, and so the impression couldn’t be removed.  He had spent an hour trying to remove the impression and eventually appeared, for the first time, at my friend’s practice to get help.

The other problem with DIY braces, including those where clear aligners are used, is that attachments are not placed on any of the teeth.  The companies that produce Invisalign and Spark have already recognised that this moves teeth in an inferior way.  These companies advocate the use of attachments so that the aligners can grip onto your teeth and move them more efficiently.


Anyone who says that they are an orthodontist should be able to prove that they have had three years post graduate experience following qualifying as a dentist.  This extra experience is usually only possible having spent a number of years gaining experience in other branches of dentistry within the hospital service so that they are more rounded.  The three years specialist orthodontic training includes studying for a Masters Degree and carrying out research so that graduates are able to critically appraise any new techniques that become available.

Orthodontists are able to monitor normal and abnormal growth and use their experience to guide patients on how they can achieve the best outcomes.  The treatments can come up against road blocks.  Your specialist orthodontist is able to foresee and normally work out ways around them.  This does not happen with DIY treatments and often leads to patients appearing at the orthodontists door.  Usually these patients have been made to sign a gagging order by the DIY company and feel that they have no-where to turn.  Picking up the pieces of poor treatments is often more expensive that starting from scratch.  Sometimes completion of treatment is not possible.

Your orthodontist will be able to advise you what treatment is likely to suit you and even which aligner treatment would be appropriate.  More importantly, they are more likely to tell you if treatment would not be safe.  Usually simple treatments can be carried out by your own dentist so that treatment can then start and give you the smile that you have always dreamed of. Here at our practice in Birmingham our team of specialist orthodontists provide a full range of solutions with treatment carefully tailored to you including treatment scheduling and how you pay for your treatment.

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