The Risks of “Do It Yourself” Mail Order Orthodontics

Change is Good- Most of the Time

There’s an old saying that goes “Change is the only constant in Life,” by Heraclitus. Dreamers and thinkers create new ideas and visions, and entrepreneurs accelerate change in the direction of new services and goods.

Today’s consumers want more convenience and value, which helped drive the onset of online shopping. Change has brought shopping and delivery of goods and some services right to the convenience of your own home. This has freed up our time to focus on other things of importance, such as time with our family. It has also decreased cost by cutting out the “middle man” of brick and mortar stores, employees, etc.

Beware! Not All Change Is Good

Online shopping can increase value with the convenient delivery of goods because they’re the same as those found in stores. Services (and treatments), on the other hand, are quite a different story. That’s why they call it services! Services by others are usually performed by people with greater knowledge, experience, and passion in that particular area. As a result, trying to serve yourself would result in a great reduction in value!

If you or your children needed surgery, would you search Google for the cheapest or fastest treatment? How about doing it yourself from a YouTube video, or over a virtual consultation? Would you reset your child’s broken bones with the help of an online expert? More than likely, these examples sound crazy to you, because they are. If things go wrong, as they often do, then knowledge and experience can prevent permanent harm from occurring. People don’t know what they don’t know! This is why it’s better to leave complicated and important services, such as orthodontics, to the trusted experts. Click here to read the American Association of Orthodontists warning with regards to Do it Yourself Orthodontics, and “mail-order aligners.”

Our Invisalign expert at All Smiles Orthodontics, Dr. Ernest McDowell, explains that this is because tooth movement and its effect on the change in your bite is a dynamic process. There is risk and danger in beginning treatment on the wrong patient without a thorough evaluation of the underlying bone and gum tissues, or moving teeth without supervision of an Orthodontist. It can lead to not only poor treatment results but can result in damage to the bite, gum tissues, TMJs, and even loss of teeth. For these reasons, we recommend comprehensive treatment with doctor supervision as the ideal treatment of choice. This always starts with a thorough evaluation and discussion of your treatment options.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Even with the risks and dangers described already, you’ll notice there are more “Do It Yourself” online providers offering mail-order treatments every day. They promote value (cheaper) and convenience. After all, it seems pretty basic, with just two easy steps. First, just take your own impression of your teeth and bite, and mail them in. And second, just wear your sequence of aligners you receive in the mail until the last one. And voila, you have your new smile, and you’re happy with the results. No problem!

Unfortunately, in a great number of cases, this is not true! This is due to the fact that Do It Yourself Orthodontics is limited in what it can fix, and as discussed, risky if performed on the wrong candidate. Only a comprehensive, in-person examination and records, can allow for proper diagnosis and discussion of treatment goals and alternatives. And, as discussed, lack of supervision increases the risk of poor results or damage to the teeth, gums, and your bite.

At All Smiles Orthodontics, we have come up with a solution to these problems and are happy to offer our patients All Smiles Xpress Aligners as a new treatment alternative.

All Smiles Xpress Aligners

We have introduced Xpress Aligners as a treatment option that has the convenience and affordability of Do It Yourself Orthodontics, but with the value advantage that treatment will be evaluated and monitored by us. With Xpress Aligners, we remove the risk, so there’s no reason for Do It Yourself Aligners anymore. This is our way of making changes, for the better!

To learn more, just visit our All Smiles Orthodontics website or schedule an appointment today!


– Ernest H. McDowell, DMD