A beautiful smile is a great way to make a first impression, so it’s no wonder that a healthy set of teeth is a goal of many. One of the biggest detractors from a beautiful smile is a crooked set of teeth.
Unfortunately, crooked teeth can be one of the most expensive issues to fix, and in many cases isn’t covered by dental insurance. This can put the price out of reach for many households, and put that goal of a perfect smile on hold. Enter at home orthodontics, a relatively new method to teeth straightening that is cheaper and easier for many to achieve straight teeth.
What are At Home Orthodontics – Clear Aligners
At home orthodontics refers to a series of companies and techniques that are skipping the route of traditional braces and allowing patients to get straight teeth at home. One of the most popular of these is Invisalign, but there are a lot of Invisalign alternatives as well. Many other companies offer similar services, and in some cases these alternatives might be cheaper.
The key idea of at home orthodontics is limiting the need to go to the dentist. These companies will mail you the necessary equipment, saving you both time in the trip as well as money in meeting face to face with a professional. Others might require a dental visit, either once at the beginning for periodic checkups.
In a lot of cases, the cost is less than half what going with traditional braces might be. You also get the added benefit of having most of the items mailed to you and not having to meet with a professional. These benefits making these at home solutions a popular choice for many consumers.
In the end, the goal is get your teeth just as straight as with traditional braces. Many of these companies have hundreds of glowing reviews, so it’s safe to say they do work. If you’re looking for an affordable solution to straighten teeth, at home orthodontics might be the right option for you.
What Teeth Aligner Options Are Available?
As mentioned, there are a handful of companies that offer at home teeth aligner solutions. Each of these has their own process, although they are quite similar in most respects. Take a look for some of the most popular that have a proven track record over multiple years and hundreds of smiles.
Invisalign is one of the more popular sets of invisible braces. The first brand most people think of for at home orthodontics is Invisalign, and for good reason as they have successfully helped a lot of people achieve a beautiful smile.
With Invisalign you first meet with your doctor who will walk you through your custom plan. They’ll answer any questions, and be able to get you set with your first aligner.
Invisalign uses clear aligners which are difficult to see. They can also be removed when eating or drinking and then easily put back into place. You’ll get a new set every couple of weeks that will work to slowly ease your teeth into their correct position.
Invisalign is also a bit less DIY, and more of a guided process. During the entire process you’ll meet with your doctor, who will help make sure everything is moving along as planned. This can help alleviate the risk of some of the more DIY routes, but it can be a bit more expensive.
Clear Correct is another company that offers clear aligners. Their process is similar to the popular Invisalign, and they have a large track record of success.
The process starts with finding a qualified dental provider. The provider will evaluate your teeth, and then decided whether clear correct is right for you. If so, they will submit your prescription to Clear Correct, who will then manufacture your aligners.
You’ll then progress through the familiar sets of aligners that will slowly but surely move your teeth into place. During the whole process you’ll also have regular check-ins with your doctor to make sure everything is moving along as planned. These check-ins are important as they can help catch any problems that may occur as the teeth move.
Smile Direct Club
Smile Direct Club is another popular choice and is great in the fact that they don’t require a dentist visit. While you can start by going into their shop, you can also request an aat home kit that will get you on the right track.
In either case, an licensed dentist or orthodontist will then review your details, and come up with the plan for you. They’ll work with you the whole way, but will do so remotely removing the need to actually go to the dentist.
At this point you’ll then begin getting your aligners. After the process is over, you’ll have the option to purchase retainers which can help keep your teeth from moving out of place over time. This is a great perk as it helps protect the investment you made in your smile.
ClearPath is another clear aligners company. After registering on their website they’ll ask you to send in various records so that they can generate an aligner plan. Using this information, they’ll review your needs and come up with a series of aligners to get your teeth looking straighter.
Shortly after, you’ll receive your first set of clear aligners. Like the others before, these should be worn at all times other than eating or drinking. Roughly every two weeks you’ll switch aligners, each one moving your teeth just a bit closer to the goal.
K-Line is a European based clear aligner manufacturer. They provide similar, clear aligners as other companies, and work closely with your doctor to keep you on track.
The first step with them is to visit your doctor for impressions and X-rays. Using this, they will generate 3D images of the end result and the needed aligners. What’s interesting here is they can actually show you the end result before you even receive your aligners so you know what you’re working towards.
If all looks good with the preview, they’ll begin sending your aligners. During this period, be prepared to schedule follow up doctor visits to ensure everything is going as planned and to get any new sets of aligners you require.
Ormco specializes in quick delivery of your aligners, and are perfect for minor changes or teeth movement. They have some examples of problem areas they fix on their website.
The process here is very similar to the others. You’ll provide them with impressions of your teeth, and using that they’ll create a plan that fits your needs. You’ll receive up to 5 aligners, which will help get your teeth into their correct position.
Overall, each service is very similar with the level of doctor involvement being a key difference. Some require an initial consultation or periodic check-ups, while others require neither. Keep this in mind when making your choice. Also, keep in mind that most offer service allowing you to call and ask question of a licenses orthodontist. Don’t be afraid to use this as it can help make sure you’re comfortable and no issues go unnoticed.
Is At Home Orthodontics For Me?
With some of the top invisible braces companies in mind, it’s also important to consider the pros and cons of using an invisible braces system. While they are certainly an appealing option, there are some cases where it might be better to go the more traditional route.
Probably the biggest benefit for most people is the cost of an at home orthosonics system. As professional visits and involvement is limited, many times these kits can come at up to half the cost of traditional braces. This is a great boon to those with limited budgets or no insurance. If cost is a key concern for you, many invisible braces systems are much more affordable.
A big question for those looking into at home orthodontics is how long do they take? This question is a bit difficult to answer as it really depends on how much work is needed on the teeth. The good new is, for those looking into at home orthodontics, is many times their teeth only need slight corrections. In situations like this, it can only take a few months to achieve the desired look. In more extreme cases though, it can take upwards of 2-3 years, with room in between for any number of other cases. Talk to your doctor as they should be able to give you an estimate based on your unique situation.
Another great benefit of most at home orthodontics systems is their appearance. Most come in the “invisible” style, making them discrete and out of the way. This is important for a lot of people who don’t want their braces to be the center of attention. Invisible braces are much more discreet than traditional metal ones.
The biggest downside of at home orthodontics is the lack of professional guidance. In some cases you’ll meet with a doctor, but it’s typically much less than with traditional braces. Some systems don’t require you ever to meet physically with a doctor at well. While this is certainly convenient, it might not always be the best choice. Any issues that may arise won’t be caught as quickly, which can lead to undesired results. For some, the ability to quickly get answers to questions is worth the additional cost of the traditional route.
Teeth Movement Needed
It’s also important to be realistic about the amount of movement needed to bring the teeth into line. In some extreme cases, many of the invisible braces systems won’t be able to make the correction, and a professional will need to be involved. Most of these systems are designed for smaller movements, or more common alignment issues. If you require large amounts of movement, or have a rare alignment issues, then using an at home orthodontics kit might not be the best choice or even viable at all.
Generally Meant For Older Individuals
Building off the last point, many of these at home solutions are only recommended for adults or older teens. This is due to the less teeth movement that happens at this age, as a child teeth movement can be large making it difficult to predict and work with. For those looking for orthodontic solutions for children, going the traditional route is usually the best choice as it provides the best opportunity to catch issues and make adjustments quickly.
Another downside of at home orthodontic systems is the responsibility placed on you for their operation. Many systems required them to be worn up to 22 hours per day, and not doing so can lead to poor results. If you’re someone who is forgetful then being saddled with the added responsibility might not be the best move. Even leaving them out for a day and cause the teeth to shift wrong, which can lead to a longer period of correction or damaged teeth/gums.
At Home Orthodontics Vs Braces
While they’re certainly appealing, at home orthodontics is not always the right choice. For those looking to correct larger issues traditional braces are often the best choice. They’re also a good choice for those looking to work closely with their doctor and want the guarantee that things are moving along correctly.
That said, for many they are still a great choice. The time, effort, and discreteness of an invisible braces system often makes them a great choice. This is especially true for those looking to make minor teeth adjustments, or have one of many common alignment issues. The time and money saved going the at home route is a great benefit, and when done correctly can yield just as good results.
For those not sure which route to pick talking to your dentist or orthodontist is a smart move. They’ll be able to examine your teeth and make a determination on which route is going to be the most effective for you. Whichever route you go, it’s always smart to get their opinion first as they are experts and can provide valuable insight.
How Do At home Orthodontics work?
Most start with either a doctor visit or a kit sent to your home that allows you to imprints of your teeth. These are then send off for review where a professional examines them and creates a care plan. At this point, you’ll receive your aligners which will start the work. Depending on the program, you might also be sent additional sets of aligners or meet up with your doctor for check-ins.
Can I Get Clear Aligners For My Top Teeth Only?
Yes, this is called a single arch orthodontic treatment. Your doctor may recommend this after examining your teeth. Keep in mind, even if your bottom teeth look fine now getting top braces can change your bite. Your doctor will make this determination and make sure that any movement won’t negatively affect the rest of your mouth.
Are Invisible Braces More Expensive Than Regular Braces?
In many cases they may be less expensive than regular braces. It depends on the company, the length of treatment needed, as well as any sort of insurance that might cover some of the cost either way.
How Long Do Clear Aligners Take To Work?
It really depends on how much movement is needed. The more needed, the longer it takes to fix. In some cases 6 months might be enough while in others up to 3 years might be. It all depends on the individual’s unique teeth and their goals.
Can I Get At Home Orthodontics Without Insurance?
Yes! One of the key benefits of at home orthodontics is the reduced cost, sometimes up to 50%. This makes it a much more accessible option for those on budgets or without insurance.