The British Orthodontic Society has issued a warning to members of the public about the dangers of DIY braces and given the recent publicity this has received and the potential rapid growth of these services, I thought I would write a short piece on this.
A few weeks ago, an American student reported that he had successfully straightened his own teeth by making aligners made from a 3D printer. The technology he employed to do this was quite clever and wasn’t dissimilar to the process used by some of the well known manufacturers in that models of his teeth were scanned into some CAD software and through careful manipulation of the teeth that needed to be moved, aligners were made and worn for a period that appeared to successfully move his teeth into a more pleasing alignment. Once this story broke in the press, there was the inevitable comment about his reckless behaviour and the danger he had put himself in by not consulting with a dental professional but there was also some quieter recognition that he had achieved something unusual and had managed to develop the techniques relatively cheaply to bring the outcome he was looking for.
Obviously undertaking this work yourself is outside the scope of many people and the risks are incredibly high but there are now a small number of services that are marketing themselves to provide low cost orthodontic solutions without needing to visit a dentist or orthodontist. The system requires you to provide a number of photographs of your teeth and to use a home use impression taking kit from which the company will fabricate aligners for you to wear to straighten your teeth.
Naturally, there have been a number of comments about this together with warnings about the risks with taking this approach and I guess time will tell whether there is any appetite from the public for this type of service for getting straight teeth but if you are thinking about this as a possible solution, I would encourage you to read the warning issued from the British Orthodontic Society (link below).