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I am sure you have seen on TV or heard on the radio about “do it yourself” tooth straightening. A few companies have begun to offer a type of aligner treatment that you “do at home”. You submit impressions (taken by yourself) and in turn, you receive a series of plastic aligners (which you insert yourself). During the course of treatment, you monitor your own progress and when a problem arises, you may possibly speak to someone via telephone to help you address the situation. Basically, you are your own “orthodontist”.

Is this the same as going to an orthodontist? In a word, no!

Orthodontists have a variety of methods to straighten teeth. The most common are braces which can be the traditional metal braces or ceramic (tooth-colored) braces. Depending on the individual needs, orthodontists also can offer aligner treatment in a controlled and properly monitored environment.

Everyone who comes to my office wants a beautiful smile. It’s pretty obvious and it is what we want for our patients as well.

However, a beautiful smile is actually the second most important reason to have treatment with an orthodontist. The number one reason to have orthodontic treatment is to ensure proper bite alignment. That is what an orthodontist is trained to do. While proper bite alignment may not be on the top of your mind, or may not be something you can actually “see”, there are a whole host of dental issues that can occur without proper alignment. This includes excessive wear on the enamel of the teeth (enamel does not “grow back”), jaw issues and dental problems that can require excessive work and expense to correct later in life.

For these reasons, whatever treatment option you choose, only an orthodontist is trained to have the teeth fit together properly to achieve not only a cosmetically attractive smile but also a smile that will last a lifetime.