In an article published in Journal of American Dental Association last year and titled Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontics: Surveying the User Experience it was concluded that though many respondents to the survey would have preferred traditional treatment from a dentist or orthodontist, they opted for Direct to consumer aligners because of cost and convenience.

Recent years have seen the rise of do-it yourself (DIY) dentistry mainly in the form of clear aligners. This has been a subject of significant controversy within the dental community. Companies that market these aligners generally present themselves as an alternative to in office treatment. The customers are either supplied with an at-home self impression kit or they get a scan at home from a company rep. Over the course of several months, the user receives new sets of aligners through the mail. By cutting out in-person dental supervision and monitoring, companies offer treatment for a much lesser cost.

The American Association of Orthodontists that represents 19,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada and other countries has issued a Consumer Alert in this regard. As per the alert which can be found on their website direct-to-consumer orthodontic companies do not involve the in-person evaluation and/or in-person supervision of your orthodontic treatment by an orthodontist. Further the AAO alert raises concern on how customized these treatments are. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to orthodontic treatment, which is why a thorough examination of the teeth, their position in the jaws and the relationship of the upper and lower jaws is imperative to developing a custom treatment plan. Orthodontists closely study dental records such as panoramic xrays to evaluate any concerns or potential problems that may be hiding below the surface. Before making any decision about orthodontic treatment, consider doing some research and having an in-person consultation with a qualified orthodontist.

The British Orthodontic Society has also issued a statement with regards to Do –it yourself aligners. The BOS is extremely concerned about this trend and recommends that patients attend to see an experienced/trained clinician in person who will be able to carry out a full clinical and orthodontic assessment and discuss their particular orthodontic and dental requirements

Indian Orthodontic Society (IOS) has also issued a Public Advisory on Do It Yourself Aligners. The Society has expressed concern that several aligner companies have sprung up which offer clear plastic appliances directly to the consumer which eliminates the involvement and expertise of the trained professional. The IOS strongly believes that the appliance that is used is only secondary to the skill, expertise, and experience of the orthodontist.