The Truth About Online Teeth Straightening Treatments

The Truth About Online Teeth Straightening Treatments

The Truth About Online Teeth Straightening Treatments

Dentists and orthodontists throughout the UK are concerned about a growing number of companies offering online or ‘by post’ teeth straightening systems with promises of straighter teeth for less money. Unfortunately, ordering a new smile online is not as simple as it may sound, and the reality of what is delivered can be very different when compared to an established treatment like Invisalign.

Invisalign is the original and best clear aligner system available and whilst upon first glance they may appear similar in appearance to the at-home versions, there is a huge difference in the process, the price, the way they are created and the results they deliver.

What Are At Home Aligners?

There are lots of names for these online companies and the products they offer such as – home straightening, clear aligners, teeth aligners, invisible braces and retainers to name a few. Whilst it isn’t in question that they offer clear aligners at a reduced rate to Invisalign, as with anything, the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best!

There are many different variations of these clear aligner systems but most do not include visits to a dentist or orthodontist. This means there is no professional, in-person assessments to determine whether a patient is a suitable candidate for the treatment, or to check for any underlying issues that could influence the effectiveness of the treatment.

Instead they involve a ‘do it yourself’ kit to take impressions of your teeth at home, which is then used to create your ‘custom treatment plan’ and your aligners, with the promise of delivering a straighter smile.

The Dangers of Do It Yourself Clear Aligners

Here are just some of the reasons that patients should be very careful when considering this risky, unmonitored treatment:

  • Many dentists and orthodontists worry about the long-term effects do it yourself treatments can have on patients’ teeth and overall oral health.
  • These are not a solution for those with particular or complicated dental issues and could even make things worse.
  • Potential problems go unnoticed due to having no in-person follow-ups with a dental professional.
  • No safeguards in place to guarantee you will be satisfied with the end results.
  • No assurances that your teeth won’t be damaged in the process.
  • Creating accurate moulds at home is extremely difficult and, even in a professional setting, can sometimes take several attempts to get right.
  • DIY moulds can lead to improper impressions which can cause ill fitting, too loose, too tight, painful aligners that don’t sit right in the mouth.
  • Patients receive anywhere up to 20 trays at a time and are then completely unmonitored except for ‘online check ins’ so nobody actually sees them, and a lot of things can go wrong in that time.
  • There are no professional adjustments that are commonly required during the straightening process such as for overcrowding where some patients require a little interproximal reduction (fine filing between teeth) to make room for movement. If this space isn’t made, then the teeth can end up tilting out farther to make room – pushing them out of the bone.

How is Invisalign Different?

Some people mistakenly think that the substandard, generic aligners they see advertised are the same as Invisalign. In fact, Invisalign uses higher quality materials and has long established itself as the world’s most cutting-edge clear aligner system available and produces professionally crafted, bespoke trays that deliver the perfect fit for effective results.

Here’s just a few ways in that the Invisalign treatment is different to the at home versions on offer:

  • The trays are created using 3D scans of your teeth, which are taken professionally by your dentist or orthodontist using the latest 3D iTero Intraoral Scanner. This makes the aligners accurate and precise to ensure the best possible fit.
  • Your teeth and requirements are assessed in person, ensuring a thorough and realistic treatment plan.
  • You are given a set number of trays to take home and swap roughly every 9 days. You will also attend regular in person visits every 5-8 weeks to discuss any issues, concerns or problems, which we are then able to resolve quickly.
  • Depending on the individual, there might be extra steps needed to ensure precise movement of the teeth. This will include adding attachments (tooth-coloured bonding) which helps to provide extra grip for the aligners. If the teeth are very overcrowded, then interproximal reduction may be necessary. This involves a thin sandpaper strip that is used between each tooth to sand down up to half a millimetre in order to create the space required for them to move properly.
  • With a professional, skilled, qualified dentist on your side from the beginning and all the way through treatment, you are guaranteed the best possible results for your teeth.


It’s understandable that people want to save money where possible, but if you are going to cut corners then never do it with your health. Would you pay half the price for just half a car? Or a cheap haircut from someone who didn’t cut hair for a living? Probably not. So why risk spending money on a treatment that isn’t guaranteed and has the potential to actually harm your dental progress?

It is advised that dental treatments of any sort are carried out under the supervision of a qualified dental health professional and for very good reason. If you are serious about teeth straightening and are interested in finding out more about our Invisalign Essex services then please do not hesitate to get in touch and one of our friendly staff will be happy to help.