The Dangers of 3D Printing Your Own Braces

The internet has been abuzz with the recent news that a college student used a 3D printer to create his own invisible aligners. While he managed to realign his teeth, he doesn’t recommend anyone else print their own aligners, and for good reason. Moving your teeth on your own, without the oversight of a licensed orthodontist or dentist, is unsafe and can cause serious damage to your smile.

See If You’re a Candidate for Invisible Aligners

That’s why SmileDirectClub partners with a network of dentists and orthodontists across the United States who are the ones prescribing our aligners, as they review each treatment plan before a customer begins. We spoke with Dr. Dowling, an orthodontist in the SmileDirectClub network, and he cautioned against DIY orthodontics.

“You only get one set of adult teeth. Practicing DIY on your teeth is like doing your own appendectomy,” said Dr. Dowling. “Once something bad happens, you can’t go back.”

Dentists and orthodontists bring years of education and experience to each case. They know when to treat a patient and when not to treat. “We look at what is going to achieve results that are stable, aesthetically pleasing and good for the long-term health of the patient,” Dr. Dowling explained.

“If you do it yourself, you can dislodge a bridge or removable dentures. If you have an implant, you can try to move your teeth, but everything will shift toward the implant,” he said. “Even though aligners are the gentlest form of movement, minimizing the chances for root resorption, you could have an impacted tooth that you don’t know about. And if you decide to move it on your own, that root could melt away.”

Dr. Dowling pointed to SmileDirectClub’s remote therapy model and noted that even our aligners aren’t right for everyone, which is why professionals like him review every case before approving a patient for treatment. “We don’t prescribe SmileDirectClub aligners for patients with implants or bridges. People with baby teeth aren’t eligible because their roots are more likely to melt away. These types of cases need to be seen in-office.”

Patients who are prescribed SmileDirectClub Invisible Aligners are required to have a dental checkup with their family dentist before being approved to ensure their mouths are healthy—from teeth to gums to roots. “Our patients also send in regular progress photos that we review, and we encourage them to see their dentist regularly,”Dr. Dowling said.

Transform Your Smile

Are you looking for an easy, affordable way to get a better smile? Get started today with our free smile assessment and risk-free evaluation kit, and you’ll be on your way to a more beautiful smile. If it turns out you aren’t a candidate, the evaluation fee is fully refundable.


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