Having a bright smile and well-aligned teeth has become important to the French. But as the French Federation of Orthodontics reminds us: not all methods are equal, especially when they are offered on the internet without support from a health professional.
After smile bars and teeth whitening, the French seem more and more won over by tooth alignment devices. After all, who doesn’t dream of a perfect smile? But this aesthetic trend should not make us forget the essential: dental care is health care and must be carried out by professionals.
Online alignment aligners, a solution criticized by orthodontists
The French Federation of Orthodontics thus relies on an Ipsos survey which demonstrates a certain lack of understanding of the subject, when it comes to one’s smile.
- If more than 7 out of 10 French people consider orthodontic care as primarily aesthetic care, their level of knowledge on the use of this medical care still remains approximate, particularly on the use of dental aligners;
- Only 30% of French people know that aligners are not suitable for all types of oral problems (70% are unaware of this);
- 46% of people who had been treated with aligners by a health professional working in a dental office hesitated to use an online structure.
It is true that on the networks, solutions sold online, already popular in the United States or England, are flourishing and promise a dream smile just a click away. A trend which is not very healthy according to orthodontic professionals, who point out that alignment is above all done to improve the health of the patient.
“These results are indicative of an era and especially of a generation in search of a perfect image widely advocated and conveyed by influencers and other celebrities. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that orthodontic treatments, including aligners, are intended to provide real health benefits and improve certain vital functions such as chewing, swallowing, breathing and even speech. … Alignment being only a happy and favorable consequence of correct dental occlusion”, insists Doctor David Couchat, President of the FFO Communication Commission in a press release dated November 7.
The use of gutters must be done under the supervision of a professional
Despite this evidence, many patients, particularly young adults influenced by certain media, consider ordering online to receive an aligner. The price is also very attractive.
“But an aligner can only be safe and effective if it is based on an initial clinical and radiographic examination, followed by regular reassessment by a dental professional.”informs Doctor David Couchat.
An observation that we had already mentioned last January, at TipsForWomens, with Dr Jérémy Amzalag, dentist and member of our committee of experts, who warned:
“Already, before any aligners are created, a diagnosis must be made beforehand, by an orthodontist in order to know what treatment is possible, case by case. In particular, it is essential to take stock of oral problems, such as the presence of cavities, or fragilities which can impact the gums. Orthodontic treatment on a person who has fragilities in the gums has every chance of causing these fragilities to flare up and weaken the teeth, or even encourage their loss.”
He also mentioned the lack of seriousness of remote companies who send a series of aligners to the “client” after a single online diagnosis when an in-office follow-up can make the necessary modifications in due time if an unforeseen event arises. Finally, the finishes themselves are not up to standard in these online offers:
“Once the treatment is completed, restraint must be made, either by night splints or by a metal arch. But from a distance, this restraint is not done and the major risk is recurrence”.
The FFO drives the point home and adds that the consequences do not stop there. Poor monitoring can cause ENT disorders, headaches, sleep apnea which increases cardiovascular risks, spinal pain or even postural problems.