DIY dentistry is possible

DIY alignersTooth correction to the DIY

The perfect smile is being advertised on Facebook and Instagram - with straight, shiny, white teeth. It should be very simple, with the help of a self-made aligner. And with the promise not to have to go to the dentist or orthodontist once. Our reporter Rebekka Endler took a look at how this should work and whether it is legal.

An aligner is a clear splint that is designed to straighten the teeth. It doesn't take much to make such braces yourself: wash your hands, brush your teeth, put on gloves - knead the silicone mass, bite, wait. And then we have the impression of our teeth. Can everyone really do it themselves? "Probably yes. Of course you have to see who can do it and how. But that's not rocket science," says dentist Alexander Spassov.

With this dental impression and photos, various providers then tinker with the right dental splint, they promise. You don't have to go to a doctor and it should be much cheaper than in a practice. The German Medical Association finds this problematic and believes that this type of self-treatment must be prevented.

"Straight teeth doesn't mean a successful and happy life."
Alexander Spassov, orthodontist

Alexander Spassov is a specialist in orthodontics and has a practice in Greifswald. He is committed to evidence-based medicine and against orthodontic oversupply. He is more pragmatic about the trend towards aligners.

After weighing the costs, duration and risks, many choose their crooked teeth

For him it is important that patients are well informed before starting treatment. When someone comes to his practice with the desire for beautiful and straight teeth, he or she first explains the costs, risks, duration of treatment and alternatives. And not infrequently, after being fully informed, people would decide that they can live well with their crooked teeth. Tooth correction can, under certain circumstances, take a long time and become accordingly expensive. The orthodontist says: If all the facts are on the table and the patients then decide on an aligner, then this is a good choice.

However: for Alexander Spassov there is no question that the treatment with an aligner must also be carried out by a dentist or an orthodontist. This is provided for in the Dentistry Act.

The Dentistry Act

In the Dentistry Act § 1, Point 3 it says: "Practice of dentistry is the professional determination and treatment of dental, oral and jaw diseases based on dental scientific knowledge. A disease is any appearance in the area of ​​the teeth or mouth that deviates from the norm and view the jaw, including tooth alignment abnormalities and missing teeth. "

"The Dentistry Act is there to ensure that only qualified people carry out a certain activity. In other words, dentistry."
Alexander Spassov, orthodontist

The legislature wants to protect the citizens against incorrect treatment by unqualified people. The question arises as to whether such a DIY use of aligners is considered a medical procedure or not. "If you should only take care of yourself with it, without a dentist giving his opinion, then it would not be medical treatment," says lawyer Tim Oehler.

The lawyer points out, however, that a dentist is usually first asked for advice as to whether there is a misaligned tooth that can be corrected with an aligner splint. Just determining whether a correction is necessary and possible is already medical treatment.

"In my opinion, this is at least borderline, because it is possible to pretend to the patient that such a treatment can be carried out very safely and is completely unproblematic."

The lawyer Tim Oehler finds it problematic when DIY aligners are offered with the slogan that no visit to the dentist or orthodontist is necessary. That is then in the area of ​​"remote treatment". And that is not permitted under the drug advertising law.

In addition, the lawyer knows from other cases that tooth correction can lead to undesirable side effects in the mouth and jaw. He knows the case where tooth roots have shifted and caused great problems for the patient. Therefore, in his opinion, it is borderline to advertise DIY aligners without pointing out possible dangers.

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