Perfectly straight teeth are starting to overtake whitening as the absolute must-have for fashionable smiles and today we’re reviewing which you should choose between dentist-led or mail-order “at home” treatment.

Unlike the old days when this goldmine was exclusively guarded by orthodontists, there are now plenty of companies who offer to straighten teeth, with or without the close guidance of a dentist. Here at GAP we’re big supporters of enabling people to look after their own health wherever safe to do so and safety is the main thing we’re considering today.

How do online and dentist aligners work?

Whichever you choose, the key principal is the same. From an original mould/scan of your teeth, a computer-generated model is made of your ideal straight smile. You’ll be given a series of wearable dental trays that will slowly force your teeth to shift position over time, each tray moves the teeth a little more until you reach that final straight smile and are given a retainer to stop them slipping back into their old positions.

The difference between online and dentist aligners

The first thing you’ll notice is the price! Online aligner treatments typically come in under £1000 per arch while dentist-led treatments can easily run into multiple thousands. That said, you do get a bit more for your money with a dentist:

· Check-up prior to treatment to make sure you’re dentally fit for treatment

· Dentist takes the initial impression for you (incredibly important to get this bit right!)

· Dentists can fit temporary “buttons” for advanced movements like tooth rotation

· Enameloplasty (filing teeth for better shape and fit) can only be done by a dentist

· Dental practices are extensively regulated and will be on hand to help if things don’t go to plan.

Are online dental aligners worth the risk?

When it comes to the best treatment type, it’s clear to us that the additional skills and tools available from the dentist should give you better results. Also, having a professional on hand to help if anything goes wrong and a regulator to complain to if the dentist falls short is hugely reassuring. Even so, if you’re only in need of minor adjustment and are confident in your dental health and ability to take a decent impression, you could reasonably opt for the online treatment instead.

Our top tips for dental aligners

Whether you go for the full-on dentist-led experience or budget online aligners, there are a bunch of things you really need to know about life with aligners:

· How to eat with aligners

· What do drink while wearing aligners

· The best way to keep aligners clean

You can check out our cliff notes on these issues over at our recent blog post How to snack with Invisalign and other ortho aligners. While you’re at it, do yourself a favour and pick up a dedicated aligner cleaner in advance! We recommend you use the Dr Mark’s HyGenie for best results throughout any aligner program. HyGenie is a patented cleaner with a unique cage and 3D brush design that’s roughly equivalent to cleaning with 10 toothbrushes at once and it clocks in a full clean at under 90 seconds!

You can purchase HyGenie now over at the Dental Composite webstore. If you’d like more information on the product or want to stock it wholesale, drop us an email on or call us on 01474 560 618.