As an orthodontist in California, I’m seeing a disturbing trend among dentists offering “Six Month Smiles” to their patients. I am concerned for my patients and my community because of the flaws and dangers I see in their treatment plan and product.
In Opposition of this Quick-Smile Scheme
I admit that Six Month Smiles has done an excellent job marketing their product. They have reached the general dentist population and made huge progress. For this reason, however, I feel the need to voice my concerns for you, my patients and readers.
The allure of getting your orthodontic work done in 6 months is a strong one. I see that desire with my patients on a regular basis. I always take some time to reassure them that moving their teeth takes as long as it does for a reason.
Slow and Steady
If you can imagine what you are doing, you’ll know that slow and steady will win the race. Your teeth are rooted to your jaw bone. Your bite has developed over time. All the bone structure, teeth, and musculature of your jaw is supporting its current form. Changing that form is best done incrementally.
Moving something a little at a time will make it less painful. The procedure plans I use for my patients are always crafted to ensure minimal soreness and pain.
Rapid change is also very unstable. A sudden change has a much higher likelihood of reverting back to pre-treatment positions. Slowly repositioning teeth is a proven method for long term success.
The Business Model
Aside from the treatment itself, which is fast and somewhat reckless, I must call into question the business practices of this company as well.
This company offers a weekend course for dentists so they can move teeth in just 6 months. That is very extreme to me! I spent two full years learning the correct and safest way to move teeth. It can hardly be taught and understood in one weekend.
The fact that they are directly marketed to general dentists that do not have an orthodontic specialty tells me that the company is using this to their advantage. The website even says “no previous orthodontic experience needed.” Do you really want someone with no experience other than a quick two day course to move your teeth?
The Bite is Forgotten
I have had to re-treat patients after they used Six Month Smiles because centering their bite was left out of the treatment entirely. They had to pay a great deal more money and spend far more time getting their teeth fixed than they would have if they had come to an orthodontic specialist first.
I am trained to assess more than just the straightness of the front teeth but how all your teeth fit in your mouth. I am likewise trained to take overall facial structure and aesthetics into account (and have a lot of experience doing so). I can change your profile, bite, jaw line, and teeth with a single treatment.
Is it Even 6 Months Long?
The funny thing is that Six Month Smiles focuses on the clients that did have their front teeth straightened in 6 months without mentioning that most cases took (and take) longer. If you have more than just the front teeth to align, chances of a 6-month treatment timeline are slim to none.
In some cases, the rapid progress of the treatment is achieved through shaving the teeth. If the teeth are slightly thinner, then they will be able to realign faster than if they are crowded. However, you lose the size and shape of your teeth as a result, which is unnecessary.
My “If-Then” Caveat
If you just have very minimal crowding on your front teeth, then Six Month Smiles might be a good option for you. But please don’t fall for the gimmicks. Do your research and know how many cases your dentist has already performed. Look at before and after photos.
And if you need another opinion, call my office and come in for a consultation! I do have options for making your treatment faster (read my next blog for details).
I’m passionate about safe, healthy orthodontic work for the residents of the greater Sacramento area. Please be safe and smart!
For a beautiful smile!