Skip links

The Truth About At-Home Aligners

Orthodontic aligners are the ideal way of straightening your teeth to help you achieve a confident and happy smile. Over the years, we have seen an increase in people using at-home aligners, compared to dentist-approved orthodontic treatments to align the teeth. 

Whilst at-home aligners are more affordable and may initially appear a more attractive alternative for patients looking to achieve a straight smile on a budget, are the home treatments really what they seem?

In this guide, our experienced dental clinic London specialists have uncovered the truth about the DIY at-home aligner treatments and the risks and problems that come with using them. To find out more information before making your big decision, keep reading.

How Do At-Home Aligners Work?

At-Home aligners are usually a clear, plastic tray which secures onto either the bottom or top set of teeth, but can sometimes be both sets. The aligners gently shift the teeth to a desired position over a period of time, which is usually between six months to a year. These aligners require no consultation or trips to the dentist, so usually, you can buy at-home aligners over the counter or order them online.

Orthodontists can provide a bespoke set of aligners with a consultation and help and support throughout treatments, although some companies sell teeth aligners directly to customers, without offering any support, consultation or accurate fitting. Customers create impressions of their own teeth with a mould, which would then be sent to an aligner company to create a set of custom-made aligners. These aligners are then sent to the customer several weeks later without the customer receiving professional advice or support.

The Risks of At-Home Aligners

Whilst at-home aligners are initially cost-effective for customers wanting to achieve a straighter smile, the lack of orthodontic support and guidance, along with the lack of accurate fit can eventually result in the customer needing to visit their emergency dentist in London. With any DIY home treatment, there are likely to be several problems:

No Consultation

With any dental or orthodontic treatment, you’ll require expertise and guidance from a professionally-trained dentist. With at-home aligners, there are no consultations or follow-up appointments which are essential in achieving the perfect smile. Follow-up appointments are crucial in checking up on treatments and tailoring a suitable plan unique to you.

Any dental treatment should require advice and support, as some dental treatments may be suitable for some, but not others. Unfortunately, companies offering at-home aligners lack this level of personalised advice which orthodontists offer throughout any dental treatment. 

Can Be Painful 

With home alignment dental treatments, you are required to create a mould of your own mouth, without having a dentist present to accurately create the mould for you. Whilst this is only a small inconvenience, it can result in an inaccurate fitting dental aligner if the mould hasn’t been taken properly, as at-home aligners are less likely to fit accurately.

Inaccurate fitting dental aligners can cause excruciating pain and discomfort, whilst making it difficult to eat or drink. When accurately measured and moulded, dental aligners will only cause minor discomfort within the first few days as the teeth begin to adjust, but are painless from then onwards.

When you receive your aligners from a dental clinic, your dentist can assess the aligners to check they fit you comfortably. However, with at-home aligners, you won’t get this essential experience.

Can Be Harmful to Teeth and Gums

With any dental treatment, regular supervision and checkups from a dentist ensure the effectiveness of the treatment as well as making informed decisions about the next steps of the aligning treatment.

If a home aligner isn’t accurately fitted or moulded, it could eventually cause harm to your gums and teeth, which can later result in more serious problems.

Not Always Cost-Effective

Admittedly, the only benefit of having home aligners is that they are cheaper than professional orthodontic aligners. However, with the potential dental problems and damage caused by at-home aligners, you may be required to visit an orthodontist anyway, which will incur in more costs later on.

Home Aligners VS Invisalign: What’s The Difference?

Invisalign is an effective way of creating a perfectly straight smile, with the convenience of being able to take them out, so they won’t interfere with your day to day life. 

At Hermes London Dental Clinic, our team of experts can assess your teeth ahead of your Invisalign treatment. Not only do we offer advice and support every step of the way, but we provide a 3D computer-generated video which shows the progress and expected results of your treatment before you have started wearing the aligners.

What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?

Great Results

Invisalign offers a flexible solution to teeth alignment, with a painless and comfortable aligner. The aligner is favoured by many patients wanting to achieve great results.

Clear and Discreet

Unlike some orthodontic braces, Invisalign is a clear and discreet aligner which goes unnoticed by the human eye.


Invisalign aligners are smooth and extremely comfortable to wear as they are professionally customised to your teeth. Unlike other at-home aligners, they don’t cause irritation. 


When thinking about aligners and braces, most people are put off about having to wear them 24 hours a day, therefore struggling to eat and drink. With Invisalign, aligners can be removed if you need to eat or if you have an important meeting. 

Unlock a Brighter Smile with Hermes

Are you experiencing difficulty with your tooth alignment, or is your child suffering from overcrowding? Live in the London area and need a check-up? Or simply fed up with your smile not being as bright as it once was? Well, if you’re looking for impeccable orthodontists or general dentistry services for a price which is worth paying for, then look no further.

As our staff are continually attending courses and updating our range of services we are always able to offer a number of different options when providing our treatment. We will spend the extra time to discuss all these options with you so that you are able to make an informed decision on your treatment.

Hermes Dentists London are an award-winning dental clinic with experience and a proven track record. If you want more reasons to smile, then simply get in contact today – we’d love to help.

Leave a comment