Brace Yourself: There are Better Options Than DIY Dentistry

A recent news story reported about a college student who straightened his own teeth using a 3D printer. (He’d actually had his teeth professionally straightened earlier in his life but had failed to wear the proscribed retainer after his braces were removed.) The style of braces he created were a series of nearly invisible aligners that pushed his teeth incrementally into place.

It’s a great story, one reader correctly assessed the flaw:

People should not do their own braces or dental treatment. There is a reason that orthodontists and dentists have to go to school for such a long time. Moving teeth around and not knowing what you are doing to the bite will cause problems down the road. I work in the dental field and people don’t understand that braces aren’t just for cosmetics, they are also to help your jaws. If the teeth are not in the correct position it can cause severe TMJ problems and grinding problems. Not to mention if you move your teeth too fast you can shorten your teeth’s roots which can lead to possible extractions. Just because you do research does not mean you are a certified doctor. If I do research on heart surgery it does not mean that you would want me to do your bypass.”

3d PrintingWhile the story has received a great deal of attention, primarily because it is the tale of one man’s triumph over the tyranny of unaffordable orthodontia treatment, there really is an even bigger story that might have changed this fellow’s quest and it certainly could change your life. The story is that orthodontia treatment to straighten misaligned teeth (braces, as we usually call them) does not have to be prohibitively expensive. Dentists and orthodontists treat patients with misaligned teeth every day in Costa Rica for a fraction of what they would have paid in the United States or Canada.

In fact, the greatest barrier to getting the treatment many people need is more psychological than financial. For starters, you have to get over the notion that your dentist has to be the guy down the street.

Costa Rica is known the world over for the high quality of dental care. By and large the dentists are well trained and equipped and use the same state-of-the-art techniques that dentists in the US and Canada use. Ironically, dentists in Costa Rica may be more experienced using some of these approaches. Why? Because their patients can actually afford them, these dentists have more experience using them day to day. Braces similar to the ones created by the student with the 3D printer are a good example of what we are talking about.

The Invisalign® tooth-straightening system is highly popular with patients who travel to Costa Rica to have their teeth straightened. These are a series of a dozen or so nearly invisible “aligners” that cover the teeth. These aligners are carefully designed using 3D CT scan X-rays to assure a precision fit and to encourage exactly the shift in position as planned by the orthodontist. Each aligner is worn in a specific order for a proscribed amount of time, typically several weeks. As each aligner does its job of incrementally shifting the position of the teeth, it is replaced by the next aligner. By the the time the series is completed, the teeth are straightened.

The Invisalign system is also popular because a patient can typically come to Costa Rica, have the aligners custom created and head home with all that they need to straighten their teeth…all for a fraction of the price for Invisalign in the USA and Canada.


So, if you’re looking to get your teeth straightened using Invisalign or traditional braces, fill out the form on this page, and we’ll help you find a qualified dentist or orthodontist in Costa Rica.