June 25, 2020

Legit vs DIY Braces: 5 Differences That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

DIY invisible braces are really dangerous. But do you know how to tell them apart from the legit ones when you see them on Instagram?

Legit vs DIY Braces: 5 Differences That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Ever thought about straightening your teeth, but held back because you had no idea how to tell the difference between the legit invisible braces and dodgy DIY ones?

Keep reading, because this post will tell you everything you need to know.

Recently, Zenyum worked with Daily Poll to find out what exactly you think about teeth straightening, cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening and just oral health in general.

As it turns out a whopping 45.4% of you agree that DIY braces are the most dangerous beauty hack (Yes - it’s even more messed up than Wasabi on acne).  

Source: Daily Poll

Well, that made us wonder…

“How many of the 45.4% actually know how to tell the difference between a dodgy DIY invisible braces seller and a legit one???”

Whichever way we looked at it, the answer was…


The good news is that it’s EASY to tell if a pair of invisible braces is DIY by asking these 5 questions.

1. Do they perform X-Rays for you?

X-Rays help the dentist identify any problems under the gums before straightening your teeth with invisible braces. These clear braces by the way, are a series of custom-made, tight-fitting mouthpieces that slip over the teeth.

Not-so-fun-fact: If you straighten your teeth without thoroughly examining them for underlying conditions like periodontal disease, you’ll aggravate the condition, potentially leading to tooth-loss.

Yup. Instead of crooked teeth, you now have NO TEETH. (And well, 34.3% of Circles.Life users polled on Daily Poll stated that losing all their teeth was their biggest fear.)

Source: Daily Poll

Takeaway: If your braces seller does not offer you X-rays, it’s most likely a dodgy DIY braces brand. Stick to a licensed seller like Zenyum which provides you with X-rays before treatment.

2. Does a local, licensed dentist see you in person?

Many DIY braces sellers completely cut out in-person visits to dentists and orthodontists throughout the screening and treatment process.

This is bad news for your teeth, because only a thorough screening done in-person by a licensed dentist or orthodontist can tell if you’re suitable for invisible braces.

Legit providers like Zenyum work closely with local dental partners to screen candidates before treatment :

- You take an online smile assessment where our team assesses your teeth condition

- Then you visit one of our dental partners for a consultation, scan and X-ray

- Once your treatment’s approved, you go for a fitting to make sure your Zenyum invisible braces fit perfectly.

Takeaway: If your seller just mails you your braces without ever letting you step into a local, licensed dentist clinic, it’s very likely a DIY braces brand that will leave you high and dry if anything goes wrong during treatment. With Zenyum, you’ll get thorough in-person dental consultations PLUS dedicated customer care via the Zenyum app.

3. Do they perform IPR?

Just so you know, interproximal reduction (IPR) involves carefully removing small amounts of enamel from between your teeth to reduce their width. This is sometimes necessary to create the space needed for straightening crowded teeth.

In other words, IPR is typically required before wearing invisible braces.

And guess what? Most DIY braces do not provide IPR at all! So what happens if your teeth are more prone to overcrowding (as is the case for most Asians) and you skip IPR?

Not the duckface we're talking about, trust us - it ain't cute. Source

It can lead to heavy bimax and terrible profiles in Asian jaws (aka ‘duckface’).

Takeaway: If your clear aligners seller does not provide IPR, they’re most likely a DIY braces seller. Opt for a licensed provider like Zenyum that specialises in invisible braces for Asian teeth conditions.

4. Do they operate from a co-working space?

We’ve noticed several DIY braces direct you to a co-working space for a consultation and a 3D scan of your teeth.

Often, the person taking your scan is not a trained dentist or nurse. They’re employed to do a 3D scan for you, show you a fancy computer model of your teeth, and close you on the sale.

There’s also the issue of hygiene standards. Clinics in Singapore have strict sterilization procedures for a reason.

We’re talking multiple rounds - including, a final round of steam sterilisation to remove bacterial spores. That means they need to be equipped to handle all that sterilization in the first place.

So if your DIY clear aligners seller plays with dental scanning equipment out of a co-working space, ask yourself…

“How and where do they sterilise everything like a proper clinic does??? In the microwave??? Or the hot desk???”

5. Do they use putty impression kits?

In place of a professional 3D scan and X-Ray which looks at your teeth condition, bone, and gum health, most DIY braces providers simply give you a putty-impression kit to use at home.

That’s where oh-so-many things can go wrong.

  1. At-home impression kits typically come with two types of putty, which you have to mix yourself. And once you start the process, the putties start to harden.

    That means you only have one minute to:
  2. Properly mix the putty
  3. Place it in the tray
  4. And then into your mouth (before it starts to harden)
  5. You need to keep the tray steady while waiting for the putty to harden around your teeth. Fail to do so, and you can end up with a double imprint of your teeth and gums or a distortion of the shape and length of your teeth.

Which means your invisible braces aren’t going to fit over your actual teeth.


Sorry no cure though. Source

As you can see, simply giving you a DIY impression kit is not reliable at all (not to mention, highly risky).

Takeaway: If your seller gives you an at-home putty impression kit, there’s a high chance it’s a DIY invisible braces seller.

Source: Daily Poll

Getting a straight, beautiful celebrity smile, that makes you feel more like Dwayne the Rock Johnson (ahem, voted the celebrity with the nicest smile on Daily Poll), doesn't have to be risky and unaffordable.

Ask these 5 simple questions and you’ll quickly figure out who’s a legit player who cares for your teeth (and megawatt smile), and who doesn’t. Start your journey to a straighter smile by sticking to legit invisible braces like Zenyum.

This article was contributed by V K Sanjeed from Zenyum, a partner of Daily Poll by Circles.Life.