Dr. Greg Jorgensen
(505) 891-9440
1401 Barbara Loop SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

The Jorgensen Orthodontics Blog

Does the Six Month Smiles Orthodontic Treatment Actually Work?

Posted by Dr. Jorgensen on December 27th, 2011

Calendar PagesIt seems we all want everything faster and cheaper. This is true in electronics, in retail, and even in medicine and dentistry. Recently, a company called Six Month Smiles arrived on the dental scene promising orthodontic treatment that is shorter and less expensive. What is it and does it really work?

Six Month Smiles is literally a “braces in a box” kit provided to general dentists with all of the parts included. To become a Six Month Smiles provider, a dentist merely pays a fee and attends a two-day seminar. After only two days of training, he can then submit models and begin providing treatment immediately. Within a couple of weeks, the newly trained dentist receives a kit that contains the braces (which have been positioned on the models by technicians at the Six Month Smiles facility), the wires, the o-rings, and even the adhesive needed to attach the braces to the teeth. At the “braces on” appointment, the brackets are placed using mouthpieces provided by the company and the wires are installed. Patients are then sent away and tooth movement begins.

Can the Six Month Smiles system actually move teeth? Yes, it can. Can it make the front teeth look better? Yes, it can. Is it a substitute for regular braces? In some cases it might be. So what are the pros and cons of Six Month Smiles treatment and is it the right treatment for my teeth?

First of all, I need to reveal my bias. I am a board-certified orthodontist with 20 years experience treating the most difficult cases. The Six Month Smiles company does not market to me. They market their service primarily to general dentists who want to add orthodontic services to their practices. I have not taken the Six Month Smile certification course, but I have studied their system and talked to dentists and patients in my community who have used it. More importantly, I have been providing orthodontic treatment for 15 years longer than the Six Month Smiles company has even existed.

Six Month Smiles treatment, just one example of “short term orthodontics,” can straighten crooked teeth. The best cases for such limited treatment are patients with a great bite in the back, mild alignment problems in the front, and either mild crowding or slight spacing between the teeth. The main movement patients will experience after braces are glued to the teeth and the flexible wires inserted is expansion. The front teeth will move forward and outward. If the bite is good in the back and the crowding or spacing is mild, the amount of expansion will be minimal and may actually be beneficial in some patients.

The cases in which “prefabricated” braces will be the least successful are the seemingly simple ones where there is an undetected bite problem, where the upper front teeth do not overlap the lower front ones very much, or patients whose front teeth should not be flared any further. Most of the patients that I have re-treated after their Six Month Smiles experience were unsatisfied because of how flared their front teeth appeared and how their bites felt worse following treatment. Short term orthodontic treatment generally focuses on the front teeth and does not concern itself with how the upper and lower arches come together.

Braces are just a tool. They can move teeth only as well as the doctor using them. Just because the Six Month Smiles company puts the brackets on the models for the dentists who have attended its seminar does not mean that these doctors suddenly know anything more about diagnosis and treatment planning than they did before. Getting braces on the teeth is only the beginning. Knowing what to do at subsequent appointments and how to finish treatment is even more important. Just because I can buy a set of power tools from Sears does not mean that I’m any more of a carpenter afterwards than I was before.

In no way am I trying to suggest that orthodontists are smarter than dentists. There are some dentists who can straighten teeth with the best of us, and some of them are doing so using the Six Month Smile system. The key to the results you’ll receive from any treatment lies in the training, experience, and talent of the doctor providing it.

NOTE: The author, Dr. Greg Jorgensen, is a board-certified orthodontist who is in the private practice of orthodontics in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (a suburb on the westside of Albuquerque). He was trained at BYU, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Iowa in the United States. Dr. Jorgensen’s 25 years of specialty practice and 10,000 finished cases qualify him an expert in two-phase treatment, extraction and non-extraction therapy, functional orthodontics, clear aligners (Invisalign), and multiple bracket systems (including conventional braces, Damon and other self-ligating brackets, Suresmile, and lingual braces). This blog for informational purposes only and is designed to help consumers understand currently accepted orthodontic concepts. It is not a venue for debating alternative treatment theories. Dr. Jorgensen is licensed to diagnose and treat patients only in the state of New Mexico. He cannot diagnose cases described in comments nor can he select treatment plans for readers. Because he has over 25,000 readers each month, it is impossible for him respond to all questions. Please read all of the comments associated with each article as most of the questions he receives each week have been asked and answered previously. The opinions expressed here are protected by copyright laws and can only be used with written permission from the author.

104 comments so far in response to “Does the Six Month Smiles Orthodontic Treatment Actually Work?”

  1. Emma says:

    I realise this was posted ages ago, but I’ve just signed up for the 6 month smile treatment and now I’m not sure if I should cancel.
    I had braces as a teen, but failed to wear my retainer (because I was a teenaged moron). My two front teeth now overlap and I’d really like them straightened out. Do you think the six month option would work?
    Thank you for your time,
    Emma

    • I cannot make that choice for you Emma. Reread my articles and what you’ll see is that the most important thing is the training and experience of the doctor involved. Would you trust your nose-job to a person with a weekend course in plastic surgery?

  2. Shakia says:

    I’m supposed to get my 6 month smiles placed this saturday… I’m having second thoughts but I’ve already paid for the braces themselves and they’ve come back. I have a space where a tooth was pulled on my lower back right side. I don’t like the idea that they only treat the teeth that can be seen. I was thinking that maybe they could move my teeth into a better position and maybe move my wisdon tooth forward instead of doing an implant. I have all of my wisdom teeth and I suffered from a broken lower left madible. I’m just confused.

    • Dentists providing short-term orthodontics really are only concerned about the front teeth and they should have let you know this up front. There is no way to close a molar space in six months. It sounds like you have problems throughout your mouth and would be better served by seeing a specialist. You may lose some money because you agreed to let them have the lab work done, but it may be best to cut your losses and see a real orthodontist. You only get one set of teeth!

  3. Lydia says:

    Hi
    I have one overlapping tooth and one slightly twisted tooth both on my top jaw. I have previously asked about braces with my dentist but they said it would not be on the NHS, I understand but as a college student I am I unable to afford £2500 worth of braces and my mum and dad can’t either, I feel self conscious Everytime I smile which upsets me because it never used to be that way, especially because all my friends now have straight teeth. What would you recommend as the best treatment because I really want to have straight teeth so I can smile again!

    • Orthodontic treatment is an investment in your future. I would recommend that you find an orthodontist who will work with you by allowing you to make payments over time. You only have one set of teeth. Do this right the first time.

  4. Barbara Garrett says:

    My 2 front teeth jut out in front like a beaver and there is crowding. It’s becoming difficult to close my lips around my front teeth which also causes a poor profile. Is 6-month smile right for me? I have also been checking into fast braces. I am an older adult and need to make a decision.

    • As a specialist I would recommend that you see a specialist who has more training and experience than most of the dentists who are offering short-term orthodontics after only a weekend course.

  5. Clare says:

    Like a few of the posters above, I also regret getting Six Month Smiles braces and wish I’d seen your article before I did. I ended up wearing them for 16 months and they came off this week. Both arches are noticably flared forward and when I smile close-mouthed I can feel my upper front teeth exerting more pressure on my lips than pre-braces. My teeth look longer and rabbit-like and I’m now even more reluctant to smile than I was pre-treatment.

    I’m not keen on embarking on another course of orthodontic treatment to fix the flare so I don’t know what to do other than remain self-conscious about my smile. I’m seeing my dentist again next week and I don’t know what to say. I regret it all so much.

    I also noticed that my lower cheeks lost a lot of volume during treatment and I developed jowls and lines around my mouth. Do you know how my treatment could’ve caused these facial changes? Could it be narrowed arches? I’m 32 and prior to braces I looked 5-10 years younger. I now look older and haggard, many people have commented that I must have lost weight but I haven’t lost a pound. My dentist denied the treatment could alter my face but I can’t see any other reason for the sudden changes.

    • I’m sorry that you had to go through this. The only thing I can think of that can cause these changes might be that pushing your lips forward made your cheeks look more “hollow.” There is only so much flesh in that area. Orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning is complex. That is why it can’t be taught in a two-day course. I hope you find a solution to your dilemma.

  6. ash says:

    I have had the six month smiles and all the treatment that goes with it and the result even after wearing them for nearly two years I have top and bottom braces by a normal dentist and THEY DO NOT WORK MY TEETH ARE NOT 100 PER CENT STRAIGHT – they have moved slightly and are better than before but no way fully straight. My brother went to an ORTHODONTIST as he had them on the nhs and his is 100 percent straight he had the metal train track braces if I could go back I would 150% go to AN ORTHODONTIST and they are the braces specialist with an extra 3 years of training after being a dentist and do braces every day and the metal train tracks are better at least they do the job and you have a beautiful cosmetic smile and bite. The worst regret of my life I am now considering paying again and going to an orthodontist so in total my braces will cost me over 6000 I wish I went to an orthodontist first and paid 3500!!!!

    • Hi ash. Sorry to hear you’ve had to go through this. The biggest difference as you now know is the level of training and experience. I may be able to buy all of the same tools a real carpenter uses to build you a home, but without the training and experience of a carpenter, my results will take longer and be inferior. I hope you can eventually get the smile you want.

Leave a Comment

Back to Top

Your account login
Your rewards
Schedule an appointment with our talented orthodontist online