Dr. Greg Jorgensen
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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.

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

  1. Phoebe says:

    I have a teeth gap and I don’t know what do to on how to fix my teeth gap. Braces? Or Orthofill Bands? They say bands are better than braces.

    • I would NEVER, EVER recommend trying to straighten your teeth yourself. Using rubber bands between your teeth without supervision can lead to irreversible problems including tooth loss. Don’t even think about it!!!

  2. MeMe says:

    Hello Dr.,

    You stated, “The front teeth will move forward and outward.” Are you attempting to suggest here that the Six Month Smiles treatment will CAUSE an overbite?

    • If you have teeth that are overlapping and you merely line the up, yes, they will move forward. In some patients that is good. In others it creates too much overbite.

      • KK says:

        I concur with the doctor on this one. I was horribly misled by my practitioner, and have had a terrible experience with six month smiles. I was never told my teeth would move forward, my dentist carefully said my teeth would move to the wire. I, however, made it very clear that I already had somewhat of an overbite and whatever they did was not supposed to make my overbite worse. Guess what. It’s horrible. I’m disgusted by the false advertising, the lack of training and the lack of divuging said training or lack thereof and I am 100% dissatisfied with my results.
        None of the most important details were divulged until I had signed numerous contracts and they had their money in their hands. During my treatment I complained about what I could tell was an expanding overbite and she Shrugged me off she said it would be okay. In the end when it wasn’t okay she shrugged me off again and simply took the braces off.

        I am looking at other options and wondering if this orthodontist can recommend practitioners of real orthodontia in Wisconsin near Madison, someone who might be able to correct the damage she did

        • Dear KK. Thank you for sharing your experience. This experience is all to common. Becoming an orthodontist (a specialist) takes 24 to 36 months. Becoming a provider of Six Month Smiles takes 2 days. There is not way to train non-specialists in that short of a time. Your best bet is to seek out an orthodontic specialist who was trained in a two-year program. A good place to start is the AAO website as all doctors listed there are certified specialists. https://www1.mylifemysmile.org/

          Good luck!

          • MB says:

            I have had six month smiles fitted for just over 3 months for mild croooked top teeth and moderate crooked bottom – my dentist is an orthodontist with 20 years experience – the results are amazing – so much so that I am having them removed tomorrow ! I have been wearing bands to correct my bite and I am extremely happy ! I don’t think you can say that only ‘dentists’ fit these ! KR

          • I am glad that you are happy with your treatment results. Generally speaking, “orthodontists” don’t use Six Month Smiles as they can to the same work themselves without paying a lab to put all of the braces on the models for them. Please understand that there is a difference between an orthodontist and a dentist who does orthodontics. The way that dentists who do orthodontists market themselves and their services to the public has blurred the lines and confused a lot of people.

  3. Helena says:

    Dr.Jorgensen, You are saying that the front teeth will move forward in 6 months smile. But my front teeth is forward which is out of the alignment. I want them to be pushed backward to be in the alignment. Will 6 months smile not be the right treatment? What would you suggest?

    • Aligning teeth that are crowded and crooked ALWAYS makes them move forward. In order to keep them from moving forward, you either need pre-existing spaces between the teeth that can be closed or you need to create some space (either changing the size of the teeth or removing some). If your teeth are already protrusive, I think you’ll be very disappointed with the results of short-term orthodontics of any kind. Why trust your smile to anyone but a specialist (a real orthodontist)?

      • Connie Menard says:

        My general dentist suggests 6 month smile and I wanted invisalign and I have a $500 coupon off and Dr said invisalign and 6 month smile are both $3500 should I see a orthodontist it might be more than $3500?

  4. Greta says:

    Hi…I am 45 and have never had braces. I don’t think anyone has mentioned what I don’t like about my teeth. They are pretty much straight and I think uncrowded but they tilt in. I personally like the look of slightly flared or pushed out teeth as opposed to inward like mine. So you could understand why 6 months braces would sound appealing to me if it would do that. I must have an overbite since my uppers rest over my lowers. If I just want my smile to look better by having my top teeth “pushed out” is it even possible and by which means? Years ago my mom had Invisalign for this and I can’t tell that there is a difference.

    • The biggest difference between braces from a real orthodontist and a dentist who offers 6 month braces is training and experience. An orthodontist is a specialist with 24 to 36 months of additional training while a 6 month braces provider had a two-day course. With whom do you feel most comfortable trusting your smile and bite?

  5. Jeffery says:

    I have three gaps in my front teeth im missing the two small teeth between my fangs and big first two teeth,do you think six months smiles would be beneficial to me dr.?

    • My professional advice is to trust your smile to a specialist who does nothing but straighten teeth. I would have only an orthodontist treat me and my family and would not allow a dentist with one two-day course to work on me or my kids.

  6. Debbie says:

    Hi I was just wordering if I can have some advice please. I had cfast braces for about 5 months and since having them off I’ve noticed my I have more of an overbite and it looks as thought my teeth slant to the side. Could this be from the braces? Thanks in advance

  7. This sounds VERY optimistic. I would recommend that you be evaluated by an orthodontist (an orthodontic specialist, not a dentist who does braces). It sounds like you have a real orthodontic problem that should be addressed by someone with more training and experience.

  8. Dental manager says:

    Hi i have been a dental assistant and practice manager for just over 15 years.
    I worked at practices where cfast and fastbraces at general dentists are done for approx what has been already mentioned in commments of $4000(1arch) or $6000-$8000 (2arches) with dentists of diferent skills and natural abilities n talent in the area of ortho. General dentists CAN place and do simple cases of orthodontics as it is covered at uni. Much like they can treat your tooth for root canal or refer you to a root canal specialist. The difference lies in the dentist knowing their limmitations and abilities without compromising the patients for the sake of profit.
    I can say that i agree that the experience and confidence of the treating dentist if you choose to save a few dollars…then do tour homework, ask the questions, ask to see their real live cases they have succeeded in an if possible ask them to show you a case they have done thats similar to yours (as they are all anterior teeth)
    Look for certification, additional certificates, and look at the body language of the staff too, ask your dentist when they would recommend to see a specialist?
    They know what goes on and how other cases have ACTUALLY TURNED OUT!
    Ive seen many successful cases and happy clients, with the RIGHT dentist, but have also seen some who had other complicating factors that where best off in the hands of specialists.
    If cost is the bottomline why you choose to have a general dentist do cfast or facebraces or any other fast method over going to an orthodontist, then at least have a consult with both for you to be well informed of what you are getting for your money and what is covered at each visit.
    The difference of approx $1000 between dentist and specalist can turn into a mightmare cost and lifetime damage. Pag the consult fee with both, & make a choice.

    Iwhen it came to me making the same decision with my daughter, i did the same, and although she could have had CFast, i chose an orthodontist for her treatment as half the treatment is also patient compliance and an orthodontist has the tools, additional knowledge & most of all experience by doing these procedures day in and day out…
    Nowadays, most orthodontists do payment plans. So make an informed decision.

  9. Sarah W says:

    hi wondering if I could ask your opinion please. I recently decided to get information on six months braces to see if I was able to get them. I attended two dentist/orthodontists to get two opinions as they are my teeth after all but was shocked at the different answers. Basically my teeth have a overbite and my two front teeth tend to turnside ways with a gap in the middle and I wanted to straight them and not have a gap.

    The first practice told me that they would recommend 6 months braces but that tooth shaving would need to be done to make space, that braces would be needed top and bottom, also that my bottom teeth would be brought down and that my front teeth would be brought back and into a straight view of six front teeth.

    The second practice told me that I only need top braces for six months braces and that they could get my two front teeth straight and fill the gap when it’s finished with bonding I believe it’s called (the white coloured paste).

    I’m just wondering is tooth shaving a risky decision or is just putting tooth bonding in a lazy way out or which would you say in your opinion is best or recommendable.

    Any comments at all would help as I’m so confused and don’t what too make the wrong choice many thanks in advance Sarah

    • Sarah. You only have one set of teeth. Please go see an orthodontic specialist (an orthodontist) to get the best diagnosis and treatment plan. Short-term orthodontics is a short-cut that doesn’t give you the same result as orthodontic treatment provided by a specialist. Don’t risk messing up your only set of teeth

  10. Gwen says:

    Hi I’ve just brought my daughter who is 11 to my dentist who I’ve been going to for years and have had no problem, she has overcrowding ans he has advised fast track braces he has said that her back teeth are perfect what would you think

    • Your daughter has only one set of teeth. Why trust them to anyone other than a specialist who is the most qualified to treat her? By the way, there is no such thing as “fast track braces.” If there was a faster way of obtaining good results, don’t you think specialists would already be using it?

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