How a College Student Saved Thousands of Dollars on Braces With DIY
While there are many pros and cons to getting Invisalign, the biggest deterrent for most is the price. It can cost as much as $5,000, meaning many people with less-than-perfect teeth can't afford to straighten out their pearly whites. Self-professed "broke" undergraduate student Amos Dudley was one such person.
"It's very hard to smile when doing so makes you self conscious about your teeth — every single time. By avoiding smiling, I was dampening my own potential for spontaneous happiness!" he explained on his blog. However, he also admittedly has a unique advantage: he is a digital design student at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Amos has access to a wealth of technology, including 3D printers. When looking closely at a set of plastic braces, he recognized the layered striations from this kind of device. He then began intensive research into the subject. Using Contemporary Orthodontics by William Proffit DDS, PhD, and Gill Daljit's Orthodontics at a Glance, he acquired a basic understanding of orthodontics — enough to make a series of dental molds, which he then used to 3D print dental aligners.
Though he warned his readers to not try such an experiment at home, Amos concluded that his foray into orthodonture was a success. "I was pleased to find, when I put the first one on, that it only seemed to put any noticeable pressure on the teeth that I planned to move — a success!" he declared. "And, most importantly, I feel like I can freely smile again. That's what's most important." Read on to see Amos's impressive before and after shots, then read more about the process on his blog.