Today, the Internet allows information and ideas to spread at lightning speed and to reach millions, if not billions, of people. This connection is incredible in allowing people to stay informed, share their voice, and learn new things! Unfortunately, it can also lead to the spread of potentially dangerous ideas.
Remember the Kylie-Jenner-lips shot glass hack (or, rather, fail) that made its way across Facebook? Hundreds of teen girls “plumped” their lips by sucking the air out of shot glass, causing their lips to be puffed and swollen. Most see the trend as a bit silly, but mostly harmless. Did you know, however, that repeated attempts can lead to scarring and permanent disfiguration? Our verdict: not worth it.
The stakes are even higher when it comes to DIY (do-it-yourself) braces.
What are DIY Braces?
Have you seen video tutorials for “gap bands,” the supposed teeth-straightening method using rubber hairbands? For those of you who haven’t heard of this “technique,” it’s basically tying pairs of teeth together using rubber bands to pull them closer, closing the gap.
The practice has been popularized by individuals with no orthodontic training or understanding of how teeth move and how quickly (or slowly!) this should be done. All they have is a following on YouTube, a bit of gumption, and a pack of rubber bands. Unfortunately, gap bands can lead to injury and even loss of teeth – something that is absolutely not worth it.
Why Do People Use DIY Braces?
There are many reasons why people attempt DIY braces, all of which are essentially understandable. Perhaps they think braces are too expensive and unaffordable for them. Maybe they’re feeling impatient with a tooth gap and are being teased at school. Or they possibly just don’t see the danger and figure, why not? Well, there are many reasons why not!
Are DIY Braces Safe?
The short answer is an emphatic NO. Not at all. DIY braces are not safe.
In the case of DIY techniques, it might be tempting to brush off doctors’ opinions as representing unlikely situations. However, when it comes to DIY braces, the possibility of permanent damage is very real.
Here’s why DIY braces are not safe:
- There’s no oversight from a trained orthodontist. Orthodontists typically spend about 10 years learning, training, and practicing to become an orthodontist, with 2 to 3 years specifically dedicated to orthodontics, which tells you quite a lot about how much there is to know to safely move teeth!
- Orthodontic movement is very precise. Moving teeth too quickly or within the wrong paths can cause the roots of teeth to resorb, which means the roots can actually dissolve. On top of that, DIY braces can lead to clenching problems, muscle spasms, problems with jaw joints, and shooting pain, to name a few.
- Your teeth can fall out! Yep, not usually a consequence you get from most DIY projects you see on Pinterest, right? However, the use of rubber bands was one of the earlier methods of tooth extraction in orthodontics. With gap bands, aka DIY braces, the rubber bands work their way down below the gums and around the roots of the teeth. We’ll spare you the gory photos of what this looks like, but trust us — it isn’t pretty!
- You risk permanent damage. Even if your teeth don’t actually fall out from DIY braces, the risk of permanent damage to the teeth roots and to the gums is very high.
The American Association of Orthodontist has even issued a consumer alert warning individuals against the practice of DIY braces!
Why You Don’t Need DIY Braces
OK, you get it – DIY braces are a bad idea! What if you still feel like braces or Invisalign are out of reach for you and your family financially, though? Well, most dental plans cover some of the cost of braces, and we have several financing and payment plan options at our Premiere Orthodontics office. We will work with you to make a beautiful smile a reality, and not one that will break the bank!
We also work with the Smiles Change Lives foundation, which provides an avenue to receive orthodontic treatment based upon income and need verification.
In other words: you have options! Before you decide to “do it yourself,” give the pros at Premier Orthodontics a call. Our initial consultation is free, and we will work with you to find a way to afford braces that are safe. We are here to help!