Are Do-It-Yourself Braces (DIY Braces) Safe?
By Dr. Tyler Coles – Premier Orthodontics
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In this digital era, the internet has become the primary source of information and ideas…
…and some of these ideas are not too smart.
Remember the Tide Pod Challenge?
Yup, eating a Tide Pod just to get a few YouTube views.
How about the Kylie Jenner challenge where young teenage girls suction cupped their lips with a shot glass trying to create “pouty lips”.
Most just ended up causing serious bruising of their lips and cheeks. (There are plenty of fail videos to be found)
In the spectrum of not-so-smart ideas that can be found on the internet—DIY braces are up there.
What Are DIY Braces?
There have been a few cases of DIY braces that have made the news and are making the rounds on social media. One young college student in New Jersey made his own “DIY Invisalign” by printing out tooth models and making plastic aligners similar to Invisalign.
Several YouTubers have demonstrated how to use rubber bands (normally used for your hair) and place them around the teeth in an attempt to close gaps.
(Check out the image below to see what happens when this goes wrong!)
Some of the most shocking stories of DIY braces can be found online by individuals in the Philippines who attempted to glue braces on their teeth using super glue, rubber bands, and other household materials.
Want to see the results of DIY Braces?
Click the link below to see the shocking images. (Warning: Graphic Images)
Are DIY Braces Safe?
Orthodontists go to school for about 10-12 years before they are to move teeth with braces. (That’s 4 years of college, 4 years of dental school, and 2-3 years of orthodontic specialty training)
College design students, YouTubers, or anyone else you find on the internet simply don’t have a complete understanding of how teeth move and how to do it safely.
Moving teeth is a complicated process and if done incorrectly, it can cause permanent damage. If too much force is used on a tooth you may actually pull the tooth out of the jaw bone rather than move it through the jaw bone!
Additionally, rubber bands placed around the teeth can travel down beneath the gums and will slowly dissolve the bone around the teeth. Check out the video below to see the NBC report of a young man who lost his teeth due to rubber bands getting lodged beneath the gums.
What About the Mail-Order Aligner Companies?
You may have seen advertisements on TV, YouTube, or on Social Media for mail-order aligner companies. These companies, (such as Smile Direct Club, Candid, byte, and several others) sell ultra-cheap at-home aligner treatment without needing to see a doctor.
While these companies may sound convenient and seem like a step up from other DIY options…
…at-home aligners are not without their dangers.
Attempting to move teeth without a doctor overseeing the treatment can be risky. If you’re being treated by an orthodontist, any issues that may arise can be spotted early and dealt with before they turn into bigger problems.
A quick Google search will find hundreds or even thousands of DIY at-home aligner horror stories. These are individuals who tried to bypass a doctor and do it themselves.
Many using the at-home aligner options have reported….
- Bad treatment results (some had worse teeth than when their started)
- Bites that cause TMJ jaw pain
- Gum disease that got worse after treatment
Thousands of patients who tried to use at-home aligners have had to go see an orthodontist to fix the mistakes and unfortunately ended up paying for it twice!
Orthodontists and many dental state boards agree that attempting at-home orthodontic treatment…
…either with mail-order aligners or with DIY braces…
…is simply not safe and not worth the risk.
What Are My Options Besides DIY Braces?
We get it — braces and Invisalign aren’t cheap. But at no point should you allow the cost of treatment prompt you to take orthodontic care into your own hands.
Remember that the potential cost of complications caused by DIY Braces and mail-order aligner companies will likely end up costing more to fix the problems than it would cost to do it right the first time.
If the cost of orthodontic care feels like it may be too much for you or your family, we recommend getting a free consultation with your local orthodontic office to learn more about your financing options.
Some of these financing options may include:
- Orthodontic insurance
- Interest-free payment plans
- Family discounts
- Low income programs such as Smiles Change Lives
There’s no doubt about it; quality orthodontic treatment isn’t cheap. But by closely examining your monthly expenses…
…and by taking advantage of the different financing options available…
…nearly anyone can comfortably afford the cost of braces with an orthodontist and avoid a DIY nightmare!
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