July 13, 2016
The Internet is an amazing thing. One one hand, it allows for ideas and information to spread across the world at top speed and to reach potentially millions of people. This connection is amazing for letting people stay informed, share their voices and opinions, and learn new and interesting things! But on the other hand, it can also lead to the spread of dangerous ideas.
Remember that Kylie-Jenner-lips shot glass hack (or, well, fail) that made its way across YouTube and Facebook? Hundreds of teenage girls “plumped” their lips to mimic the celebrity’s by sucking the air out of shot glass, causing their lips to swell up. Most saw the trend as a bit silly but mostly harmless. But did you know that repeated attempts can lead to permanent disfiguration? Not worth it. The stakes are even higher when it comes to DIY braces.
What are DIY braces?
Have you seen how-to videos on YouTube for “gap bands”? If you haven’t heard of this “technique”, it’s basically tying pairs of teeth together with rubber bands in order to pull them closer, closing the gap. The practice has been popularized by individuals with zero orthodontic training and absolutely no understanding of how teeth move and how quickly or slowly this should be done. All they have is a pack of rubber bands, a bit of impatience to improve their smile, and a following on social media. However, using gap bands can lead to injury or even permanent loss of teeth – something that is absolutely not worth it.
But when it comes to DIY braces, the possibility of permanent damage is very, very real.
Why do people use DIY braces?
There are several reasons why people attempt DIY braces, all of which are, at their core, understandable feelings. Maybe they think braces are prohibitively expensive and that they couldn’t afford them. Maybe they’re just feeling impatient with a tooth gap and are being picked on at school. Or maybe they really don’t see the danger and figure, why not? Well, there’s a few huge reasons why not!
Are DIY braces safe?
The short answer is: No. Not one iota. DIY braces are not safe. As with many DIY techniques, it might be tempting to want to brush off doctors’ opinions as representing unlikely situations. But when it comes to DIY braces, the possibility of permanent damage is very, very real.
Here’s why DIY braces are not safe:
- There’s zero oversight from a trained orthodontist. Orthodontists typically spend 10 years learning, training, and practicing to become an orthodontist, with 2 to 3 years specifically dedicated to orthodontics. Does that tell you just how much there is to know to safely move teeth?
- Orthodontic movement is very precise. Moving teeth in the wrong paths or just moving them too quickly can cause the roots of teeth to resorb, which means the roots actually dissolve. For good. Not only that, DIY braces can lead to shooting pain, problems with jaw joints, muscle spasms, and clenching problems, just to name a few.
- Teeth can fall out! Not usually a possible consequence with most Pinterest mason jar projects, right? The use of rubber bands was actually one of the earlier methods of tooth extraction in orthodontics. With DIY braces or gap bands, the rubber bands work their way around the roots of the teeth, down below the gums. Big yikes.
- 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. Seriously, it’s not worth it!
DIY braces can lead to shooting pain, problems with jaw joints, muscle spasms, and clenching problems, just to name a few.
The American Association of Orthodontist has even issued a consumer alert warning individuals against DIY braces.
Why you don’t need DIY braces
We know; we’re pretty passionate about the danger of DIY braces! But you may still feel like you and your family can’t afford braces or Invisalign. Did you know that most dental plans cover some of the cost of braces? At Dudley Smiles, we also have several financing options and payment plans. We will work with you to perfect that smile without breaking the bank or risking any damage!