Yes, you heard it right – there is such a thing as do-it-yourself teeth straightening and its popularity especially on social media platforms like YouTube has risen over the past years. Even the New York Times cited a young vlogger who has shared several videos on the video sharing platform. It showed how she closed the gap between her teeth using elastic bands. Her feat has earned her instant celebrity status, with many people especially young people watching her videos. Some have even started documenting their DIY teeth straightening journey online.
Orthodontists have taken notice of this trend. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) issued a consumer alert about the alarming trend. In their website, they warn consumers to “please be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with a rubber band, dental floss or other objects ordered on the Internet.”
What is DIY Teeth Straightening?
Based on the AAO’s statement, DIY teeth straightening or more widely DIY orthodontics is the use of self-made non-professional treatments for one’s orthodontic problems. Rather than go to the dentist or an orthodontist, people who do DIY Orthodontics take treatment on their own. The primary reason for this is the high cost of professional orthodontic treatment.
Aside from homemade treatments, however, another trend that is considered by orthodontists as DIY orthodontics is the prevalence of mail-order braces or aligners. Although these braces or aligners may possibly be made by professionals, what is missing in the picture is the all-important visit to the orthodontist to assess what kind of treatment is needed.
The AAO is sounding out the alarm to consumers about the dangers of DIY orthodontics. These are what you as a consumer should remember about this trend.
It Can Cause More Permanent, Irreversible Damage
The NY Times article shared the experience of someone who attempted to use elastic bands to close the gap in his teeth. David Campbell, who is now 47 years old, used rubber bands on his two front teeth when he was young. Unfortunately, the elastic bands got caught under his gums and caused his front teeth to protrude. He ended up having them taken out by age 13. He replaced them with veneers.
Elastic bands, unlike the bands used in braces, are not sterilized and are made of materials that are not appropriate for use inside the mouth. Like what happened to Campbell, they can get stuck and cause inflammation or infection. You will end up losing your teeth which may still be perfectly healthy or can be saved by dental treatments.
It Will Not Save You Money, It May Cost You More
Just because you are not paying big bucks to solve your orthodontic problem, does not mean you are saving money in the long run. If DIY teeth straightening will cause more dental problems, you may end up spending more because treatment will become more complicated and specialized than usual. Remember that orthodontic treatment varies on the level of complexity of the problem.
Teeth straightening is best done under the professional guidance of orthodontists, so it is best you spend more on professional work now, than spend a lot later.
In order to get the best orthodontic care possible, you can take the practical approach and plan how to save up for your and your family’s orthodontic treatment. You can also check our earlier post on ways to save for your professional treatment. It is best to leave your oral and dental health in the hands of professionals.