Dangers of DIY Orthodontics

There is nothing better than the feeling of accomplishing a successful DIY project. Whether you have refinished your floors, painted your house, or built you own bookshelf, DIY projects tap into our desire to use our own hands, and of course do it all with little or no expense.  Nowadays, there is a Pinterest or Youtube tutorial for just about any task on the planet! DIY orthodontics is a perfect example of collective creativity gone too far. Here at Shaw Orthodontics we take your oral and overall body health to heart. Each patient considering braces or other orthodontic treatment is guaranteed our team will go above and beyond to give top quality care and compassion. It is important to remember that you are in trusted hands when you visit us, as opposed to the trend of DIY braces that have no experience or skill behind them!

What Exactly Are DIY Orthodontics?

Children and teens attempting to straighten their teeth using DIY methods like rubber bands, paper clips, bobby pins, and even aluminum foil are racking up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. There has been so much attention online about these that the American Association of Orthodontists felt compelled to issue a consumer alert, which stated that moving teeth is a medical procedure and must have personal supervision by an orthodontist, and to please be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss, or other objects found or ordered on the Internet. A survey among American Association of Orthodontists members showed that nearly 13% of its members are seeing patients who have tried DIY methods, with some attempts causing irreparable damage.

Rubber bands, or gap bands as they are advertised online, are the most popular method of DIY orthodontics. These bands are used in an attempt to close gaps and straighten teeth. These are nothing more than typical, clear hair elastics. After wrapping these elastics around your misaligned teeth for an indeterminate amount of time, gaps will supposedly close and your bite will be straightened. These DIY sites claim you will see results in as little as 45 days. Considering a small package of hair elastics costs you around $5, we can understand the attraction to this cheap and easy option, especially knowing about all that goes into having braces put on by an actual orthodontist. But like most things in life, you definitely get what you pay for!

Doing financial work

Dangerous DIY Orthodontics

The use of elastics is not a new phenomenon when it comes to dentistry and orthodontics. Back in the olden days, a practitioner might have extracted a problem tooth by placing a rubber band around it. The rubber band would destroy the bone and soft tissues by working its way up or down the sides of the tooth’s roots until it simply fell out. Yikes! But even at that time, it was still done under supervision.

The potential for truly disastrous results is the biggest risk of gap bands.  It is very easy for a rubber band to slide into the soft tissues of the gum, because the shape of one’s teeth varies so greatly. The band becomes difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve on your own once it has become embedded. It will continue along its path into the roots and causing nerve damage until it is treated. This process leads to the teeth beginning to extrude, followed by the crowns fanning out as the roots are pulled together, and finally the teeth get to the point of becoming so loose that they eventually fall out.

These are not the only risks of using DIY braces. You can also end up with a crooked smile due to the teeth being moved at the wrong angle. The bands can cause pain and laceration due to sinking into of soft tissue. Moving the teeth too quickly can cause pain and long term issues. The makeshift brackets are made of earring backs, beads, and small bands that are choking hazards. Leaving paper clips in your mouth for a long time can lead to toxic shock from the metal. Enamel can crack from the snapping of bands on to teeth. You could need a tooth extraction from your gums becoming infected. Complex and expensive dental procedures are required to fix the the repair and replacement of any missing teeth or bone due to gap bands and other ill-advised DIY methods for straightening teeth. An experienced orthodontist like Dr. Shaw knows the importance of moving teeth slowly and over a longer period of time. This is the only way to ensure the health of the entire mouth, and to preserve the integrity of the eventual results.

Woman having braces checked

No Shortcuts

Creating the perfect smile is like creating a work of art. Neither are quick, easy, or inexpensive. Having an expertise in orthodontics requires education, training, and skill in the physics of moving teeth. Shifting teeth is a biological process that involves bone dissolving and rebuilding as the teeth move into their new positions. Many people do not understand that it is much more complicated than simply encouraging teeth to move closer together to close a gap or straighten a smile. To have it done right, first an in-person consultation with an orthodontist like Dr. Shaw needs to happen where a complete diagnostic assessment is done. Then during treatment, you are under the supervision of a highly skilled and caring professional, not a Youtube vlogger!

At Shaw Orthodontics we pride ourselves on making it as easy as possible for everyone we see to achieve a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. Our team will work with you to create a payment plan that fits your budget and can offer various options depending on your individual needs and treatment. We will always discuss cost with you first, before we begin treatment. Do not trust your smile to a confidence man with a Youtube channel, because affordable orthodontics are available right here at Shaw Orthodontics! If you are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, call or stop by our Rockwall office to find out how we can get you on the road to a straighter and healthier, but most importantly, safer smile!