If you’re looking for ways to save money on home improvements and car repairs, the do-it-yourself mentality can be helpful. However, this approach has its limitations and should never be used to straighten your own teeth or those of your children. DIY orthodontic treatment isn’t safe and can lead to pain and complications that can affect your oral health. Here’s what you should know about the dangers of DIY orthodontics.
Common DIY Orthodontic Methods
There are many different methods people use to try to straighten their own teeth. Some include the use of common household or personal care items such as bobby pins, rubber bands and paper clips. The most popular method is to wrap rubber bands around the teeth to close gaps. Unfortunately, without the expertise and specialized tools an orthodontist has access to, people can create more problems than they solve with DIY methods.
Potential Dangers of DIY Orthodontics
Due to the popularity of do-it-yourself orthodontic videos on YouTube, the American Society of Orthodontists has issued a consumer alert for those who might attempt to try such methods at home. AAO members recently reported in a survey that more than 10% of their patients have experienced problems or irreparable damage from trying DIY methods on their own teeth, including:
- Gum infections
- Cracked tooth enamel
- Choking hazards from the small components of DIY braces, such as rubber bands, beads or earring backs
- Pain and damage to soft tissues
- Toxic exposure to corroded metal from paper clips and other metal items left in the mouth for too long
- Crooked teeth from the rubber bands pulling them in the wrong direction
- Potential long-term pain and other issues from attempting to move the teeth too fast
The incorrect use of rubber bands can also cause teeth to fall out of the mouth completely. Wrapping teeth with rubber bands used to be a successful method for extracting damaged or problem teeth. Practitioners used to rely on this method to help teeth fall out of the mouth safely and with minimal risk of complications. The rubber bands would work their way up and down, slowly damaging the soft tissues and bone until the teeth eventually fell out. Wrapping your own teeth with rubber bands could potentially lead to a similar outcome.
Benefits of Orthodontics
When placed and overseen by a skilled orthodontist, braces and Invisalign can provide precisely the results you want. They are not dangerous and have very low risk of complications. Professional orthodontists straighten teeth at a safe, slow pace instead of a reckless and dangerous fast pace. Teeth-straightening methods have evolved and improved over hundreds of years and are well worth the cost to achieve the seamless, beautiful smile you’ve always wanted.
Schedule Your Consultation
Whether you’re interested in orthodontics for yourself or your children, we’d love to provide you with a free consultation. As part of your appointment, we’ll assess your teeth and provide a tentative treatment plan that will deliver the results you want. To set up your appointment today, call us directly or fill out our online form.