Many teenagers consider getting braces a rite of passage into adulthood. There have been some great technological advancements in orthodontics over the past decade that has made treatment times much faster along with treatment being less painful and intrusive. This technology, in conjunction with the expertise of qualified orthodontists, is naturally very advanced considering that moving teeth and their roots into a different position is a very complicated procedure.
One online trend that has almost gone viral is DIY braces, where teenagers on YouTube claim to be able to move their teeth using common objects like rubber bands, floss, fishing line, and even paper clips. Like many other Vloggers on YouTube, the creators of these videos aren’t concerned with the health and wellbeing of their audience, they’re just looking for quick and easy likes to enhance their online status.
What are DIY braces?
DIY braces are essentially fake news where Vloggers claim to use common household items to move teeth into a different position or to close gaps between teeth. As teenagers are both vulnerable and self-conscious, many of them are copying the Vloggers and using items such as rubber bands, earring backs, and fishing lineas DIY orthodontic treatment. These DIY orthodontic treatments are extremely harmful and can have disastrous consequences, such as infection, increasing the likelihood of gum disease, and tooth loss.
Most of the creators of these YouTube videos instruct their audience to continue treatment for a couple of weeks (typically tying rubber bands around the teeth they wish to move) and advising that there will be “a lot of pain to begin with, but don’t give up because the results are totally worth it”. Unfortunately, this initial pain will only be the beginning as permanent tooth and root damage is likely to occur. In another example, an American university student gives a presentation on how to make DIY plastic aligners with a 3D printer (similar to Invisalign) that claims to straighten teeth.
How the teeth straightening process actually works
Straightening teeth is a time-consuming process where braces align the upper and lower teeth to reduce the pressure on the jaw. Normally, braces are required for at least six months and the procedure is performed by a qualified orthodontist with many years of study, training, and experience in this field. Braces slowly and cautiously move teeth and their roots into the desired position by adding pressure to the teeth and activating the ‘bone remodelling’ process. After braces come off, patients are required to wear a retainer during the night to ensure their teeth don’t relapse into their old position.
What are the effects of DIY braces?
In some cases, teenagers have tried to straighten their teeth using DIY braces and have damaged their teeth and gums so badly that they’ve lost a tooth. The ligaments that attach your teeth to the bone begin to break when using DIY braces, and depending on the amount of pressure applied, can cause irreversible damage. Loosing a tooth in your teenage years is an expense that equates to more than tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
Other negative effects that DIY braces can cause include damaging your tooth enamel which can lead to sensitivity and even cavities in later years. Those who try to use paper clips to move their teeth can easily cut their gums which can lead to infection and other serious health problems once the bacteria from the paper clips enters their bloodstream. It’s clear that everyone who tries DIY braces won’t have much to smile about in the end.
How to make braces affordable?
Even though braces aren’t cheap, most orthodontists offer patients a payment plan over a couple of years which makes the procedure far more affordable. In addition, depending on type of health insurance you have, you may be able to claim a significant percentage of this money from your health insurance provider. In any case, DIY braces tend to cost a lot more than braces over time when accounting for the damage they will cause.
Clear Smile Orthodontics on the Gold Coast have a range of advanced teeth straightening treatment options available to patients at affordable prices. They also offer all new patients a free initial consultation to discuss what treatment options would be best suited for their individual circumstances. For more information or to schedule an appointment, phone their staff on 07 5593 3733.