Many people who want straight teeth may think that a quick, easy, and affordable way to do them is through do-it-yourself (DIY) braces. This might come in many forms such as using paper clips or other implements to shape teeth into place. However, did you know that this trend is not only harmful to your teeth, but can actually cause damage that costs even more money than if you would have opted for braces in the first place.
The DIY braces trend is so prevalent that skilled professionals are taking notice. According to The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), 13% of its member orthodontists have recently seen patients who attempted DIY teeth straightening.
Whether you’ve considered DIY braces for yourself or have heard a family member or friend say they want to give this a try, dental professionals strongly advise against going this route to forgo the cost and process associated with traditional metal or clear braces.
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Do-it-yourself (DIY) braces are exactly what they sound like: braces that someone who is not a dental professional has decided to apply to their own teeth. DIY braces can come in many forms, such as using “gap bands” (rubber hair bands) tied together to pull teeth closer, closing a gap between them. A band is often put around one tooth, tied to other bands, and then the end is secured on another tooth to help encourage them to move closer together.
How are people learning about DIY braces? Usually they might find video tutorials online describing how others have done this themselves and follow the same steps.
Sometimes people trying out DIY braces might use other combinations of items you might typically expect to see in an office supply store, not in someone’s mouth. Items such as glue and paper clips have also been used in DIY braces tutorials. Earring backs are commonly used in place of braces brackets to hold the paper clip in place.
A more advanced take on DIY braces that has emerged over the years involves 3D printing. At least one well-known DIY braces creator has used 3D printing technology to create his own braces using impressions he made and plastic molds to shift his teeth over time. While many have praised him for taking on this project, orthodontists still see this as a risky and potentially costly endeavor people should not try at home, no matter how sophisticated their hardware.
Typically, those attempting to do DIY braces are teens and young adults who think they can just follow the steps to a straighter smile, or perhaps they want the appearance of braces simply because it looks cool. Whatever the case, orthodontists do not support this practice not only because it can be dangerous, but it can lead to permanent damage.
Aside from the fact that braces you made at home fail to follow recommended guidelines and use questionable materials, there are a number of other disadvantages such as: