Risk of DIY Braces

DIY Braces

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.

Contact Frost Orthodontics today to learn more about your other options!

What Are DIY Braces?

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.

Drawbacks of DIY Braces

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:

No oversight from a trained orthodontist

Although you might think following the steps from a video you found is enough to get you started on creating DIY braces, you are not receiving the professional time and attention that a highly skilled orthodontist provides when placing braces. Their education and years of experience help them to have a good understanding of not only whether the movement of teeth needs to be done, but to what degree. Also, moving teeth quickly can cause damage to the gums and bones so if you think that DIY braces are a quick, easy way to have straighter teeth, think again!

No intentional, strategic plan behind teeth movement

In the same vein as above, people trying to make braces for themselves fail to really understand how drastic the shift in their teeth can affect their bite, the positioning of their teeth, and other aspects of their mouth’s anatomy. In most cases, if left on too long, DIY braces cause much more harm than good.

Potential for teeth to relapse

Part of the reason orthodontists take their time with shifting teeth around through traditional and clear braces is because the precise movements allow for the teeth to get comfortable in their new places. If too much shifting through DIY braces happens, then teeth may very well move back into place later when the bands come off.

Development of new problems

Yes, your DIY braces can do some serious damage to your health! People who have experimented with DIY braces might experience new problems like clenching their teeth, shooting pain, problems with jaw joints, and muscle spasms, to name a few.

In some extreme cases, permanent tooth loss

If you are following the DIY braces method where a rubber band is placed around a tooth, then tied to other rubber bands to close a gap in teeth, you might find that the tooth root starts to be absorbed back into the body. This can result in you losing a perfectly healthy tooth because the root dissolves.

Alternatives to DIY Braces

If you are exploring options for straightening your teeth, DIY braces should never be a choice. Rather than risk your health and doing serious damage to your smile, explore the options below!

Traditional braces, also called metal braces or just braces, are a common option for people who might have only a little bit of adjusting to do. They are also a good option for patients who want to drastically change their smile or have problems such as an underbite, overbite, crowding teeth, or significant gaps in their teeth. The range of time you might need to have metal braces varies, but you can depend on metal braces to get the smile you want in a time that allows for your teeth to be less likely to shift around later. In fact, a skilled orthodontist like Dr. Frost may also advise you follow a touch up plan and use appliances such as retainers to keep the teeth looking great after your Creve Coeur braces treatment.

Invisalign in Creve Coeur also offers teeth straightening for patients who want a clear solution rather than using metal. Many people are good candidates for Invisalign, but only a trained orthodontist – like Dr. Frost – can provide them.

Is the cost of braces deterring you from improving your smile? Dr. Frost offers financing options to help!

Contact St. Louis Orthodontist Dr. Frost

For help with traditional braces or Invisalign, and to find out what options are best for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment! We look forward to assisting you and providing the best orthodontic care in St. Louis.




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