DIY braces have become “trendy” after several teenagers and college students posted YouTube videos making claims that they’ve straightened their teeth on their own. Sounds tempting if you’re considering braces because orthodontic treatment is costly. However, attempting to straighten your teeth at home is dangerous and can result in damage, often irreparable, to your teeth and overall health.
In many of these “do-it-yourself” videos, teens are advising viewers to use little elastics to basically tie their teeth together to close gaps. Others advise using household items such as twine, rubber bands, little pieces of fishing wire or other pieces of metal to apply pressure to the teeth to close gaps and straighten them.
Some of the most horrible nightmare stories about DIY braces involve teens from the Philippines who used tweezers, a nail cutter, and Super Glue just to stick the DIY braces on their teeth. The result? Pain, the possibility of developing tetanus from rusting wires, infection, and damaged teeth that had to be removed.
The worst case scenarios
Gum disease and bacterial infections can result from attempting DIY at home orthodontics. DIY materials are not created from sterile, medical-grade materials manufactured specifically for the mouth. Using household items that are unsanitary can lead to the growth of bacteria which can, in turn, result in tooth loss and tooth decay. Foreign objects can puncture your tongue and cheek, leading to an infection.
The blunt force of rubber bands to your teeth can loosen them to that point that they fall out. Or, the bands can slip and cut off the blood supply to your tooth, also causing it to fall out.
Symptoms of a gum or periodontal infection include:
- Red and swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain when chewing or swallowing
- Accentuated tooth mobility
Additionally, gum infections can be very serious if left untreated because they can spread to other parts of your body, including your heart, which can result in life-threatening conditions.
Dealing with the after-effects of DIY braces can be very painful, especially if a dentist needs to remove some of your teeth that have been permanently damaged. You may need to have periodontal treatment for any gum problems, traditional braces to correct the damage, or even dentures or implants to replace lost teeth. All of these treatments can end up being much more expensive than if you sought treatment from a professional orthodontist.
Should you play on being an orthodontist? The answer of course is “No”
Dr. Mario Paz has successfully fitted over 6,000 braces during his career, 2,000 of which using the Invisalign System, the top brand of invisible braces used successfully by more patients than any other brand of clear aligners.
If you’re looking for an Invisalign dentist near you, contact our office to schedule an appointment. At the time, we can discuss financing options in order to accommodate your financial needs.