Beware of DIY Orthodontics
Beware of do-it-yourself orthodontic treatments – Brooklyn and Staten Island orthodontics
The American Association of Orthodontists has issued a warning about the risks of do-it-yourself (DIY) orthodontic treatments. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in popularity of these treatments, which are being heavily promoted online. The DIY movement in general has been gaining momentum, and in some cases, this makes sense. For instance, making your own clothing is a great idea. However, trying to do your own orthodontic treatment is not. There are many dangers to treating orthodontics like clothing.
What types of treatments are being promoted?
Certain websites promote “easy” DIY orthodontic treatments. One of the more popular ones was uploaded to YouTube a few years ago. It went viral and is still being viewed and shared. In the video, a young woman shows how she closed a small gap between her teeth with hair elastics. She claims that she simply placed the elastics around her two front teeth, and the gap closed in less than two months.
Another video shows how to make your own “braces” using materials bought at the craft store. Beads are used in place of brackets and a paper clip in place of an archwire, and the “braces” are superglued onto the teeth.
What are the risks?
Those promoting the use of hair elastics as a treatment for orthodontic problems may not be aware that placing rubber bands around teeth is actually a treatment that has been used by dentists for many years – but not in the way that they think. This treatment is an old-fashioned way to extract teeth in people who have hemophilia or other problems with blood that doesn’t clot properly, so that they can’t undergo the standard type of extraction. Those who try to use this method to close gaps between their teeth may find themselves losing one or both of those teeth.
Resorption of roots
When teeth are moved too quickly, the roots of the teeth can be resorbed by the body. The teeth will then fall out. Once the roots have been resorbed, there’s nothing that can be done to save the teeth. The best solution at that point is to place dental implants to replace the missing teeth. This will cost far more than braces, and it’s surely not what people are expecting when they try to DIY their smile. When you use hair elastics or rubber bands around your teeth, it’s hard to control, or even to know, how much force is being placed on those teeth. That’s why orthodontists don’t use this method; they developed braces and clear aligners instead, because these are safer and better-controlled methods of moving teeth.
Unexpected movements of teeth
In addition, understanding the way that forces work on teeth isn’t always easy. In some cases, a tooth doesn’t move the way that you would expect. For instance, some DIY patients who have placed elastics around their front teeth have had those teeth begin to jet forward or fan out to the sides, rather than move closer together as the patients expected. If the teeth aren’t lost, much more expensive orthodontic treatment will be needed to fix them than if the patient had simply visited an orthodontist in the first place.
This is why orthodontists have three years of specialized training after dental school. Moving teeth correctly and safely is much more complex than many people realize.
Avoid DIY orthodontics
There’s simply no safe, DIY at-home option for straightening teeth. Professional supervision is necessary to get good results in a safe way.
If you’re looking to avoid braces, this is very possible. Clear aligners are an option for many patients, and for those who need braces to achieve optimal results, lingual braces or clear braces can help to preserve the look of your smile during your treatment time. Talk with your orthodontist to find out more about what options would work best in your individual case. Your smile is worth consulting a professional.