The Dangers Of DIY Orthodontics

In recent years, we’ve really seen crafting make a comeback. This has led to a bit of a DIY revival, where anyone with a creative streak can turn old objects into festive decor or everyday objects into….braces? That’s right—DIY orthodontics is an excellent example of “when good trends go bad.” We love the idea of being resourceful and thrifty, but only when it’s appropriate! When it comes to something as important as your smile, you should really leave it to the experts.

Here at About Faces And Braces, we take your oral health seriously! We’re proud to offer high-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in the Springfield area. With a wide variety of affordable treatment options to suit every budget, you’ll never need to experiment with risky DIY methods that aren’t backed by science or skill.

To learn more about what we mean by “DIY orthodontics” and why you should only trust your smile to experienced orthodontists like Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice, keep reading below!

DIY braces

It might seem too weird to be true, but if you type “DIY braces” into any search engine, you’ll get thousands of results. Videos tend to be the most popular, with many users claiming that you can straighten your teeth using nothing more than things you find around the house, like rubber bands, paper clips, bobby pins, and even aluminum foil.

At one point, these “tutorials” had so many views that the American Association of Orthodontists felt it necessary to issue a consumer alert warning to the public. This warning stated in part that moving teeth is a medical procedure and should only be performed with the personal supervision of a trained orthodontist.

Rubber bands, sometimes called gap bands, are the most popular method of DIY orthodontics. These are basically clear hair elastics you can buy in any drugstore. The idea is that you wrap them around your misaligned teeth for an undetermined amount of time, during which gaps will close and your bite will be straightened.

We can certainly understand the attraction to such a cheap and “easy option” but the truth is that it comes with many potential risks. These can include pain, laceration, infections, and the bands can even become embedded in the soft tissue of your gums! You may find yourself facing complex and expensive dental procedures to repair any damage incurred with DIY braces.

Mail-in aligners

DIY braces aren’t the only at-home orthodontic option we see. In fact, direct-to-consumer aligner services have become increasingly popular over the last year or two. These companies supply patients with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners that is cheaper than being treated in an orthodontist’s office.

After an impression has been taken and mailed back in, they are purportedly reviewed by an on-site dentist or technician who will determine if the patient is a candidate for the company’s aligners. If the patient is approved for the process, the aligners will be made and delivered to the patient with instructions on how to wear them.

There’s no denying that this is certainly better than using office supplies to straighten your teeth! However, mail-in aligners come with their own set of issues. An experienced orthodontist uses in-person exams, digital photos, and high-quality x-rays to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient based on their specific needs. This information is also used to create the ideal bite for a patient, which is a difficult but important part of treatment since misalignment can cause pain, discomfort, plus uneven wear and tear.

There are many problems that can pop up before or during treatment that at-home kits won’t catch. Cavities, gum disease, and other related issues can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. This is less than ideal, since the teeth and gums should always be in good shape before attempting to move the teeth.

Mail-in aligner services also leave patients without any meaningful supervision throughout the treatment process. That means aligners can be poorly fitted, or they may move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. As noted above, cavities or gum disease may develop. If there’s no orthodontist overseeing treatment, these problems may go untreated, causing damage to your overall oral health as well as your bite. In some cases, we have seen patients who ended up with more problems than they had before they began!

Experienced orthodontists like Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice know exactly how important it is to take into account a patient’s specific needs, lifestyle, and goals before recommending any particular treatment method. Without access to a patient for an examination, x-rays, or photos, these at-home aligner businesses may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a suitable candidate for their product.

Trust your smile to the expert team at About Faces And Braces

DIY braces and direct-to-consumer aligner companies can seem like an easy and ideal way to straighten your smile and save you some money, too. Unfortunately, they could prove more costly than you expect over time! Moving teeth slowly over a longer period of time is the only way to ensure the health of your entire mouth and provide superior, long-lasting results.

At About Faces And Braces, we’re proud to offer free consultations, which include a complete examination with one of our doctors along with an explanation of the options available to you. A smile that looks good and feels great does require an investment of your time and funds, and it’s our mission to provide you with high-quality options that fit every budget!

With orthodontists like Dr. Shawn and Dr. Candice looking out for your smile, there’s no need for DIY methods. If you’re in the Nashville, Tennessee area and would like to learn more about how you can safely achieve a beautiful smile with our team, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation!