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DIY Orthodontics: NO!

There has been a growing trend of young patients attempting to correct imperfections in their teeth using items that are available in their homes. Search DIY orthodontics on YouTube and you will find young teens using rubber bands, fishing line, and paperclips to straighten their teeth. While there are many things that you can DIY, orthodontics should not be one of them. It appears safe enough but it can cause irreparable damage to their teeth and should be avoided entirely.

What most people do not realize is that there is a certain amount of force that teeth can handle before the bone that supports the teeth is broken down. The teeth are supported and held in place inside the jaw by sockets made of bone. Without these sockets your teeth would literally fall out.

One of the more frequent items that do-it-yourselfers attempt to address is a gap between their front teeth. Commonly, a rubber band is wrapped around these teeth to close the gap. If the elastic is not supervised it can get lodged in the gums. The elastic will slowly slide up the roots of the teeth, damaging the sockets and causing the teeth to be loose or even worse fall out. This technique was at one time used to pull teeth from patients with bleeding disorders such as hemophilia. The rubber bands pulled out the teeth slowly and saved a patient from bleeding to death.

Another trend on the rise is mail-order orthodontics. There are online companies who will mail you the materials to make your own molds of your teeth. After the company receives the molds they will send you a set of clear braces. Although they can be significantly lower in cost than Invisalign, the mailed kits can be harmful without a proper evaluation prior to initiating orthodontic treatment. It is imperative that the teeth are healthy and can undergo tooth movement and this assessment should be done by an orthodontist.

DIY solutions can be tempting as it appears you will save money. However, in the end, it could cost a lot more to replace damaged teeth than to have an orthodontic professional address the issues in the first place. Where cost is a factor prohibiting the initiation of orthodontic treatment patients should discuss payment arrangements with their orthodontist during the initial consultation. Patients should also be aware that a referral for an orthodontic consultation is not needed to seek orthodontic treatment so this is one less barrier on your way to straight, healthy teeth.

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