June 15, 2018

Are DIY Braces a Safe Route for Your Smile?

If you’ve been wanting to straighten your teeth but aren’t thrilled about wearing metal braces or fear the expense of braces, you may be tempted to go the braces-by-mail or DIY route…because, well, those commercials you keep hearing and the DIY videos you’re seeing make alternatives seem awesome! Not to mention, you think you’ll be saving some money but this is a really, really, bad idea.

And while we get the appeal of a 6-month plan and the lower price tag, the truth is: going either of those routes can actually cost you more money and time in the long-run.

So What’s The Big Deal

According to the American Association of Orthodontics, nearly 13% of its members have had patients who’ve tried to go the DIY teeth straightening route.

Excuse us for a second while we peel ourselves off the ceiling as the thought of this is just mortifying.

Yes, there are actually people (mostly teens and preteens) who’ve resorted to trying to straighten their teeth themselves with no real idea of how the process works and using household items like elastic hair bands, fishing line, earring backs, paper clips, dental floss, etc.

There’s a plethora of these online video tutorials showing teens who’ve tied rubber hair bands on adjoining teeth to pull them together in an effort to close unsightly gaps. And while there are Youtube tutorial videos galore about how to make your own braces with stuff you have around the house, what’s happening is that they are moving their teeth in the wrong direction and even causing them to fall out (yes, we’re shuddering).

Clearly, this is bad on so many levels.

It’s not only the DIY braces that can have a dire effect on your teeth and your smile it’s also the order-by-mail aligners causing complications.

Why Order-By-Mail & DIY Braces Are a Bad Idea

Straightening teeth isn’t just about closing gaps between them or moving askew teeth to a more cosmetically-appealing position. Teeth are really part of an intricate system of bones, muscles, and ligaments. So straightening teeth is just as much about function and longevity as it is about “looks”.

The bite needs to be properly aligned so that the upper and lower teeth close correctly when you talk, swallow, or chew, without stressing the jaw or wearing down the teeth in the process. This is what these DIY kids miss & mail-order braces can’t account for — they don’t know how to protect the other parts of the mouth that come into play when straightening teeth.

When dentists or orthodontists align a smile, they are of course looking at cosmetic aspects, but they are also working with the functionality of your teeth, mouth, muscles, & jaw. Without taking this into consideration, you can harm the teeth and gums beyond repair.

Tooth-loss

Professional supervision and instruction safeguards your smile and ensures things are going right during the entire process. Something as simple as leaving your aligners out for too long will cause your teeth to try & shift back—essentially, what is happening is the tooth is being “wiggled” causing teeth to become loose and fall out. And just FYI adult teeth don’t grow back! Do you think that bit of knowledge comes in a box? Likely not. And it’s not the only thing someone straightening their teeth needs to be aware of.

Poor Bite Alignment

When the bite is off you could be looking at cracked teeth, TMD, teeth grinding or clenching, tooth sensitivity, and tooth decay. Aside from headaches, neck pain, and lockjaw as a result of TMD, all the other potential issues are a result of wearing down the tooth enamel.

Because the bite is off, the wear on tear on your tooth enamel can substantially increase. This will ultimately make restorative dentistry (like crowns or veneers) necessary to protect the integrity of your teeth.

Systemic Inflammation

And oh, the gums! The reason we have to brush and floss our teeth every single day is to get rid of food particles and remove oral bacterial that builds up and creates a sticky bacterial film – or plaque – causing tooth decay and gum disease. Well, if these DIY “braces” cut your gum tissue, this harmful bacteria will now access the bloodstream and travel throughout the body and impact your organs. This impacts not just your mouth but your body too.

Not to mention the instances where the rubber bands have worked their way below the gum line and damaged the tooth roots.

To Recap, Homemade DIY & Mail-order Braces Can Cause:

  • Worn down tooth enamel.
  • Tooth Sensitivity.
  • Even more tooth gaps.
  • Irreparable damage to the teeth.
  • Damage the gums and the jaw bone to end up with tooth loss.
  • Infection of the oral tissues.
  • Necessitate expensive dental procedures to save the teeth.
  • Headaches, lockjaw, neck pain, or additional TMD symptoms
  • Physical pain along with emotional trauma from the damage done.

The Good News

We’ve got a dentist with advanced training. We move the teeth gradually in specific ways so that we don’t risk problems with the tooth roots, jaw joints such as muscle spasms or clenching, or tooth loss by properly using traditional braces or Clearcorrect™.

If finances are leaving you hesitant to seek a professional for your teeth straightening, keep in mind that most dental plans cover some of the cost of wearing braces, and we also have finance and payment plans that can make getting the smile you deserve easier for you.

At the end of the day, our goal at Exceptional Dentistry in Palmdale, California, is to help you create a healthy beautiful smile under the safest, most comfortable conditions with the help of our experienced dentist, Dr. James Powell. To reserve your consultation, please call (661) 349-7725 to contact our dental office and schedule your next visit!

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