Do-It-Yourself Braces: Just Say No and Save Your Child’s Smile

As Do-It-Yourself (DIY) crafts and projects are climbing in popularity among teens, the trend has surprisingly migrated into the field of orthodontics. Believe it or not, teenagers across the United States are taking their smile into their own hands. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, almost 13% of dentists are seeing patients who have tried DIY teeth straightening – most of which have experienced irreversible damage.

In desperate attempts to straighten their smiles, teenagers are resorting to rubber bands, dental floss, fishing line, paper clips, and even homemade retainers. Although these methods can potentially move teeth, dentists everywhere are warning against these dangerous materials.

Initially gaining traction with teens on social media, DIY braces can lead to serious infection and permanent damage in the teeth and gums. Constant pressure, unsupervised by an orthodontic expert, can cause teeth to become extruded or out of socket. Tiny hair rubber bands are known for sliding upward and disappearing into the gums, becoming embedded in the gum tissue.

Many of these cases cannot be repaired, meaning patients who originally tried DIY braces to save time and money are now required to undergo complete oral reconstruction surgery. Overall, patients are paying almost double of the initial cost of orthodontic treatment just to reverse severe damage.

The number of teens attempting DIY braces is so alarming that the American Association of Orthodontists has reissued a public service announcement to warn teenagers of the dangers of this trend.

If you think your child is attempting to straighten his or her smile with DIY braces, put a stop to it immediately and schedule an appointment with your dentist. It could save your child’s smile!

About the Author

I am a family dentist who treats children as well as adults. Making smiles people love, extreme makeovers and complex dental reconstruction is our niche including implants, TMJ, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry. As a participant in the blog, I will be offering dental perspectives on pediatric safety and health care options on a regular basis. I can be reached at Blessings to all! Dr Williams is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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