Do-it-yourself projects may have gained traction in recent years. However, some projects just aren’t worth the risk.
In recent years, some online users published videos and blogs teaching people how to create and mount their own braces. These “hacks” would supposedly make dentistry accessible and affordable to everyone. Despite constant warnings and campaigns by dental associations regarding the dangerous health impacts of DIY and home dentistry, several companies continue to cash in on this dangerous trend.
What Are DIY Braces?
To make DIY braces, people use household items to fasten and move their teeth to where they think they should be. According to online videos and articles, they use a variety of materials, including:
- Rubber bands
- Hair elastics
- Dental floss
- Fishing line
- Earring backs
- Paper clips
These materials are neither sterile nor designed for the teeth. Since none of these materials are medical-grade, they may degrade or break down because of the acidity of an individual’s saliva. When that happens, these household materials may bcome dislodged, and possibly lead to an infection.
Similarly, companies are also marketing 3D-printed braces without publishing the potentially harmful results.
Harmful Effects of DIY Braces
There is more to orthodontic treatment than just straightening your teeth. It involves managing the movement of your teeth in relation to your gums and bones. Therefore, it must be done carefully with large amounts of professional planning. Attempting to straighten your teeth on your own can result in more problems, including irreparable damage to your teeth and other serious side effects.
Everyone wants a beautiful smile, but the drawbacks of DIY braces are not worth the risks. Here are a few possible side effects of DIY braces:
Losing Your Teeth
Gap bands and other elastics are inexpensive materials that are available to the public from places like pharmacies and drug stores. For this reason, this is one of the most dangerous types of DIY braces. Videos are created instructing people to wrap the bands around their teeth, supposedly to close gaps. However, it may do the exact opposite.
Wrapping bands around your tooth could destroy it at its roots. The tightness of the DIY braces applies constant pressure on your tooth, restricting blood flow that keeps your teeth healthy. Gap bands seem harmless and straightforward, and that’s what makes it dangerous. Unfortunately, users only think of the visible part of the tooth and not the important root beneath it.
The elastics can also kill the roots of your teeth. As a result, you may need to see a dentist to pull the tooth out. Additionally, instead of closing the gap, you may just create new gaps between your teeth.
Jaw and Gum Damage
Many people believe that the sole purpose of orthodontics is to straighten teeth. However, this information can be misleading. Braces are also meant to align the jaw and to reduce pressure on teeth, gums, and bite. The straightening of teeth is a result of moving and aligning the part of your tooth connected to the jawbone to a more suitable position.
However, those who advocate DIY braces do not take this into consideration. Kits offered by some companies are not backed by dental professionals who can physically examine or use digital imaging to assess teeth and jaw alignment.
If your teeth and jawbone fail to align or interact at the correct angle, it is prone to wear and tear. It can also cause cracks, fractures, and even painful bone damage, not to mention the impact it has on the shape of your face.
Since the materials used in DIY braces are nonsterile and non-medical-grade, it increases your risk of infection. The use of superglue and other bonding agents can also damage your dental enamel. It can result in your teeth chipping, cracking, or fracturing. Also, paperclips, wires, and jewellery brackets may contain additives and chemicals that may leach over time when exposed to saliva and can make you sick.
Additionally, the items can cut your gums and injure your tissues. These will also prevent healing, exposing your mouth to bacteria that can accumulate in the fractures and open sores of your mouth. The infection can spread into your bloodstream and surrounding facial tissues if untreated, making it life-threatening.
Teeth are essential tools in speech, particularly with how you form letters and sounds. Dental specialists know this, and thus, make sure the movement and positioning of your teeth are controlled properly. However, these are some things that DIY braces do not take into account.
DIY braces affect your entire mouth and can move your other teeth out of place. The misalignment of your teeth and jaws due to the makeshift braces may alter your speech pattern. Orthodontics must be placed in a sterile and professional setting if you don’t want avoid the risks of developing speech impediments.
It is scientifically proven that smiles have the capacity to make people feel better. There is a connection between a good smile and better self-esteem. That is why people strive to achieve the perfect one by way of braces, even if they have to do it by themselves. Yet, the unsupervised nature of DIY braces can do the exact opposite.
Because of the potential harm of makeshift braces, going to such lengths can lead people to experience emotional trauma. In addition, dental inflammation plays a direct role in the development of mental illness. Inflammation has a direct relationship with your neural systems and behaviour, affecting your motivation, motor activities, and anxiety, among others. It also reduces your serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, chemicals usually correlated with mental health.
Your mental and physical health is much too important to risk by using DIY braces.
Most people turn to DIY braces to save money. However, because of the potential damage they can cause, you can end up paying more just to repair its effects. This will make it more expensive than if you had gone to a professional dentist in the first place.
Replacing dental damage and infection can be complicated and invasive. Surgery may be required to address infections, repair bone damage, or extract non-restorable teeth. When taking into account the cost of correcting the problems caused by DIY braces, you save more money when you have the treatment done by a dentist.
Leave It to the Experts
You have to understand that dentures, orthodontics, and dentistry in general, all include professional healthcare procedures. They all need the personal supervision of a professional to ensure effective and controlled results. It is something that should never be attempted at home. Don’t place your health in the hands of online videos. Leave orthodontics to your dentist.
Lambton Family Dental offers a wide range of orthodontic services for the whole family. Whether you need to reverse the effects of DIY braces or to have one installed, get in touch with us. We can help address the health and appearance of teeth at every stage of life. Send us a message or call us at (519) 344-5747 to book your consultation.