As internet trends go, the latest one is rather worrying – the trend for DIY braces. In the quest for physical perfection, we have seen a number of teens, particularly those who have a prominent gap, resorting to homemade braces to try and correct issues and straighten teeth. Plastic hair bands are the material of choice and there are videos all over YouTube of people who have tried this as a solution to try and correct less than perfect teeth.
Unfortunately for many of those who have tried these DIY braces, rather than straightening wonky teeth the hair elastics have actually had a negative effect. Some people have caused permanent damage to their gums and there is other risks associated with this kind of homemade treatment – the worst of which is the threat of losing teeth entirely. When gums are subject to pressure like that from a too-tight plastic band wrapped around teeth then the blood supply can be cut off. If this happens the gums can change shape and the lack of blood could cause some serious irritation and infection or tooth loss.
Why are people doing it?
At the moment, the trend is originating from the USA where orthodontics can cost upwards of $5,000. As only 50% of people in America have dentistry as part of their healthcare plan the cost of the treatment is proving prohibitive, which is why some young people are resorting to these extremes. However, it’s a risky choice, which is unlikely to provide the result that most people are looking for. Teenagers in the UK are eligible for free NHS orthodontics up to the age of 18 and there are many alternative options for adults who are looking for the perfect smile.
What are the risks?
Bone loss and root damage are the main risks and of course losing the tooth completely as mentioned above. It’s worth noting that using elastics like this has more commonly been used as a method of tooth extraction. In around 4-6 weeks a small elastic band can work its way up the tooth roots, wearing away both the soft tissue around the tooth and the bone with the result that the tooth simply falls out. So, rather than straighter, perfect teeth anyone trying this could be left with no teeth.
Yes, we all want to have better teeth – whether for a particular event, such as a wedding or you just want to boost your confidence with a brighter smile. However, professional cosmetic dentistry is a far safer route and one where you don’t risk gaping holes in your gum line.
Get a cosmetic dentistry quote from Smile Pad to sort your dental issues out or pop in for a consultation to a local branch.