The dangers of DIY braces. Social media is creating a disturbing new trend in home dental care, do-it-yourself braces. DIY braces are tricks and techniques that bloggers use to straighten out their teeth at home. The problem is that these methods are unsafe and can even lead to tooth loss.
The process generally involves the use of rubber bands or dental floss to create pressure on teeth. However, the devices are not bonded to the teeth like traditional braces. And they do not gently straighten the teeth like custom-fitted Invisalign braces. The Invisalign braces use carefully calibrated computer modeling to apply the exact volume of pressure to each tooth.
The other problem is that there are no X-rays taken. The upper crown of the tooth is not even half of the total tooth. When teeth are being straightened, the dentist has to examine the impact of the root systems on other adjacent teeth. No matter how simple it may seem to manipulate and move gapped or crooked teeth, you can wind up damaging the roots and losing your teeth permanently.
This can also happen when the bands or floss gets absorbed under the gumline. It can lead to bone loss and deterioration because it is the perfect medium to harbor bacteria. The bacteria feed off your oral cavity and are looking for an access point such as this. And even if you change out the device whenever you brush your teeth, it can still cut into the gum tissue, harbor bacteria between changes, and lead to premature tooth loss and decay.
What Are the Benefits of Consulting an Expert Orthodontist
An expert orthodontist receives two or three years of additional training at dental school, just to apply braces correctly. Braces are complicated and can be painful for patients when they are not being cared for by an expert. An expert has years of experience, the right materials, and cutting-edge tools to ensure that the appropriate amount of pressure is adjusted on the teeth at all times. Straightening teeth takes a long time. It is a long and tedious process that requires constant corrections and an expert plan of action.
There are no shortcuts. In order to do the job correctly, orthodontists first practice on models, then on cadavers, and then obtain training in an apprenticeship under the direction of another dentist. The skills are backed by science but also require a degree of improvisation because nothing is ever cut and dry in dentistry. Furthermore, dentists monitor the overall health of the patient and will pick up on any defects that are compromising their oral health. They know what a normal and healthy mouth should look like with braces. People who wear braces have to brush more frequently to reduce the bacteria and need to change their rubber bands regularly.
An orthodontist is also liable for their mistakes and can lose their license if they grossly deviate from acceptable practices. This ensures that they will always put their best effort into sustaining your oral health. The accountability is, perhaps, the greatest motivation for an orthodontist to do everything possible for your benefit.
The Madness Continues…
Why Are Mail Order Braces Dangerous?
Mail order braces are another aspect of the DIY trend. Although these procedures may start off with a degree of medical care, it does not approach the complete range of services and skill provided by an orthodontist. When people opt for mail-order braces, they either send a 3D tooth impression to the manufacturer or visit a location for an initial scan of their teeth.
The manufacturer then mails them an invisible retainer that acts similar to Invisalign braces. The retainer is designed to force pressure onto teeth when it is worn, which, as a result, straightens the teeth. Although the costs may be a fraction of what an Invisalign process costs, these braces fail to live up to Invisalign standards.
Invisalign braces are constantly recalculated and adjusted. The movements and pressures on the teeth are very subtle. This way, the orthodontist can gauge the health of the patient throughout the treatment and ensure that everything is moving as expected. When you remove the standards of care and the constant monitoring, you are left with a crude process that can cause severe tooth pain and lead to permanent damage.
The Principle At Work
The principle at work behind all these DIY trends is to save money. However, some things in life require the assistance of a specialist. Experts have special tools and materials that are generally not available on the retail market for the average consumer. They also have special knowledge, experience, and insurance to cover any negligent errors.
There is no amount of money in the world that is worth losing your teeth over. Replacing even two bad teeth and correcting a case of severe bone loss can easily exceed $50,000. Orthodontists are now seeing the fallout of these trends and have to work much harder to correct the damage than the original dental problems.
Although it may seem burdensome on the average American to pay $3,000 to $8,000 for Invisalign braces, many dentists offer financing that can stretch the payments over many years. Paying $8,000 over ten years is only $800 a year. Even someone working at minimum wages can earn that in about two weeks.
Don’t risk permanent tooth loss, infections, bone loss, or developing oral cancer. Only medically approved braces from a professional orthodontist will safeguard your health and provide you with a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. Because your smile is such an important feature of your face, the first impressions that you make when you smile are critical to forming relationships.
The entire purpose of braces is to perfect the aesthetic beauty of the smile and to additionally improve function as a collateral benefit. When you use DIY methods, you are never able to dial in that fine-tuning. And that is essentially what the entire procedure is, a fine-tuning of the angles in your mouth.
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What are The Dangers of DIY Braces? (BEWARE)
Dr. Jasmine Gorton, a Bay Area native, graduated from UC Berkeley with Bachelor degrees in both Integrative Biology and Social Sciences and then went on to graduate from Harvard with honors for her Doctorate in Dental Medicine.
She continued her education at UCSF with a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Growth and Development, followed by an Orthodontic Residency with a Master of Science in Oral Biology.
She is Board Certified in Orthodontics. She received the American Association of Orthodontics Award for Craniofacial Research and the Harvard Odontological Society Award for Excellence in Research. Her work on preventing decay around braces has been published in the American Journal of Orthodontics.