Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Teeth Straightening: Don’t Do It Yourself

There are lots of “do it yourself” projects you can complete successfully with just a little time and effort. However, “do it yourself” braces is not one of them. Despite that, there are a rising number of videos on YouTube instructing on how to fix your teeth at home, and even more online sites selling braces kits for those who want straighter teeth but want to avoid the orthodontist.

“There’s a common misconception in the general public that braces are simple — you push on the tooth and it moves where you want it,” says Jeffery Iverson, D.D.S., M.S., an assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Dentistry. “Orthodontics is very complex. Human physiology, occlusion, biomechanics, craniofacial growth and development, tooth size, shape and morphology, as well as the patient’s overall lifelong dental health, must be taken into consideration.”

The most basic method of DIY braces is placing a rubber band around teeth in an attempt to move them together. While this may cause teeth to move, it can also cause a number of complications like tooth fracture, gum damage, root damage, tooth loss, or serious medical complications.

“Blood circulates just below the surface of the oral mucosa, and the placement of toxic, non-sterile items in the oral cavity can injure it and is a good recipe for infection,” says Iverson. “These infections can spread through the blood or through facial spaces, and these infections could become life threatening.”

He has seen the damage a simple rubber band can do firsthand. “I saw a 12-year old patient during my residency that tried to close some spaces in her lower mandibular incisors using a rubber band,” Iverson says. “X-ray evaluation revealed severe bone loss on the distal roots of the mandibular lateral incisors.”

The child ended up needing surgery to remove the rubber band, which had done lasting damage to her teeth.

Another option gaining popularity involves companies that will send consumers kits to take impressions of their teeth, and then will send them clear alignment devices. They claim the process is overseen by a qualified orthodontist and that the kits should only be used by those with a “mild” alignment problem. However, Iverson has his doubts.

“If overseen means a doctor looks at some pictures and impressions over the internet and the patient is never seen in the beginning, throughout treatment nor has the final result evaluated at completion, I could see multiple problems with that type of treatment,” he says.

Iverson also says treating even a mild alignment problem is more complex than simply taking teeth impressions and fitting a device. “In an orthodontic office every patient receives a set of orthodontic records, which include orthodontic x-rays,” he says. “I don’t see where these companies are providing an x-ray evaluation on their patients, so many potential problems could possibly be missed.”

There are also “black market” braces options available, which can cause even greater damage. The materials being used may not be sterile or may even be toxic. There is a chance they could come loose or be swallowed. Then there is the issue of removing them. “Removal of DIY braces can fracture the teeth or extract the teeth depending on the method of cementation,” says Iverson.

The bottom line? If you want straighter teeth, see an orthodontist — face to face.

“It takes a trained orthodontist to position the teeth in their correct positions so detrimental damage doesn’t occur,” says Iverson.

Source:

https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2015/09/091415_diy.braces.php

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Difference Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Stains

Stains on your teeth may not affect your health, but they definitely affect your self-esteem. There are different types of stains that often require whitening treatments. Keep reading to learn more about intrinsic and extrinsic tooth stains.

How to Care for Your Invisalign® Aligners

Invisalign® aligners may make teeth straightening a snap, but that doesn’t mean you can set them and forget them. Instead, following these simple steps will help you care for your aligners, so they remain invisible throughout your treatment.

How to Care for Your Temporary Crown

People with weak, chipped, or broken teeth have many options to treat them, depending on the severity of the damage. Crowns are a popular choice, and if you’re getting one, you’ll need to know how to take care of them.

Understanding the Different Zirconia Restorations

A dental restoration can treat damaged or decayed teeth. While they can be made of many materials, one of the relatively newer dental restoration choices 一 zirconia 一 delivers a wide range of benefits. Here’s what you should know.

Regular Teeth Cleaning Is About More Than White Teeth

Visiting the dentist regularly can help reduce your chances of needing more complex dental treatment later on, as well as contribute to your overall health. Learn why it’s important to schedule in-office dental cleanings at least every six months.