Social media has popularized a do-it-yourself (DIY) subculture of home improvement craft projects, but orthodontic professionals are worried that recent trends in DIY braces might lead to permanent damage to teeth.
Vlogger Jamila Garza’s Youtube channel shows a series of videos demonstrating an inexpensive alternative to braces. Her video tutorials chronicle how she successfully managed to close her tooth gap using $5 elastic bands. And while viewers might find this cheap alternative to braces tempting, orthodontic professionals are warning patients about the dangers associated with DIY orthodontics.
The American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics (AJO-DO) has issued a consumer alert about the irreversible effects of this self-imposed treatment.
AJO-DO Editor-in-Chief Rolf G. Behrents, warns: "One of the earliest applications of elastics in dentistry was to extract teeth in patients with bleeding disorders…The practitioner simply placed a rubber band around the tooth to be extracted; because of the shape of the teeth, the rubber band slowly worked its way up or down the sides of the tooth roots, destroying the bone and soft tissues, and the tooth just fell out, all in about 4 to 6 weeks."
Patients who forego professional help to fix a small gap in their teeth might just end up requiring it for prosthetic teeth instead.
While the Internet is a great resource of knowledge, it’s important to grow wary of similar DIY procedures that promise to deliver professionals result without the oversight of oral healthcare providers.
Orthodontic professionals not only monitor progress on patients with braces but also provide them with routine x-rays to anticipate complications. Braces are designed to safely move teeth with pressure to achieve proper alignment of teeth over an extended period of time.
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