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Don’t Brace Yourself: The Dangers of DIY Braces

Some teenagers think that having braces is the new fun and hip thing to have. It’s not as stigmatized as it once was; the number of adults getting braces between 1989 to 2008 spiked by 24%. Overall, from 1982-2008, there’s a 99% increase in all ages says the American Association of Orthodontics. Kids nowadays aren’t taunted with names, such as “metal mouth” or “tin grin”, nor typecast as nerds, but instead, it’s become a socially desirable practice to the point of it has become a “rite of passage” according to a Los Angeles Times article.

With the dental implement’s surge in popularity comes people wanting to go with the in-crowd. And so does the rise in do-it-yourself braces. To be fair, orthodontics work isn’t cheap. Such treatments need to be done with precision and accuracy; dentists would have to have or at least partner with a top-of-the-line orthodontics laboratory to provide their patients with their exact needs. Cheap, DIY orthodontics poses irreversible risks to anyone’s smiles. Here are some reasons you should avoid such implements.

Orthodontics isn’t just about aesthetics

Orthodontist Nehi Ogbevoen, in an interview with the University of Southern California News, said that orthodontics isn’t just about giving everyone perfect smiles. Among the factors to consider is the function of the bite and how your set of teeth will age over time. Dentists only want to ensure your dental health remains in good condition. As such, before providing such dental treatments, they use X-rays to check for underlying health factors, such as gum disease or large cavities.

According to the Registered Dental Hygienist Magazine, the information these service providers gather is only the tip of the iceberg. Since there are no X-rays involved, bone level and thickness, impacted teeth, root problems, or caries won’t be known. Any essential information professional dentists would use to develop the dental implement that suits your needs, aside from the shape of your set of teeth, isn’t considered at all. DIY alignment kits may exacerbate any dental conditions if used haphazardly.


Million-dollar smiles aren’t cheap

DIY braces and other dental alignment products offer cheap orthodontics treatment 2-3 times cheaper than a visit to an orthodontics professional. These services ask for a 3D scan of your teeth—without any dental checkups nor supervision. While the price point is definitely appealing compared to the traditional visit to the dentist, considering the problems that may come your way. Why bother with such inherent risks that will leave you paying for a long time?

Accessibility has been a long, ongoing issue when it comes to orthodontics; this is one of the primary reasons why such direct-to-consumer treatments exist. Despite the prohibitive costs of orthodontics, a lot of dentists offer more affordable options depending on the severity of your case, according to dentist and USC faculty Hany Youssef. Mild issues may be fixed by such products, but it doesn’t hurt to try asking a dentist if these dental implements will help you out.

It’s not difficult to see why DIY dental implements are becoming popular. They make an incredibly expensive treatment easily accessible to everyone. For adults who grew up with crooked smiles, these options might seem very alluring. After all, the ease of technology paved the way for such products. But if people continue to take the matters of orthodontics into their own hands, they may lose their teeth permanently.

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