Dangers of DIY Braces

Dangers of DIY Braces
Posted on 02/05/2018

At Wiregrass Orthodontics, we're proud to serve as a comprehensive resource for orthodontic treatment in the Dothan, AL area. While we strive to provide world-class orthodontic treatments like braces and Invisalign to our patients, we aim to help patients beyond purely providing in-office treatment – and that includes being a resource for great oral health more generally. Unfortunately, we've seen a disturbing trend recently in orthodontic health: DIY braces. What are DIY braces and why are they a problem? To understand this, we have to look at the specifics of how orthodontic appliances move teeth.

What Are DIY Braces & Why Are They Dangerous?

DIY braces refers to the practice of using any materials to "simulate" orthodontic treatment without the help of a professional orthodontist. Most commonly, people use bits of string, twine, or rubber bands wrapped around the teeth. These materials are meant to apply a constant force to the teeth to encourage them to move, similarly to how braces do this – but they have the exact opposite effect.

The problem with DIY braces is that they're simply too crude to work. Modern orthodontic braces are an engineering marvel: they use decades of science and advanced technology to apply precise, finely-calibrated forces to the teeth. Over time, these gentle forces guide the teeth to new positions, resulting in a healthy, beautiful smile.

DIY braces, on the other hand, can only use a crude, blunt force. Not only is this ineffective for moving teeth: it's downright dangerous. DIY braces can actually cut off the blood supply to the tooth root, eventually causing the tooth to die and fall out. And once that happens, there's no way to save the tooth: the only option is thousands of dollars in restorative treatment and false teeth.

What About DIY Invisalign?

Even more recently a story surfaced of a college student who 3D printed his own course of Invisalign clear aligners. Again, this seems clever at first – until you realize just how dangerous it was. Without the care of a trained, certified professional orthodontist, there's no way to know whether the treatment will work as intended or do irreparable harm to the teeth. Just listen to what Brent Larson, a professor of orthodontics, had to say about the 3D printed treatment:

"In fact, when looking at the images of the DIYer’s teeth, there are specific areas of tooth wear visible that indicate unbalanced function and possible nighttime grinding."

This student was lucky enough that his teeth stayed healthy during his at-home treatment – but there's no guarantee with DIY orthodontics. The only way to safely move the teeth and achieve a new smile is to work with a professional, board-certified orthodontist like Dr. John P. Howell.

Schedule a Consultation with Your Dothan, AL Orthodontist

If you're interested in learning more about how professional orthodontic treatment can help you achieve a gorgeous new smile, we would love to help. Feel free to request an appointment online at our Dothan, AL orthodontist's office. We'll help you understand every part of the treatment process and achieve a gorgeous smile safely and conveniently!

Wiregrass Orthodontic Specialists

  • Dothan Office - 100 O’Brannon Park Dr., Dothan, AL 36303 Phone: 334-792-1000
  • Enterprise Office - 557 Glover Ave. #1, Enterprise, AL 36330 Phone: 334-347-6777
  • Ozark Office - 317 James St., Ozark, AL 36360 Phone: 334-792-1000

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