Orthodontists across the country are growing concerned with the increasing popularity of do-it-yourself orthodontic kits. A recent surge of DIY tooth straightening procedures has orthodontists warning patients of the risks of performing their own dental work. An alert was issued to consumers in January by the American Association of Orthodontists, explaining that the damage done during DIY orthodontic procedures often results in the need for extensive restoration work.
Many people who attempt DIY orthodontics get their instructions from YouTube videos. In one, a video with over 8,000 views features a girl using rubber bands from eBay to close a gap in her teeth. Another video, with over 2 million views, has a girl instructing viewers to make their own braces from paperclips, craft beads, and super glue. Some businesses even accept mail-in molds of consumers’ teeth and send back clear braces at a fraction of the cost of the ones that are fitted by orthodontists.
In addition to using dangerous methods in an attempt to fix their teeth, many consumers may be attempting to move teeth that are not healthy enough to be rearranged, even by licensed orthodontists. The health of gums and bone structure surrounding teeth should be taken into account, and is often compromised by homemade braces.
Many people who turn to DIY orthodontics do so out of a fear of the financial responsibility of seeing a licensed orthodontist. Others believe they need a referral from their primary care physician or dentist, which is not the case. Still others may simply be worried about the amount of time it takes for traditional braces to affect their teeth, and think that DIY products will work faster.
In Annapolis, a dentist has developed new technology to ease the worries of people who think that traditional braces take too long. Dr. Yasaman Roland provides her patients with Express Smiles, a system which is able to place braces behind the teeth. Because the system is designed simply to align teeth instead of the jaw, most treatments are completed between two and four months.
In addition to providing braces and other teeth and jaw straightening services, orthodontists often help patients achieve their cosmetic dentistry goals. When surveyed, 76.2% of orthodontists had recommended whitening procedures to their patients, and 88.8% had such services requested by patients.