In my line of work, I’ve seen it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. But one trend that is gaining popularity among young people is DIY teeth straighteners. These are people who post videos of themselves on YouTube trying to fix crooked teeth on their own, instead of consulting a dentist or orthodontist.
Not only is the trending alarming, it’s causing horrible damage to the mouths of young people.
One of the most popular – and harmful – DIY methods shown on YouTube is putting elastic bands around teeth to close spaces between the teeth. Please do not try this at home!
One video uploaded in 2012 shows a 14-year-old girl wrapping hair elastics around her front teeth to close a space. It has been viewed more than 1.2 million times. Other videos suggest using dental floss or fishing line.
It is important to understand that trying this method can cause irreparable damage. Dentists have reported seeing bone loss, gum loss and root resorption.
Root resorption is the shortening of tooth roots. Although it happens in almost every case of tooth movement performed under the watchful eye of a dental health professional, it typically is insignificant and is largely unnoticeable on X-rays. However, some patients react more severely. This is one concern dentists have for the DIY set – How is a person to know if they will react severely? If tooth roots become too short, the teeth can become mobile or even fall out.
One reason for the damage is that materials wrapped around teeth and tied snuggly can creep up the teeth and into the gum line. There are cases where people left a band around their teeth so long that the band wound up beneath the gums and squeezed off the blood supply to the teeth and thus, killing the teeth.
My advice to people who are unhappy with the appearance of their smile is to contact THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® to schedule a consultation. Here, you’ll undergo a thorough exam to determine the best course of action.
As for the DIY videos, stick to YouTube for learning how to solve a Rubik’s cube or build a bird house, and leave your tooth alignment needs to the dental professionals.
About THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®
THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.