In fact, DIY orthodontistry is gaining enough traction that the American Association of Orthodontists has issued a consumer alert on its website stating:
The American Association of Orthodontists is urging consumers to beware of Internet videos and websites which encourage people to try and straighten their own teeth. Moving teeth is a medical procedure and needs personal supervision by an orthodontist. Please be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss, or other objects ordered on the Internet. Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of the teeth and gums could result in the permanent loss of teeth, which may result in expensive and lifelong dental problems. Orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school and are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning the bite.
Elastics, which this link in the article outlines, can slide into the soft tissue around the tooth, destroying the bone and eventually resulting in the tooth (or teeth) it is around falling out. Once the elastic is in the soft tissue, it is invisible to radiographs and difficult to remove.
Your perfect smile is only part of the orthodontics equation. It involves more than just moving teeth to straighten them. In fact, the full title for the practice is Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. It includes the “diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion and other abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures.”
Orthodontists receive specialized education and training to address complications that might arise during treatment before they progress to the point of no return.
And there can be some pretty severe complications—as David Campbell attests to in this New York Times article that outlines the dangers of DIY orthodontics. A quick fix can have potential benefits, but it can also lead to long-term (and more costly) consequences. And as confident as you might feel with straightened teeth, imagine how you will feel when the gap is even bigger as a result of missing teeth.
For a professional and friendly analysis of your orthodontic needs, Orthodontic Associates has nine convenient locations around Baltimore for you to chose from and explore your options. Schedule your consultation with one of our friendly staff members today. We look forward to making you smile!