Teenagers Making DIY Braces Is The Worst Idea We've Ever Heard

Photo: WeHeartIt

When I was a teen, I had braces. I hated them and the way they'd cut the inside of my mouth. I loathed the metallic taste from the wires, but I hated my orthodontist even more. He was mean and his dental assistants were the worst. If the tightening of your braces was extra intense, they wouldn't do anything to make you feel better; they seemed to enjoy when you were in pain.

One day before I was about to go to summer camp, my orthodontist said to me, "You can get your braces off now and have less than perfect teeth and ruin my reputation a little. Or, you can keep them on for the summer and have perfect teeth I can be proud to claim as my work. What's it going to be?" 

Much to his dismay, I told him I wanted them off. My teeth weren't perfect; they moved slowly (on their own) until I had a gap between my front teeth. Eventually, I had to get veneers.

I made a bad decision getting my braces off early, but what I didn't do is stick a rubber band in my mouth in an effort to try DIY braces — the way teens are doing now, thanks to YouTube videos.

Not surprisingly, The American Journal Of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics warning against DIY braces, saying that although it might be cheaper, it runs the risk of causing severe, irreparable tooth and gum damage, such as tearing of the gums, damaging the blood supply to the tooth, and ultimately tooth loss.

Also, an orthodontist can control the direction that your teeth move; a teenager with a rubber band can't. 

In an article from Refinery 29Juan Rendon of Jefferson Dental Clinics in Texas said, "When we do brace fittings, when we do alignments, what we normally have is a wire that's going to work as a template to keep the shape of the arch. We know how much we're moving; we know if teeth are sliding through the wire, and eventually, the roots start moving in the same direction we want to move the teeth."

A big issue, of course, for many of these kids is the cost of braces and feeling like their families can't afford them. So, they take the task of straightening their teeth into their own hands.

Many dental schools actually offer all kinds of dental procedures at rates that are significantly less expensive than a regular orthodontic office.

While it's great that teens are trying to solve problems themselves, some things should be left to people who know what they're doing, or people who are heavily supervised who know what they're doing.

Here's a DIY video you shouldn't follow under any circumstances:


Oh, and if your orthodontist suggests you leave your braces on a little longer, it's much better in the long run if you follow their advice.