Warning: Don’t try this at home!
We’ve all heard those words from time to time, but I never would’ve expected to voice those words to my patients about orthodontic treatments.
People are always trying to save a buck wherever they can. This leads to at-home medical and dental treatments that are, more often than not, ineffective and even dangerous.
One such treatment that’s been on my radar over the last few years is do-it-yourself (DIY) braces.
As a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD or TMJ) dentist, the thought of anyone trying to treat their orthodontic issues on their own scares me.
Let me explain why.
Your Carmel and Noblesville Dentist Answers: What Are DIY Braces?
According to Today, DIY braces made their public debut back in 2012 when Shalom DeSota uploaded a video to YouTube about the “cheap” practice.
Over the few years the video has gone viral, with over 600,000 views. And DeSota is only one of many posting videos about their money-saving DIY orthodontic work.
So, how do DIY braces work?
For DeSota, it was fairly simple. She had a gap between her upper front teeth, and she placed a rubber band around them to pull them together.
But this isn’t the only “solution.” Some companies are selling cheap DIY orthodontic kits online.
This might seem like an ideal solution – especially if a person doesn’t have a lot of money or dental insurance. But it’s not.
DIY orthodontics can be dangerous and has everyone in my TMJ dentist office gravely concerned.
Why Our TMJ Dentist Office Is Against DIY Orthodontics
When DeSota released her DIY video, the dental community ended up releasing a PSA about the dangers of DIY braces.
Some people think this is just dentists coming together because they’re worried about their source of income.
But here are the real issues.
1. Doing DIY Orthodontics is Dangerous
We’ve all heard the phrase “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” This aptly describes DIY dental work – including braces.
A few years ago, the NY Times interviewed David Campbell to prove that not everyone has a good experience with DIY dentistry.
Campbell had a gap between his front teeth that he tried to fix with elastic bands. Unfortunately, he ended up losing his front teeth.
A simple rubber band may not seem like a big deal. But the band can easily end up lodged under the gums. This cuts off the nerve/blood supply to the tooth, resulting in tooth loss. Or, it can result in a serious infection, which can also cause tooth or bone loss.
2. Treating Crooked Teeth by Yourself Is Not a Good Way to Save Money
David Campbell is proof that using $5 elastic bands can turn into thousands of dollars of dental work. He ended up having to pay for dental veneers. Others end up paying for a partial denture or a bridge, both of which cost a good chunk of change.
3. Facing TMJ Issues will Include Side Effects
There’s a common misconception that orthodontic treatment is used simply for aesthetic purposes. Actually, most people need braces because their teeth and jaw joint aren’t functioning properly.
Dentists, orthodontists, and dental labs that create Invisalign braces, all have the training necessary to fix these issues. Most other people do not. Therefore, when they to fix the issue at home, it can lead to major problems down the road.
They can make the function between their teeth and jaw joint even worse. This can lead to TMJ pain, migraines, neck and shoulder pain, teeth pain, and much, much more.
When You Need Orthodontic Treatment, Choose a Dentist with TMJ Expertise
Orthodontics seems simple enough on the surface. In reality, though, it is a complex art. Not only does an orthodontic dentist in Carmel and Noblesville want to straighten a patient’s teeth, we also want to prevent pain and injury, and ensure the ideal overall health and function of a patient’s teeth, jaw joint, muscles, and tendons.
Therefore, if a patient wants to be healthy as well as proud of their gorgeous, straight smile, it is vital to visit a dentist who specializes in orthodontics, TMJ issues, and cosmetic dentistry.
When patients receive orthodontic treatment from my office, not only will they get a smile they’re proud of – they’ll get a healthier smile.
Are you ready to take the leap and treat your crooked teeth? If you want a beautiful, straight smile, contact us for more information about our orthodontic treatments and to get a cost estimate.
Dr. Mike Deldar, DDS< FICCMO, FLVI
Carmel dentist, Noblesville dentist, Indianapolis dentist