There is nothing that gives one more self-satisfaction or pride than doing a job yourself. Painting the family room, fixing a sprinkler line, or building a deck all bring a sense of accomplishment for a job well done. However, there are some tasks where doing it yourself (DIY) is not advisable and can be down right dangerous without proper training.
No one would question that performing open heart surgery on oneself is ill advised; yet many are advocating DIY orthodontics to close spaces and align crooked teeth. What may seem like a simple task to close the gap between the two front teeth, using small rubber bands, can result in severe periodontal problems and potential loss of your permanent teeth. Placing rubber bands around teeth can move teeth too quickly, resulting in significant root damage. Moreover, many times the rubber band is forgotten and slowly, painlessly, creeps under the gum tissue. The rubber band continues on a path up the tooth root, slowly and permanently separating the tooth from the supporting alveolar bone (the bone that supports the tooth), resulting in tooth loss. Once the damage is done, it is generally irreparable and tooth replacement requires an implant, partial denture, or a bridge.
Furthermore, spaces between the front teeth may be a sign of the presence of impacted teeth (typically the upper canines) in the alveolar bone only visible with a radiograph. Attempting to close spaces with rubber bands may lead to additional problems and loss of adjacent teeth without proper treatment.
Orthodontics is more than just cosmetic, it is healthcare. Orthodontists spend years in school receiving Bachelors, Doctorate, and Masters degrees to learn how to treat their patients. Appropriate orthodontics results not only in straight teeth but also a proper bite to optimize the oral health of the patient. Nothing is better than one’s natural teeth. It’s always easy to change the color of the family room; however, what may seem like a simple DIY fix could result in lasting damage that will cost more in the long run than seeking a professional opinion from an orthodontist in beginning.
If you have questions about straightening your teeth see a board certified orthodontist because if you think an expert is expensive, try an amateur.
Bradford Edgren DDS/MS
Board Certified Orthodontist