Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home projects may be a really good idea for certain people, but the recent internet hoopla over DIY orthodontics is very dangerous and may cause serious problems due to the lack of direct supervision over treatment. Although there is always a temptation to attempt to “get a deal” or save some money with any purchase, when it comes to managing any form of health care, it is rarely, if ever, a good idea to try to fix things yourself. There is a reason why orthodontists have gone to school for so many years to study the best ways to treat their patients. Orthodontists factor in age, growth, tooth position, jaw size and shape, tooth size and shape, amongst many other things in formulating a diagnosis and treatment plan customized for each patient. It is this endeavor that is the most critical aspect related to obtaining a fabulous, healthy, and stable bite and smile.
Recently, in the news you may have heard about a college student from New Jersey who claims to have spent only $60 to straighten his own teeth. It took him only 16 weeks using 12 different retainers he created to straighten his top teeth using software he cooked up in his dorm room and a 3D printer to make his aligners. His method is partially based upon the treatment methodology used with Invisalign and it is impressive use of computer knowledge. However, he could not answer questions about the health of his gum tissue nor the safety of the materials used or the rate and ordered plan of tooth movement. The student summarized his experiment by strongly urging others to avoid the temptation to perform this DIY tooth movement and smartly recognized the risk and refused to help other students that came to him for a similar treatment, as he did not have the expertise to help them.
The student did show that his front, top teeth were straighter, but at what risk? What if he pushed a particular tooth with so much force that he reduced blood flow to a group of teeth. This can lead to gum tissue or root health issues that can have catastrophic long term effects. Orthodontists do much more than just straighten your teeth. They also consider the health and quality of gum tissues, location, position, and density of bones, and the potential for bone growth, modification, and rate of tooth movement. Taking matters into your own hands can increase your risk of infection, gum tissue damage and even lead to gum tissue or tooth loss.
Videos of DIY orthodontics have been going viral because it’s the internet and you can post anything there. It is clear to us that much of the fascination with this topic relates mostly to the fact that people are shocked that anyone would even consider moving their own teeth. This is not the first time this has occurred and it certainly won’t be the last. Many of these ideas are dangerous and do not show the long-term effects they may have on the individuals. There are many documented cases in the dental literature of people using rubber bands, paper clips, or homemade orthodontic interventions that can lead to gum/tooth damage or loss. We strongly urge anyone thinking about orthodontic treatment to consider professional guidance with orthodontic tooth movement to avoid regret and to achieve your best smile outcome.
If you have any questions concerning this issue, we would really like to talk to you about it and about your options with one of our board certified orthodontists.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Delaney, Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. The pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults, including being an Invisalign preferred provider. The ability to treat all special needs patients reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy. Valued hospital affiliations allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John’s Hospital Macomb when needed. Our specialists are also on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.