December 30th, 2019
The holiday season is often full of DIY projects, from repurposing old objects into festive decor to creating hand-crafted goodies for handing out to friends and neighbors. While this trend is fantastic for anyone who has a creative streak and loves a good deal, it does have some drawbacks. Like most trends, this one can sometimes go a bit too far, and DIY orthodontics is an excellent example of that!
Here at Dream Orthodontics, we fully endorse being resourceful and thrifty when appropriate. DIY can be a lot of fun! But when it comes to your smile, it’s important to leave it to the experts. Our expert team takes oral health seriously, and we’re proud to provide high-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in the South Surrey area. We also offer a wide variety of affordable treatment options to suit every budget, which means you never have a reason to experiment with risky DIY methods that aren’t backed by experience or skill.
To learn more about what we mean by “DIY orthodontics,” why you should avoid them, and how Dr. Morra can give you a beautiful smile safely and efficiently, keep reading below!
Type “DIY braces” into any search engine, and you’ll get thousands of results. Videos in particular tend to be popular, and many make the claim that you can straighten your teeth using nothing more than everyday items like rubber bands, paper clips, bobby pins, and even aluminum foil. At one point, there was such a buzz about these tutorials that the American Association of Orthodontists felt compelled to issue a consumer alert warning the public that moving teeth is a medical procedure and should only be performed with the personal supervision of an experienced orthodontist.
Rubber bands, sometimes referred to as gap bands, are the most popular method of DIY orthodontics. They’re nothing more than clear hair elastics you can buy in any drugstore, and the idea is to use them as a way to close gaps and straighten teeth. After wrapping them around misaligned teeth for an indeterminate amount of time, gaps will supposedly close and your bite will be straightened.
While we understand the attraction to this cheap and easy option, it comes with many potential risks, including pain, laceration, and infections. The bands can even become embedded in the soft tissue of your gums! Complex and expensive dental procedures may be required to repair any damage.
Direct-to-consumer aligner services have become increasingly popular over the last year or two. These companies offer up a cheaper alternative by supplying patients with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. After an impression has been taken and mailed back in, they are meant to be reviewed by an on-site dentist or technician who will determine if the patient is a candidate for the company’s aligners. If the patient is approved for the process, the aligners will be made and delivered to the patient with instructions on how to wear them.
While this is certainly better than using office supplies to straighten your teeth, mail-in aligners come with their own set of issues. Orthodontists like Dr. Morra use in-person exams, digital photos, and high-quality x-rays to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient based on their specific needs. This information is also used to create the ideal bite for a patient, a difficult but important part of treatment since misalignment can cause pain, discomfort, and uneven wear and tear to the teeth.
Many problems can be overlooked with at-home kits. Cavities, gum disease, and other related problems can’t be seen from just a few photos or impressions. This can lead to trouble since the teeth and gums should always be in good shape before attempting tooth movement.
Mail-in aligner services also leave patients without any meaningful supervision. That means aligners can be poorly fitted, or they may move the teeth too quickly or more slowly than expected. As noted above, cavities or gum disease may develop. If there’s no orthodontist overseeing treatment, these problems may go untreated, causing damage to your overall oral health as well as your bite. In some cases, patients have ended up with more problems than they had before they began!
An experienced orthodontist knows how important it is to discuss a patient’s specific needs, lifestyle, and goals before recommending any particular treatment method. Without access to a patient for an examination, x-rays, or photos, these businesses may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a suitable candidate for aligners.
Trust your smile to the experts at Dream Orthodontics
While DIY braces and direct-to-consumer aligner companies may seem like an easy and ideal way to straighten your smile and save you some money, they could prove more costly than you expect over time!
Dr. Morra knows that moving teeth slowly over a longer period of time is the only way to ensure the health of your entire mouth and provide exceptional results that last a lifetime. At Dream Orthodontics, your first consultation with us is always free! This visit includes a complete examination with Dr. Morra along with an explanation of the options available to you. While a smile that looks good and feels great does require an investment of your time and funds, we do our best to make it as easy as possible for every patient to get the orthodontic care they need.
You don’t need DIY methods when you have an orthodontist like Dr. Morra looking out for your smile! If you’re in South Surrey and would like to learn more about how to safely achieve a beautiful smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.