Dentists are warning against a dangerous trend among teens that involves making DIY braces.
In a video posted online (below), a YouTube user details the process by which she created her own braces using elastic bands. In the video, the teen advises viewers to insert the bands between teeth and leave them in “for at least a few weeks” or “as long as you think it takes to work.”
“It’s going to hurt, especially for the first few days,” she explains. “But don’t give up, because it’s totally worth it in the end.”
According to experts, however, the cheap alternative to braces — which many are unable to afford — are not safe or healthy whatsoever.
“It seems very attractive that you could possibly move your own teeth, but when you move a tooth, the color of the tooth might change because you are damaging the blood supply,” Juan Rendon, DDS, MSD, said.
“You're also going to have problems with your gums," he added. "When the gums are subject to pressure, the blood supply is cut [off], which changes the shape of the gums and can cause severe inflammation and infection.”
The practice of using elastic bands to straighten teeth can also lead to bone loss, root damage, and teeth falling out.