For people who enjoy getting creative, DIY has been having a bit of a moment in recent years. During the holiday season especially, DIY can be a lot of fun, from making ornaments with the kids to crafting cute home decor with friends. Here at Hemphill Orthodontics, we fully endorse being resourceful and thrifty! Like any trend, however, this one can sometimes be taken a bit too far. DIY orthodontics is a perfect example of that.
When it comes to oral health, it’s important to leave your smile to the experts. Our expert team is proud to provide high-quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in Celina and the surrounding areas, and we also offer a wide variety of affordable treatment options to fit every budget. That means you never need to experiment with risky DIY methods that aren’t backed by expertise, experience, and skill!
Take a look below to learn more about DIY orthodontic treatments, why you should avoid them, and how Dr. Hemphill can give you a beautiful smile safely and efficiently.
Google “DIY braces” and you’ll be amazed by the number of results you receive. Videos on this topic tend to be especially popular, with some garnering thousands of views each. The proponents of DIY braces 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 so much 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. Unfortunately, it didn’t do much to convince people, as evidenced by the continued interest in this method.
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 become embedded in the soft tissue of your gums, and people have even lost teeth because of their DIY orthodontic attempts! Complex and expensive dental procedures may be required to repair this avoidable damage.
Direct-to-consumer aligner companies offer a cheaper alternative to patients by providing them with an in-home impression kit for clear aligners. After an impression has been taken and mailed back in, they are purportedly reviewed by a 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 hair ties or office supplies to straighten your teeth, mail-in aligners come with their own set of issues. Orthodontists like Dr. Hemphill use in-person exams, digital photos, and panoramic x-rays to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient. This information is also used to create their ideal bite, a difficult but important part of treatment since misalignment can cause pain, discomfort, and uneven wear and tear to the teeth.
There are many problems that can be easily 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 be risky, since the teeth and gums should always be in good condition before attempting tooth movement.
Mail-in aligner services also leave patients without any meaningful supervision. That means aligners can end up not fitting properly, moving the teeth too quickly (which is dangerous), or moving the teeth into unexpected positions. As noted above, cavities or gum disease may develop. If you don’t have a qualified orthodontist overseeing treatment, these problems may go untreated. Over time, this can cause damage to your overall oral health as well as your bite.
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 direct-to-consumer businesses may not be able to accurately determine if someone is a suitable candidate for aligners.
Don’t trust your smile to anything less than the experts at Hemphill Orthodontics
We certainly understand the appeal of cheaper orthodontic treatment that you don’t have to leave home for. But while DIY braces and direct-to-consumer aligner companies may seem like an ideal way to straighten your smile and save you some money, they could prove more costly than you’d expect over time due to unanticipated consequences!
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. Dr. Hemphill works with each patient’s unique smile to create a personalized treatment plan that results in a beautiful smile for every budget. That’s why your first consultation with us is always free! This visit includes a complete examination and an explanation of the options available to you.
You don’t need DIY methods when you have a skilled orthodontist like Dr. Hemphill looking out for your smile! If you’d like to learn more about how to safely achieve a beautiful smile with our expert team, get in touch with us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.