A bizarre trend has surfaced online, and it has dentists and parents alike alarmed: homemade braces. While it’s unclear how this trend began, it’s been picking up steam as of late and putting children and teens at risk. We’ve compiled the information you need to teach your children about the very real dangers of the trend and a list of warning signs of DIY braces.
What is the DIY Braces Trend?
DIY braces involve using rubber bands, floss, paper clips, earning backings, and other household items to straighten teeth and reduce tooth gaps at home. They believe this treatment is a low-cost, hassle-free alternative to traditional braces. Not only is this belief false, it is also unsafe.
On the surface, it may appear that DIY braces are effective and relatively harmless; it’s no wonder teens across the globe are eager to experiment. However, the real danger lies underneath the gums and often times go unnoticed. Issues such as periodontal disease, root abnormalities, cysts on the bone, extra or missing teeth, and cavities are common complications that your teen won’t notice until the problem is severe. The early stages simply can’t be seen without an x-ray or an oral exams performed by someone trained to spot abnormalities.
Attempting to move and fix teeth without a proper exam can lead to the permanent loss of teeth and expensive and lifelong dental problems. We urge you to warn your teen about the dangers of this terrifying trend. The risks are just not worth the cosmetic and financial benefits.
Warning Signs of DIY Braces
How can you tell if your child/teen may be attempting to craft their own version of braces? To protect your child from this trend, be on the lookout for these warning signs of DIY braces:
- Foreign objects around teeth, including paper clips, rubber bands, dental floss, or earring backs glued to teeth
- Extruding upper front teeth
- Loose permanent teeth, especially the upper front teeth
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Unexplained oral or facial pain
If you see any of these warning signs of DIY braces in your child, take them to their dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible. An oral health professional will be able to properly assess any damage done by the DIY braces. Based on the assessment, they will correct any abnormalities and fit your child with proper braces that won’t negatively impact their overall dental health.
Dr. Andrew Skorobatckyj is trained to recognize the warning signs of DIY braces and can develop a corrective treatment plan, if necessary. Schedule an appointment right away if you think your teen is participating in this dangerous trend.
Phone: (440) 842-8015
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