If you are involved in any degree with social media such as Facebook, you are aware of the huge volume of “do Ii yourself” projects available on the web today. Although some of these DIY posts are actually pretty brilliant and can teach you pretty cool “lifehacks” and money-saving tips, not all of them are worth trying. I recently came across a growing trend online regarding DIY teeth straightening that is potentially pretty damaging. Apparently some individuals who would like their teeth straightened but cannot afford braces are turning to YouTube to learn how to make braces for themselves for free. Check out the video below:
In the video, the girl makes the comment "It's going to hurt really bad, especially for the first few days, and you're going to want to give up, but don't, because it's totally worth it in the end." I cringe when I heard her say this. While I believe that her heart is in the right place—I recognize that braces are expensive and she found something exciting that seems to be working for her—the advice she is doling out can have some terrible consequences. The rubber bands technique advocated in this video could actually cause tooth loss and significant gum damage.
Orthodontists go through rigorous training programs that take them two to three years to complete, in addition to the four years of dental school that they must first finish before being accepted into orthodontic programs. Having successfully completed several orthodontic classes as part of my own general dentistry curriculum, I can tell you that straightening teeth is not nearly as easy as it looks. There is a good deal of calculation, individual case planning, precision execution, and careful timing that goes into every single person who gets treated with braces. Orthodontic care is expensive for a reason and I believe it is well worth the money.
For those who are tempted to try something like this, I suggest looking at orthodontics—or even general dental procedures like cleanings, fillings, crowns, and root canals—not as a product you are buying, but as an investment in your own health. How much is your dental health worth? Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much is an attractive smile worth?
- How much would you pay to protect that smile?
- How much is it worth to you to be able to chew food well?
- How much money would you pay to get your teeth back if you suddenly lost them and could not talk or chew properly?
If you think of dental care, including orthodontics, on these terms, I think you’ll find that what you actually pay in dental and orthodontic care costs is much less than the value that you place on your teeth. One of the best uses for money is to invest it on yourself, especially when it comes to preserving and protecting your health. Many surveys and studies have shown that among the biggest regrets elderly people have, failure to be healthy and protect health is high on the list. Don’t let this happen to you.
I have worked with several orthodontic offices and am convinced that we have a wealth of talented and caring specialists here in Utah Valley. In the Orem, Utah area, which is where our office is located and where more than 80% of Canyon Gate Dental’s patients live, I have been especially impressed with the following orthodontic offices*:
- Graf Orthodontics http://www.briangrafortho.com
- Thompson Orthodontics http://wadethompsonortho.com
- Taylor Family Orthodontics http://www.taylorfamilyortho.com
If you are in need of orthodontic care and for some reason cannot wait to save up for such an investment, I highly suggest you call one of these offices and schedule a consult rather than trying a “do it yourself” technique for straightening your teeth.
-Nicolas K. Young, DMD
* I approach referrals to specialist offices by asking myself the question “where would I send my wife and children if they needed a specialist?” I get nothing financially by recommending these particular offices, besides that fact it makes me look good to a patient when I send them somewhere that takes excellent care of their needs and treats them w