chocking teen trend: DIY braces

A bizarre new online trend has begun rising that’s giving parents a reason to be wary; DIY braces. When you say it out loud you probably think “How could that ever go right?”. The answer is a little complicated, because the most notable example of this practice was, in fact, a success. This success is what lent the trends newfound popularity (despite the video originating in 2012) but it’s causing more headaches than solutions to crooked teeth.

Although it’s not clear why the trend has suddenly surged in popularity, this video (with over 750,000 views) is a great reason as to why the trend has taken off.

At 14 years old Shalom DeSota made a decision that would change her life, so she thought, for the better. She took a rubber band designed to hold hair, cut it and tied off the gap in between her two front teeth. In the video, she states that “I wanted to get braces, of course, but braces are really expensive nowadays”. Going on to explain that why “I’m going to teach you how to make homemade braces. I would suggest leaving them in for at least a few weeks”.

In the video DeSota explains how to tie off the rubber band, where to place it on your teeth, and let you know that “It’s gonna hurt… the first few days it’s gonna hurt real bad… but don’t [give up] because it’s totally worth it”.

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So Does it Work?

Shalom is lucky. At our practice, we see what happens to people who try to do home dentistry and we can say for certain, she got very lucky.

There are so many things that can go wrong when it comes to DIY braces that it’s a bit frightening to think about. Because teeth do not maintain a consistent width and depth, the rubber bands can easily slide off your teeth causing a choking hazard, or more worryingly, up to the gum line. If a rubber band should reach the gum line, you’re in trouble.

The gums do a lot more for the tooth than give it a home, they also provide the blood supply needed to maintain a healthy tooth. If the rubber band slips up, then the problems start.

In the worst case scenario, these taught bands can actually sever connections and cause the tooth to be lost. Beyond even that, infection of the gums from regular lacerations, micro lacerations, and abrasion can cause tooth rot, destroying the tooth from the inside out.

Not only is this possible, it’s almost expected by experts in the field. Some kids will wear them for function, but the money lost having to replace a lost tooth and/or extract a rotted tooth is far beyond the cost of braces and can lead to many health problems in the future.

How Do I Help My Child?

Ask your children if they’ve heard of the trend. It’s more probable than not that they have either seen it themselves or even know someone who does it. Let them know the risks and impress the idea that losing your tooth is far less preferable to keeping it.

Wrap Up

At Hospital Dental Group, we’re no strangers to the fact that braces are expensive, and it can be a stressful thing to think about. If your kid needs braces, please don’t let them get the idea in their head that this is the way they can help the family. That’s what we’re here for. Reach out to us today and we can discuss payment levels, and payment plans that will fit anyone’s situation.