A new Internet craze promises users that they can straighten their own teeth – without an orthodontist. Can you really use dental floss or rubber bands to achieve a perfect smile, or will you end up crying all the way to the dentist?
“We’ve talked about crazy trends many times on the show, but this next one may just take the cake,” says ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork. “This does not seem like a good idea!”
Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Kourosh Maddahi says it’s a terrible idea. “Teeth are not hard to move at all,” he notes – in fact, you can move your teeth over time just by pushing them with your tongue. This is why braces are effective, but it also means that if you move your teeth without knowing what you’re doing you can cause big problems.
Teeth moved of out alignment throw off your bite, explains Dr. Maddahi. “You’re going to have gum recession or bone loss. Teeth become loose, and over time you can lose those teeth.”
Professional orthodontic appliances are designed to never go below the gums, because otherwise the gums could become inflamed and start overgrowing. But rubber bands easily slip under the gum and can cause enormous damage.
Dr. Stork notes that there are new options for moving misaligned teeth – you don’t have to choose traditional braces. “Please, in this case, do NOT do it yourself! Seek a professional’s help,” he pleads.