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DIY Orthodontics – Don’t Try This at Home

DIY Orthodontics
Sarah, the patient
Dear Dr. S.,
I recently saw a YouTube video where a woman closed the gap in her smile with just rubber bands. It sounds great, and would save me time and money at the orthodontist. Is it as easy and successful as the video claims?
Sincerely,
Tamara L
.

Dr. Michael Stosich
Dear Tamara,
There really is a YouTube video for everything, isn’t there! Here’s my advice – do not believe everything you see on the internet.Never take dental or orthodontic advice from someone who isn’t trained in the field. Anyone can make a YouTube video, but very few people have the knowledge you need when trying to correct your smile. Using something as simple as some small rubber bands to close a gap in your smile sounds great, but you may create a bigger problem.

First, think about what might happen if the rubber bands shift. You could swallow them, causing the possibility of choking. They could also shift up under the gum, causing issues that can lead to tooth loss.

But also think about this – closing a gap in the front of your teeth using these rubber bands is only creating another gap somewhere else in your mouth. This will then affect the way your teeth fit together, affecting how you chew and even speak. If you create a misaligned bite, you’ll then create abnormal wear on your teeth. And this can lead to cracked, chipped and broken teeth – and even more expense for you.

Save yourself the future headaches you’ll be causing and schedule a consultation with a trained orthodontist today.
Sincerely,
Dr. S.

Stephen, the patient

Dear Dr. S.,
I love the idea of straightening my smile with clear aligners, but I’ve seen versions online for much cheaper. Why can’t I just purchase a tooth straightening kit online and save myself the time and money I’d spend on an orthodontist?
Sincerely,
Thomas K
.
Dr. Michael Stosich
Dear Thomas,
I’m aware of these kits that promise straighter teeth from the comfort of your home. And I have to say, the trend worries me. Taking an impression at home and sending in a few photos to a company located who-knows-where is not a good way to receive orthodontic care. There are many reasons why.First, it takes more than just impressions and a photo to reach a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. An exam with a trained orthodontist will include X-rays and 3D imaging. This can tell the orthodontist if the bones supporting a patient’s teeth will respond properly to the desired treatment. It will also tell the orthodontist if an Invisalign aligner or similar product is the best treatment option. And in many cases, Invisalign is not the right answer – which means in those cases, an aligner you bought online isn’t the right answer, either.

It will also tell the orthodontist if there are any underlying issues that may interfere with treatment. Periodontal disease and bone loss can interfere with orthodontic treatment, so its best to take care of these types of issues before undergoing orthodontic care.

Receiving treatment from a trained orthodontist means you will know the treatment plan created is the perfect one to meet your needs. You’ll know who to call if you have questions or concerns during treatment, and you’ll be able to change courses if you discover your mouth isn’t responding well to treatment. Your orthodontist will see you regularly, so he’ll know the minute a problem arises, and be able to correct course before it becomes a major issue.

The rise in do it yourself orthodontics is so troubling that the American Association of Orthodontics is creating a public service campaign directly aimed at the dangers that can arise when you attempt your own treatment from home.
Sincerely,
Dr. S.

Dr. Michael Stosich
Meet Dr. Michael Stosich, Your Local Orthodontist

Dr. Michael Stosich is a board certified orthodontist in Chicagoland with two private practices. Dr. S serves patients of all ages, children, teens, and adults and is the top rated orthodontist in Illinois. He is the director of orthodontics at the University of Chicago Medicine and Comer Children's Hospital, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. Dr. S is awarded for his extensive research in accelerated tooth movement and patient centered care.

Learn More About Dr. Stosich

AUTHOR: Michael Stosich

Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS, is a specialist orthodontist for children and adults with subspecialty expertise in robotically assisted orthodontics. Dr. Stosich serves as the orthodontic director at the University of Chicago's cleft lip and palate clinic and craniofacial anomalies clinic, which treats complex pediatric craniofacial anomalies.