Brace Yourself for this…
If you were to search the words, “fake braces” on you tube you would get 39,000 hits!
No? Well, neither did any of our patients when we asked, but it’s a growing trend!
There is an enormous market for knock-off braces and people worldwide have taken a shine to what used to be an embarrassing rite of passage for most kids. While some people are truly looking for a cost-free life hack to eliminate the gaps between their teeth, others are hoping to add a little fashion to their smile.
For years now, orthodontia has been seen as somewhat of a status symbol with many kids believing that they are a sign of wealth or are a way of putting a “geek is the new chic” spin on their looks. This life hack, however, can cause just that … a hack job on your teeth and gums!
No Limit to the Imagination
Kids are very imaginative with their DIY ideas and are using all kinds of novel methods to get the results and look they are aiming for ~ rubber bands, coloured elastics, bobby pins, paper clips, earring backs, string, fishing line ~ you name it! Fake braces kits are also available online in a variety of colours and designs with some people resorting to using crazy glue to cement the appliance to their teeth for better adhesion and elastics to force their teeth together and rid their smiles of the gap tooth look.
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that requires additional schooling after receiving a dental degree. It requires a particular set of skills and experience that takes into careful consideration how very attentive one must be when moving teeth through bone. Non-medical orthodontic braces can pose a serious health risk for wearers.
What Damage Can Occur?
Bone and Tooth Resorption – Resorption is a process by which something wears away usually due to forces upon it. The greater the force – the higher the rate of wear. The movement process, if done incorrectly or too quickly, can cause too much bone and even the root of the tooth to wear away.
Dead Teeth – Each tooth has blood, lymph and nerve vessels that enter at the end of each root to keep the tooth nourished and vital. This supply can be damaged and possibly cut off during DIY tooth movement causing the teeth to die. Infection and loose teeth can eventually occur.
Loose Teeth – Placing rubber bands around teeth can bring teeth quickly together, but they can also damage bone and soft tissue in the process. It used to be a dental technique used by dentists to help teeth they plan to extract to loosen up faster. The bone that surrounds each tooth is not very thick. Too much movement in the wrong direction can actually cause so much bone destruction and in such a quick amount of time that it completely wears away. The tooth loses its greatest support feature and becomes very loose.
Fenestration/Tooth Extrusion – This photo shows a very dangerous situation that can occur whereby the bone is worn away and the tooth makes its way through the gum tissue and is exposed.
Decay – With the increased accumulation of food and plaque around the braces, decalcification and decay becomes a very serious issue. As such, the health of teeth is closely monitored during orthodontia. If the patient does not keep the area around their braces clean and the dentist can see serious signs of enamel damage, often times the braces are removed ahead of schedule to prevent further damage.
Discoloured Teeth – Damage to the interior blood, lymph and nerve supply can cause the teeth to discolour and turn grey to black.
Poisoning – The danger of poisoning from cheap metals containing unsafe or toxic material like lead should be a big concern for those considering using these products in the mouth.
Choking – Some of the materials used to make fake braces have tiny parts that can loosen easily and break off. If swallowed, choking or entry into the lungs can occur.
Gum Damage – Using metal wires that are fastened to the tooth with glue or wax can loosen and pierce into or stick under the gums causing bleeding, inflammation or infection. Winding string or elastic bands around teeth can create wear marks into the enamel and/or become lodged under the gums.
Very little to Smile about…
The Your Smile Dental Care team want you to know that braces are an important measure in correcting misaligned teeth and improper jaw relationships, but resorting to desperate DIY measures to move or accessorize your teeth can result in tremendous costs in terms of damage and dental treatments fees for repair. You can lose the teeth you’re craving to beautify and that could leave you with very little to smile about!
The good news is that some countries are now cracking down on this trend after the death of two teens in Thailand and are now doling out fines and even imprisonment for vendors who sell fake braces. However, warning needs to get out to those that are using their own DIY methods.
If your teeth are in need of some corrective measures, we strongly urge you to consult a professional. Many people do not realize that payments for orthodontic treatment is spaced out monthly over the entire course of treatment. This makes budgeting for braces more affordable and convenient. If you are using fake braces/retainers to just enhance your appearance, please know and understand the risks you are taking.
If you have been wearing your own braces and are starting to notice some signs of damage don’t be embarrassed to call us right away! We’ve seen it all and are here to help you. Think you would benefit from braces and are looking for a good orthodontist in the Toronto or Durham region? We would be happy to discuss your “specific to you” issues and make a referral for you.
Your in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team