Orthodontist warns against DIY braces made by teens
Doing it yourself is a great way to save money when it comes to some projects, but not when it comes to orthodontics, a local expert warns.
It sounds hard to believe, but a growing number of teenagers are trying to straighten their teeth with homemade braces.
DIY braces tutorials are all over YouTube: Teen girls use metal earring backings and small elastics to simulate the real thing.
"It's quite shocking and really scary," said Vancouver orthodontist Colleen Adams.
Adams told CTV News that teeth move easily, and while in theory the braces might straighten crooked teeth, the YouTube tutorials are oversimplifying what is a very complicated process.
"Teeth sit in gums and bone, and if you move them the wrong way you can lose teeth, you can damage the gums, you can actually lose bone," Adams said.
"It can be a significant problem."
Adams' 10-year-old patient Francesca Hayes said she didn't hesitate when her dentist recommended braces.
"I had buck teeth. And I'm really glad they're getting fixed though I was nervous about getting braces in the beginning," she said.
Francesca's teeth are being fixed by a professional, despite the high cost of orthodontics. The girl said she didn't think trying it at home was a good idea.
Her mother, Therese, called the DIY trend "very worrisome."
"We're in the time we're in, where people want to DIY everything, but there are certain things that DIYing is not a good idea, and braces would be one of those," she said.
Some kids are doing it for fun, but others whose parents can't afford braces are hoping this will actually fix their teeth. Adams said the cost-saving measure may actually leave parents with a higher bill in the long run.
"If you're doing things on your own, you can cause things that are super expensive to repair," she said.
"Don't. Just don't."
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson