Do It Yourself Braces: Why that's not a good idea

Why DIY Braces Don’t Work & The Best Braces Options

Scott Uncategorized

While braces are necessary to straighten patient’s teeth and correct one’s bite to produce a beautiful smile that also functions optimally, many people cringe at the thought of needing braces. They can irritate the mouth and take away from one’s appearance. They are also expensive. It is no wonder that some patients look to DIY braces. These braces are thought to be a fraction of the cost and produce quicker results. However, there are many serious risks and consequences to DIY braces that make them cause more harm than producing a beautiful, straight smile.

What Are DIY Braces and Why Are They So Bad?

Do it yourself braces involve the use of common, easily accessible household items such as rubber bands, superglue, orthodontic wax, small jewelry beads, dental floss, string, hair elastics and paper clips to straighten teeth. The DIY braces craze occurred a few years ago when a college student in need of braces designed his own set of “braces” or aligners using the college’s 3D printer. The video documenting his inexpensive (free) experiment and its remarkable results went viral and spurred other cash-strapped college and high school students to come up with creative, cheap ways to straighten their teeth without going to the orthodontist.

While string, rubber bands and dental floss don’t seem to be things that can threaten one’s oral health, think again. Below are some of the potentially serious consequences and drawbacks of DIY braces:
They can cause infections in the mouth. Since these materials are often not sterile or medical grade, they can lead to infections of the gum and soft tissues of the mouth. Infection of the bone tissue of the jaws can also occur. The infections can lead to tooth loss, infections of the blood and other organs and systems of the body and possibly death


They don’t produce guaranteed, lasting results. An appealing element of DIY braces is that they produce faster results than traditional braces. While they can shift teeth further and faster than regular braces, the rapid movement increases the chances that the teeth will move back into their original, incorrect position after the DIY braces are removed. Braces overseen by a dentist are designed to move teeth more gradually, ensuring they will remain in their new, corrected position after treatment.

They can lead to tooth loss. The use of tight string, dental floss, hair ties and rubber bands can reduce or block blood flow in the teeth severely damaging the teeth and their roots to the point where the teeth are beyond saving.

They can alter one’s smile and speech. Since a dental professional isn’t consulted when experimenting with DIY braces, one can’t foresee the domino effect of shifting and moving one’s teeth. While one may successfully move one’s teeth, the movement can lead other teeth to be unintentionally moved out of proper positioning. The resulting misaligned bite can leave one still with a less than ideal smile and possibly an embarrassing speech impediment.

They can cause mental and emotional trauma. In an effort to cut costs and manually fix one’s smile by oneself, one may end up damaging his or her smile to the point where it is worse than before. The mental and emotional trauma of realizing one’s smile is damaged and worse off can lead one to have mood swings, depression, anxiety over showing one’s smile and a disengagement from activities and others.

They can cost more than what one initially saved. The idea of saving thousands of dollars is a great selling point for DIY braces. However, these braces rarely produce correct, lasting results without damage to the teeth and gums. Often, the costs of repairing the damage caused by DIY braces are more expensive than what one initially saved with them. While traditional braces costs more up-front, they will save one much more in the long-run over DIY braces by helping one get the correct treatment the first time and better avoid the repairmen of damages to the teeth and gums.

Options for Braces

With innovations in dentistry and orthodontics, improvements in traditional braces and the availability of “invisible” braces have given patients better options for straightening their teeth.

Traditional Braces

While dental technology has improved braces, traditional braces with metal wires and brackets are still commonly used today. These traditional braces are often worn by pre-teen and early teenagers. However, adults who didn’t wear braces during adolescence and whose smile and bite are severely disrupted with crooked teeth may also be found to wear these traditional braces. Traditional braces are the best option for patients whose teeth need to be moved and shifted significantly in order to prevent teeth overcrowding or gaps between teeth and to correct one’s bite and jaw alignment to improve the look and proper functioning of one’s smile.

Besides the traditional braces with colorful bands, there are now other varieties of braces including SureSmile and clear braces.

“Invisible” Braces Aligners

“Invisible” braces have become a popular alternative to traditional braces especially among high school and college students and working adults. These “invisible” braces are made of clear plastic aligners that are switched out every two weeks during the course of treatment to gradually move the teeth into proper position and alignment. These aligners are often mailed to one’s home after a patient meets with his or her dentist to set up a treatment plan.

These clear plastic aligners fit over the teeth to create a nearly invisible look. “Invisible” braces are good options for patients who need minimal teeth alignment correction and who are concerned about their appearance. Teenagers, college students, those interviewing for a job, attending a wedding or attending a special event such as a class or family reunion where first impressions matter are best suited with “invisible” braces.

While traditional braces and “invisible” braces are big financial investments, they will save you more money and peace of mind in the long run. Seeking the help of a dental professional like the pediatric dentists at Woodhill Dental Specialties will ensure the proper movement of one’s teeth and bite alignment to provide you with a long-lasting beautiful, straight smile you can be proud of. Your smile is too important to cut corners on by experimenting with DIY braces.


If you or your child are in need of braces for a straight, beautiful smile, contact us today at Woodhill Dental Specialties to schedule an appointment.