You may have heard the story about the kid who designed and 3D printed aligners for straightening his teeth. While very impressive that a high school student came up with this, it is not something I would recommend anyone doing. There can be some very serious consequences to trying any sort of active orthodontic treatment on yourself. This includes causing damage to the roots of the teeth or creating a situation that is far worse than what you started with. Here are some of the DIY orthodontics that I REALLY discourage you from trying…
Rubber bands or dental floss to close gaps – Several bloggers online have documented how they used rubber bands around their teeth to close gaps. This is arguably the most dangerous type of DIY orthodontics that I’ve seen. There have been several reported cases where the rubber bands have slipped below the gum-line and worked their way up the roots of the teeth, destroying the bone around them in the process. Once this has happened, the teeth can’t be saved and have to be extracted!
Fake braces with superglue and wire – I don’t quite understand this trend but there are some websites that show you how to use superglue and paperclips or other wire to make it look like you have braces on. Again, just don’t do it. Putting superglue on your teeth is a terrible idea and in the worst case scenario, if the wire puts force on your teeth, it can move them somewhere you don’t want!
Taking braces off yourself – Sometimes I see people who started braces with the orthodontist and didn’t finish. They end up pulling off the wires and brackets themselves. So why is this bad? The brackets are physically bonded to your tooth surface. If you use pliers or some other instrument to remove them, you risk damaging your enamel. On the other end of the spectrum, you will oftentimes leave quite a bit of the bonding material on your teeth. This material becomes a food trap and can possibly lead to cavities. Get a dentist or orthodontist to take them off!
Having said all that, I do have some recommendations for retainers and home clear aligner therapy.