What Are the Risks of DIY Braces?

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Ever since YouTube started aiding people in learning and successfully completing DIY projects, there’s been a temptation to tackle more complex tasks to save money. While this approach works well for activities like learning crochet or painting your home, attempting to straighten your teeth shouldn’t be included in that list, just like performing surgery or juggling fire.

Whether you’re reading articles or watching online videos about the DIY braces trend, attempting at-home orthodontics using items like hair or rubber bands, elastic strings, earring backs, paper clips, glue, or 3D printer technology is risky. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), 39% of orthodontists who treated patients using DIY braces later required corrective and restorative procedures.

Potential Damage

Whether your goal is to align your teeth or close gaps between them, attempting DIY braces increases your risk of gum infection and damage to both teeth and bone. Tooth movement is a biological process, and improper handling can lead to a healthy tooth’s root being absorbed back into the body, resulting in tooth loss and possibly affecting multiple teeth.

Without the guidance of an expert orthodontist who knows your dental anatomy, attempting DIY braces means you have no control over the pressure levels needed to move teeth into position. Your teeth are not just connected to your gums but also to the blood supply, making you susceptible to infections, especially if you tear gum tissue that doesn’t heal properly. This can damage the connection between teeth and gums, leading to a loss of support. For instance, using a rubber band that slips and cuts into the attachment can compromise the necessary support.

DIY braces can lead to gum infections, tooth loss, jaw and bite problems, and long-term dental issues. Individuals who have tried DIY braces have reported experiencing bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching), shooting pains, problems with jaw joints, and muscle spasms.

Orthodontic Treatment

Using household items don’t work the same as braces designed for the task. Certified orthodontists use equipment that has passed rigorous testing standards to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Orthodontists complete education, training and hands-on experience, so they can accurately diagnose, supervise and implement the orthodontic process. By understanding how the jaw, mouth and tooth movement works together, they can avoid harm and ensure the teeth remain in place after straightening to prevent relapse.

Using household items is not equivalent to using braces designed specifically for the task. Certified orthodontists employ equipment that meets rigorous safety and effectiveness standards through extensive testing. They undergo education, training, and hands-on experience to accurately diagnose, supervise, and execute orthodontic procedures. By understanding how the jaw, mouth, and tooth movement interact, orthodontists can prevent harm and ensure that teeth remain properly aligned after treatment to prevent relapse.


An orthodontist assesses your teeth and gums to determine the best approach for straightening your teeth without causing harm to the gums or bone structure. This typically involves a thorough oral and facial analysis, examination of your dental records, capturing images (both intraoral and facial) and X-rays (panoramic and cephalometric), and creating models of your teeth and bite using impressions.

Developing a structured treatment plan ensures that the process of straightening your teeth improves rather than harms your oral health. The cost of replacing damaged or lost teeth is high and not worth the risk to save money in the short term. Safeguarding and investing in your healthy smile is as essential to your well-being as maintaining a healthy heart.

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The good news is, you don’t have to take the risk of DIY methods that could harm your health or your smile. Working with our orthodontist is a more cost-effective way to fix crooked or crowded teeth and improve your bite. This will ultimately give you a confident smile and boost your self-esteem. With a range of braces options available, from traditional to nearly invisible, our experienced orthodontist can safely straighten your teeth and correct your bite for a beautiful smile. Contact our office today to learn more!