Crooked Reality: Looking into the Trend of DIY Braces

Woman with braces

The advent of 3D printing technology has caused people to buy and attach their own braces without professional help. According to dental experts, the danger is deeper than crooked teeth. Putting on DIY braces without professional supervision may cause you to lose your precious pearly whites. If worse comes to worst, you could end up with a mouth infection, as well. Yikes.

Here’s what you need to know about the homemade braces craze.

Amos Dudley’s Self-Designed Aligners

One of the influencers of the DIY braces hype is digital design student Amos Dudley. In a 2016 interview with CNN Money, Dudley showed off his dental ‘skills’ by revealing that he crafted his pair of clear aligners. He made the braces because he wanted to correct his crooked teeth from his previous misuse of a retainer.

Dudley designed his own set of clear braces by scanning his teeth and running the necessary calculations orthodontists use. He manufactured 12 sets of clear aligners through his school’s 3D printer. Each set anticipated the changes his teeth needed to go through as time went on.

Dudley was successful in aligning his teeth using his DIY method. His story went viral. He even got requests from other people to print braces for them. He declined, saying that there’s “too much liability” and that he doesn’t want to make it a business.

The Dangers of DIY Braces

Braces

If you search for “DIY Braces” on YouTube, you’ll find plenty of videos of children and teenagers providing instructions on how to fix crooked teeth. They often use straightening kits from dental retailers. Some even use household items like hair bands and fishing wire – which became a big cause for concern among dental professionals.

In an interview with NBC2, Dr. Phil Kraver explained that the methods and materials kids use in their videos could cause severe damage to teeth, gums, and jaw. These homemade methods can make your teeth more crooked and even fall out. Problems like these could intensify as damaged gums become vulnerable to infection from the household materials used in the videos. As with any medical procedure, it’s best to consult a professional.

As tempting as DIY braces may be, not everyone is as smart – or as lucky – as Amos Dudley. Creating your own set of aligners or metal braces just isn’t worth the damage they might cause. A Google image search of “DIY braces gone wrong” should be enough warning. After all, braces are more than just for improving your looks. They correct your bite and your digestion as you get to chew your food better.

When your teeth are aligned properly, they leave little space for bacteria to grow. They’re easier to brush, helping you prevent further oral problems.

Get the help of a dental professional for braces or aligners. Many clinics offer free dental consultations. It’s important to know your options for braces straight from an orthodontist. They review your dental records and assess X-rays of your mouth to make a proper treatment plan.

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