DIY dentistry has become big business recently, thanks to companies marketing products like “gap bands” and YouTube videos offering demonstrations on everything from extractions to teeth straightening. For some, the perceived high cost of dentistry turns them to do-it-yourself options, but these so-called treatments can actually end up costing more pain and money than professional services.
Suffolk County cosmetic dentists Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot caution against DIY dental procedures to avoid pain, tooth loss and other serious complications.
One of the biggest trends is at-home teeth straightening using elastic rubber bands. One company, GapBands.com, sells products specifically for this purpose. Some of the Youtube video demonstrations are getting thousands of hits, concerning dental professionals that a serious problem may be looming.
While elastic bands might offer fast improvement in closing gaps between teeth, the benefits will be short-lived, according to dental experts. When teeth are moved quickly, they are also much more likely to move back to their original position after the elastic bands are removed. In addition, the irregular shape of teeth can create a serious risk of tooth loss, if those elastic bands manage to pull the tooth away from the bone. In fact, early methods of extraction involved placing a band around the affected tooth and leaving it on until the band finally worked the tooth out of the mouth.
Some companies, including SmileCareClub and Crystal Braces have also instituted mail-order orthodontic services. Individuals are invited to take their own dental impressions and send them back to the company with photos of their teeth uploaded from a Smartphone. The company will then craft a series of plastic aligners that are touted as similar to Invisalign. Unfortunately, this service does not include one-on-one patient monitoring throughout the straightening process that is essential to a safe and successful orthodontic treatment.
In January of this year, the American Association of Orthodontists issued a consumer alert, warning about the risks associated with DIY dentistry. The organization warned consumers that by using these products, they could be putting “their teeth, gums and bones of the jaw in harm’s way.” The warning also stated, “The American Association of Orthodontists is committed to consumer health and safety and urges anyone considering any type of teeth straightening procedure to see an orthodontic specialist.”
Orthodontists and cosmetic dentists go through many years of training to prepare for their profession. In addition to the cosmetic side of the job, these professionals are specially trained to identify and diagnose dental and facial irregularities, as well as potential diseases of the mouth, gums and teeth. Offices are also equipped to provide safe and comfortable treatments, using medication and sedation dentistry when necessary. As the warning from the American Association of Orthodontists states, “No two patients are alike and there simply is not a risk-free, at-home, one-size-fits-all option.”
Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot are experienced cosmetic dentists who can assess your individual situation and find a solution that meets your needs and budget. They also offer payment plans and financing options to ensure their services are affordable to all Rocky Point residents. To learn more or to arrange a free consultation, contact Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry at 631-296-0602.
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