For quite some time now, the idea of doing things yourself, commonly known as DIY, has been around. DIY was initially coined in the early 1900s in the context of home improvement. However, creating your items, like clothes, furniture, arts and crafts, and musical instruments, has been part of our traditions for even longer.
Unfortunately, do-it-yourself projects have gone to the next level of crazy, and some people—mostly teens—are taking orthodontic treatment into their own hands. We’re talking about DIY or “fashion braces.”
What is it with fashion or DIY braces that makes them a popular option, especially for teenagers?
In this article, our dentists at United Dental Care in Culver City warn about the ugly truth about wearing DIY braces. We'll also discuss why such a delicate process is attached to dental braces.
What do people think about fashion braces?
Two faculty members of the Department of Dental Public Health at King Abdulaziz University published a study that aimed to analyze Arabic Twitter posts related to fake braces.
The study used Twitter API with a computer program (Python) to look at tweets in Arabic. The authors focused on words like "fake braces" and "fashion braces" and collected tweets from January 1, 2020, to July 31, 2021.
They found that out of 788 tweets, 660 were ads. The other 128 tweets fell into four main categories: people saying no to fake braces (49.2%), people thinking about buying them (32.0%), people who used fake braces (14.1%), and people who were okay with the idea (4.7%). When we checked the feelings in the tweets, more than half (55.5%) were negative, with a lot of sarcasm (65.8%).
Even though many tweets said fake braces were a bad idea, a big chunk of them were ads supporting them.
The fact that a considerable portion of the remaining tweets expressed an intent to buy (32.0%) or acceptance of the idea (4.7%) suggests a noteworthy level of interest and approval within the online
Despite most tweets expressing a negative sentiment (55.5%), the coexistence of promotional content alongside more positive or contemplative discussions suggests diverse opinions within the online community.
This nuanced perspective highlights the need to address the prevalence of fake braces through comprehensive public awareness campaigns. It indicates that efforts should go beyond merely pointing out the risks associated with fake braces. It should also involve dispelling any positive or neutral perceptions that contribute to the popularity of these products. A mix of perspectives emphasizes the importance of providing a well-rounded understanding through awareness initiatives.
What drives the use of DIY braces?
Popular culture also continues to drive an increasingly aesthetically centric society. Sometimes, teens try out DIY or fashion braces to rock a look they've seen on celebrities, influencers, or friends who have the real deal. It's not just about the style; some use these alternatives to boost confidence and feel good about their image. Teenagers' desire for fashion braces stems from societal pressure to “belong” and get peer validation. You also have the following factors contributing to the increased popularity of fashion braces:
According to Delta Dental’s Cost Estimator, the out-of-network cost of an adolescent’s braces in Culver City can range from $ 5,500 to $7,300. This is way more expensive than those DIY braces bought online for $15 to $20.
DIY methods are a more affordable alternative for individuals, especially when promoted as cost-effective solutions in popular culture. Economic considerations may drive individuals to explore unconventional options without fully understanding the potential risks.
On the other hand, how a culture sees things and values can influence how people feel about unusual things like DIY orthodontics. If a culture is big on doing things independently or trying unique healthcare methods, some might embrace this practice to see how it goes.
Accessibility of information
Easy access to information has its downside – it can fuel the spread of misinformation and leave people in the dark about the risks of DIY orthodontics. Sometimes, the dangers get played down, making folks underestimate how crucial it is to have a pro guiding them and the possible fallout from trying to fix things on their own.
The dangers of wearing DIY braces
There are dangers to doing orthodontic procedures without an expert’s guidance. Orthodontists undergo extensive education and training to master the complexities of orthodontic treatment, a level of expertise far superior to DIY alternatives. Aside from infection, here are some possible dangers of wearing DIY braces.
Take David Campbell, for example. In an interview with KSDK News, Campbell said that he tried DIY braces, but his DIY braces turned into a near-permanent nightmare.
"Well, if we do it at night and wake up in the morning, the rubber band would have disappeared. Come to find out that the rubber bands wrapped around the root of my teeth. My teeth actually ended up dying, so then I had to wear a retainer with two teeth on it for eight to ten years."
Pain and discomfort
DIY braces are a trend that is more prevalent in some Asian countries than in the US. According to a report by CNBC, DIY braces are popular among teens in Thailand, Indonesia, and China, where braces are associated with a high-dollar lifestyle. The local media has reported similar orthodontic issues in the Philippines due to DIY braces.
Renz, who used DIY braces, said in an interview with KMJS, “I saw my friends putting it on. I got interested. I bought it. I tried it. Real dentists would ask for P21,000 ($375) for braces, but in the market, it's only for P500 ($9).”
Eventually, he experienced discomfort in his teeth, and they started shifting. What initially seemed aesthetically pleasing turned into an actual dreadful experience. Consequently, he decided to take off the homemade braces.
Bad breath and jaw problems
Another victim from the Philippines tried this trend at the cost of P5,000 ($90) after allegedly being approached by someone illegally carrying out DIY brace attachments.
She thought it was a good deal, especially since she had gaps in her teeth and had always wanted braces.
But things took a bad turn. After a few days, the victim couldn't eat properly because of the pain. Her breath started to smell, and the wire on her teeth began to rust.
A dentist warned her she could get tetanus if she didn't remove the braces soon. Scared by this, Sarah took them off right away. Sadly, it was too late.
Three of her teeth were so damaged that they had to be removed. Now, she had to spend even more to get dentures for the lost teeth.
Importance of consulting an orthodontist in Culver City
It is essential to recognize that denture fitting, orthodontics, and overall dental care involve experience and technical expertise. These processes require the expert oversight of trained professionals to guarantee optimal and regulated outcomes.
Undertaking such procedures at home is a no-go, as it can result in irreversible consequences and incurred expenses. Relying on online videos for these matters jeopardizes your oral and mental health.
When you're thinking about orthodontic care you can rely on, visit us at United Dental Care. Trust our dedicated orthodontists with your dental journey; we guarantee you'll have a bright, healthy smile.