The dangerous trend of DIY orthodontics is all over social media, with teens in Southeast Asia seemingly spearheading the move, desperate to have perfect, Hollywood teeth at no cost.
Dental insurance in Asia is very different than in the United States, but quality orthodontics in any part of the world is an investment. As teens, perhaps without access to affordable dental care and with no means of creating payment plans themselves, the quest for ideal teeth has led to some hazardous creativity. Orthodontists and dentists knew the end results would be disastrous, and now it’s become evident on (once again) social media.
There’s a reason getting orthodontics, whether braces or Invisalign, is a lengthy process. It requires initial X-rays, expert placement of medical/dental equipment and routine checkups and adjustments. Teens who bypass all of that and simply put wires around their teeth in an attempt to straighten them is like performing surgery on yourself. Now these DIYers are stuck with permanent and possibly dangerous dental problems.
A Lot to Lose
When this trend first began, teens thought that not only were they getting the procedure for free and skipping all those appointments, but also that they could get pro results faster. However, legitimate orthodontics takes an average of two years. Moving teeth too quickly can lead to tooth loss (which is, of course, permanent). The cost of dental implants is often much higher than orthodontics, which is yet another tough blow in this dental game of Russian roulette.
So far, social media and news images have depicted advanced tooth decay, lesions on the gums, and lead poisoning, all as a result of these orthodontic experiments. The Philippine Dental Association (PDA) has released a plea to the public, warning about DIY orthodontics: “It is of high probability that self-installation of the so-called do-it-yourself products will lead to potential injury to the user in the absence of professional supervision.”
The PDA is asking anyone who knows of illegal dentistry to report it to the police, but so far nobody has provided any leads.
In the United States, many dental insurance policies cover orthodontic treatment (at least in part). Otherwise, patients can look to financing options and other means of paying for orthodontics. Trying to DIY orthodontics is one way of saving money that should be avoided.
However, teens are determined. In some cases, such as when they attempt to straighten “just one tooth,” parents may not even notice the wiring the kids have installed. If you have teens, talk to them about orthodontics, their options if they’re interested and the dangers of DIY braces.
A better approach? Schedule a free consultation with your local orthodontic experts and see if braces or Invisalign is right for you. Call Johnson Elite Orthodontics today to schedule an appointment for you or your teen.