You’re tired of looking in the mirror and not seeing the straight teeth you’ve always wanted. However, after having been self-conscious about your smile for years, you’re now ready to turn your pearly whites into a Hollywood smile. Even if it means devising your own do-it-yourself, or DIY, teeth-straightening strategy.
Not so fast, though. Research from 2017 shows that 13% of surveyed orthodontists who were members of the American Association of Orthodontists reported seeing patients who had tried DIY methods for straightening teeth. Sadly, some of these patients ended up with irreparable damage.
Rather than trying to straighten your teeth on your own, it is generally best to have a dentist perform this complex job for you. Here’s a rundown on why you shouldn’t take a DIY approach to teeth straightening and how a reputable dentist can help you with this task.
The Trend of DIY Teeth Straightening
The trend of DIY teeth straightening is growing among adults and children due to the advent of related video tutorials on social media platforms. According to these videos, various household items, ranging from paper clips to rubber bands, dental floss, and fishing line, can be used to straighten their teeth.
DIY methods, like biting on a pencil, have also been touted in such videos. However, these DIY approaches can have devastating consequences. Why? Because self-directed teeth straightening places your gums and teeth at risk. If you try to move your teeth without undergoing a comprehensive examination of your oral health, this could lead to permanent damage to your teeth or even to the loss of your pearly whites.
You might think you are saving both money and time by attempting to straighten your own teeth. However, the damage you may do to yourself during your unsupervised treatment could end up costing you more money and time to fix. To prevent this and thus save you some tears, consider seeing a dentist from the start.
What a Dentist Can Do for You If You Want to Straighten Your Teeth
A dentist can help you straighten your teeth using either traditional metal braces or clear aligners.
With braces, a dentist places a wire into brackets that are fixed on the patient’s teeth. Then, when the wire begins to change shape, the patient’s teeth move along with it. The dentist can easily adjust the wire’s material, shape, and size to facilitate the movements.
On the contrary, if you choose clear aligners, such as SureSmile, your dentist will design for you a custom treatment based on your initial exam and consultation, as well as a virtual reproduction of your teeth. The plan will spell out how many aligners you will have. The plan will also address how quickly your teeth should move and how much they should move.
You may end up changing your aligners about once per week; regular checkups will help to determine when you need new clear trays. As long as your aligners continue to fit well and your teeth are shifting properly, your treatment will continue as planned. However, if any modification is necessary, your dentist can tailor it to you.
Benefits of Using Clear Aligners
A key benefit of clear aligners over traditional metal braces is that they are virtually invisible. This makes them the perfect solution for any patient who isn’t crazy about other people seeing their braces. In addition, the cost of clear aligners is comparable to that of traditional braces.
Clear aligners also offer the benefit of being a relatively comfortable treatment. It’s also a quick treatment, as your treatment plan will likely last about six to eight months.
Yet another reason to choose clear aligners is that they are extremely flexible compared with traditional braces. For instance, you can easily remove them to floss and brush each day. Likewise, you can take them out if you need to wear a sports mouthguard for a couple of hours, or if you need to give an important presentation.
On top of this, you don’t have to worry about having your devices adjusted. And you don’t need to worry about making changes to your diet to accommodate your aligners, either.
Still, note that clear aligners usually aren’t recommended for kids. These aligners shouldn’t be considered for a patient until their permanent teeth have come in. In addition, if you choose aligners, you will generally need to wear them for around 20 to 22 hours per day. These trays should not be worn during meals.
When to See a Dentist to Straighten Your Teeth
As a general rule of thumb, a child should be evaluated for teeth-straightening treatment at the age of 7. If a dentist determines that a child would benefit from treatment, they can begin the process of mapping out an effective and safe treatment plan for the child.
If you are an adult and are ready to straighten your teeth, you can simply set up an appointment to see your dentist right away. Teeth straightening is ideal for patients whose front teeth don’t touch, who have dental crowding, or whose front teeth aren’t spaced properly.
Seeing your dental professional, rather than attempting DIY orthodontics, is critical if you are serious about straightening your teeth in a productive and safe way long-term.
Protect Your Teeth By Entrusting Them to a Dentist Today
You’ve wanted straight teeth for so long that you’ve recently contemplated trying to straighten your teeth yourself. Unfortunately, if you fall prey to the “hacks” found in online videos, you could seriously damage your mouth and, in turn, your self-esteem long-term.
Fortunately, straightening your teeth with a dentist’s help has never been easier, thanks to industry advancements, such as clear aligners. And the long-term results of your dentist’s work can keep you feeling self-confident for years to come. Leave teeth straightening to the professionals by setting up a consultation with an expert in cosmetic dentistry today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Joey Velasquez from Pixabay.