South Anchorage Dental Center


May 5, 2017
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The videos have been all over YouTube — mostly among kids and young people, showing how to make do-it-yourself, or DIY, braces using rubber bands, bobby pins, paper clips, and even aluminum foil.

Just one video gave a Fresno girl the idea to create brackets with earring backs. The girl, Gabby (age 12), is now under the care of a professional after attempting to try these do-it-yourself braces to straighten her teeth.

“I felt really insecure about my gap between my teeth so I started doing it.”

It also happens to be a trend that is becoming more common in Gabby’s peer circle.

“I heard it around, kids talking about it — so I ended up looking it up and then trying it.”

Gabby checked out a video on YouTube which explained how earring backs could be used as “brackets” for the teeth, to give off the illusion of real braces.  Dr. John Bayrakdarian described in more detail how Gabby made her DIY braces.

“She did put earring clasps on her front four teeth and she did use super glue to put them on. And from far behind it looks like braces but actually they are not.”

Just a few days afterward, the pain began and Gabby told her mother, who brought her immediately to the doctor to have the fake braces taken off.

“We see how the rubber band is going all around her 10 teeth on the top. And what’s happening here is that the rubber band is getting embedded in the gum tissue here,” said Dr. Bayrakdarian.

Dr. Bayrakdarian reported that fortunately, Gabby’s teeth did not suffer long-term consequences from the do-it-yourself braces, but the high risk can be extreme — teeth can be lost in the process.

“It reaches the periodontal ligament that holds the teeth to the bone. And once this periodontal ligament and the blood supply is damaged, and then the tooth gets loose.”

The American Association of Orthodontists recently warned the public of these faux braces after noticing a disturbing uptick.

Dr. Bayrakdarian also warns parents to watch out and make sure their kids aren’t engaging in this trend.

“See if there’s anything new going on there. Sometimes they do it secretly. If they’re using certain types of rubber bands or things like that, be aware.”

Doctors have pointed out that one of the causes of this trend is the cost of real braces. However, Dr. Bayrakdarian says that it costs more to fix the damage done by fake braces — and sometimes the damage lasts a lifetime. There are also many financial plan options out there to help families afford braces.

Gabby doesn’t mind smiling now that she has REAL braces and her teeth aren’t being damaged.

The American Association of Orthodontists report that replacing a lost tooth costs $20,000 over a lifetime.

South Anchorage Dental Center offer Invisalign trays to help straighten teeth without having the embarrassment of braces. If you are interested in learning more, request a free evaluation (x-rays are additional). Make your appointment today.

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