A number of young people in the U.S. are resorting to a dangerous short cut to straight teeth by using cheap elastic bands, which dental experts have warned could cause gum damage and even teeth to fall out!
The online trend has grown in popularity as around 40 per cent of Americans do not have dental cover as part of their health insurance plan, while many (even some families with dental plans) are not covered for any procedures involving braces.
The increasingly-popular “gap band” trend sees teenagers tying small, cheap hair elastics around their teeth in a misguided effort to get perfect straight teeth.
But it really shouldn’t be a huge surprise to hear that the makeshift braces are incredibly dangerous and could result in very scary consequences.
YouTuber ‘singerforeverlove’ has a video called “Cheap easy braces!! Without going to the dentist!!!!!” that has now had more than 450,000 views. In it, she uses little elastics to basically tie her teeth together to close the gaps. She says, “It’s gonna hurt, especially the first few days but don’t [give up], because it’s totally worth it in the end!”
Except, you know, it isn’t. Although this video and many others like it make the cheap braces seem really easy, attempting to move your teeth yourself is actually not a great idea (who knew?).
You see, even though braces cost upwards of $5,000 in the United States, doctors warn that repairing the damage done by these “gap bands” could be much more expensive.
Speaking to Refinery29, Juan Rendon, DDS, MSD, of Jefferson Dental Clinics in Texas, said:
It seems very attractive that you could possibly move your own teeth, but when you move a tooth, the colour of the tooth might change because you are damaging the blood supply. You’re also going to have problems with your gums. When the gums are subject to pressure, the blood supply is cut [off], which changes the shape of the gums and can cause severe inflammation and infection.
Because of these effects, the practice can lead to bone loss, root damage and can even result in teeth simply falling out. So definitely avoid this one everyone!