Midland Reporter Telegram: Orthodontists warn against DIY teeth straightening

In today’s connected world, some turn to the internet to learn how to complete projects. But local orthodontists are concerned about a recent trend: video tutorials showing do-it-yourself teeth straightening.

Dr. Beau Boren of Compton and Boren Orthodontics said those who watch the demonstrations may not understand the consequences, such as tooth loss. He encourages people interested in straightening their teeth to seek professional treatments.

“It’s not as simple as it looks moving teeth where they need to be,” Boren said. “The body is dynamic.”

Boren said the videos often feature advice from children and teenagers and not orthodontists.

“They have no experience in that area,” Boren said. “So now it’s almost like doing surgery by yourself and not going to a surgeon.”

Though Boren hasn’t treated patients who attempted to straighten their own teeth, other orthodontists have. Survey results released this year from the American Association of Orthodontists revealed nearly 13 percent of member orthodontists see patients who have tried do-it-yourself practices, according to a press release.

Some materials patients used were rubber bands, dental floss, fishing line and paper clips, according to the release.

Dr. David Turner, who practices in Odessa, said he hasn’t seen a do-it-yourself case in more than 15 years. But with the popularity of online videos, he wants people to know the benefits of turning to local experts.

“Every orthodontist first of all is a dentist,” Turner said. “We’re all graduates of dental school. Orthodontic programs are highly competitive. To be in a residency, you have to be at the top of your class.”

The Texas Association of Orthodontists echoed the importance of orthodontic training in a press release. In response to the national survey, TAO President Dr. Jesse Teng said straightening one’s own teeth could be costly and cause irreparable damage.

“While DIY is a worthy goal for making birthday cakes and painting homes, it definitely is not one for orthodontic work,” Teng said in the release.

Locally, Boren thinks there’s potential for the teeth-straightening video tutorials to capture attention due to the popularity of social media.

“It’s a quick fix,” Boren said. “There’s a rumor that braces take a long time.”

For those who think treatment options are out of reach, Boren wants them to know payment plans are available.

People can also wait to receive orthodontic treatment, according to Turner.

“In our practice, we have a lot of people in high school and young adults in their 20s,” Turner said. “We have older patients, too. It might be a goal someone has. Maybe they can’t do it in high school, and they do it later in life.”

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