Straightening your teeth can be an expensive and painful process, but some folks on YouTube are claiming you get the same results by making your own braces — a crazy internet trend that medical professionals say could actually make your teeth fall out of your mouth.
Here’s how it works: Taking small elastic bands, the kind used in hair styling, you can wraps the bands around the backs of her teeth and then tie them into a tight knot on the front of your teeth.
The idea is that, with repetition, tying the teeth will pull them together and close any gaps.
We don’t recommend it.
Take a closer look at the process in this video from YouTuber Stinehofstad entitled “DIY: Get straight teeth FREE, FAST at home!”
Stinehofstad uses dental floss, rather than elastic bands, to create a similar effect.
These two YouTubers aren’t along in their pursuit of the perfect grin. A quick search of YouTube for “DIY Braces” will yield instructional videos with hundreds of thousands of views. While the most popular videos are a few years old, the comments continue to roll in today.
The DIY braces trend is alive and well in 2015 among people looking for a cheap fix for their teeth, Refinery 29 reported earlier in August.
So does it work?
Stinehofstad claims she’s seen improvement in her teeth over the three years she’s been using DIY braces. If she stops wearing them, even for a few days, she says her teeth will start to shift back to their original positions.
She’s lucky that shifting has been the only side-effect. DIY braces, not surprisingly are quite dangerous.
In 2014, the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentalfacial Orthopedics issued a warning that DIY braces, also known as “gap bands,” could actually make your teeth fall out completely. In Thailand, where having a tin-grin is considered a fashion statement, there have even been deaths associated with fake braces, Vice reported.
DIY braces can also cut off the blood supply to your mouth, which can change the colour of your teeth, causing swelling and infection, Dr. Juan Rendon, of Jefferson Dental Clinics, explained to Refinery 29.
For now, it’s probably best to heed the advice of a commenter from singerforeverlove’s DIY video.
“I am a dentist,” the commenter writes. “Do not do this.”
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