- People are using rubber bands to close gaps between their teeth on TikTok.
- Experts warn using this “hack” can cause permanent damage and even pull out your teeth.
- TikTokers say they use the rubber band method to save money on costly dental procedures.
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Videos show young TikTok users, many of them teens, wrapping rubber bands tightly around their teeth to reduce the appearance of gaps.
While the hack appears to work in some of the videos, the long-term consequences could permanently damage your teeth and cause them to fall out, dentists say.
Applying too much force on a tooth to shift its placement can cause tooth loss
Shifting your teeth with rubber bands may close your gap in the short term, but it’s only a temporary solution in the best case scenario, dentists say.
“When you stop using the bands, your teeth are gonna shift right back,” Dr. Zainab Mackie, a Detroit dentist with 880,000 followers, said in a video commenting on the trend.
She also said using the rubber bands to close your gap can make you lose your teeth by squeezing your tooth out as it slips up into your gum.
“When you move your teeth too fast, that can cause damage,” Mackie said in another TikTok. “If the band slides up, that can hurt the attachment of the teeth to the gums, causing tooth loss.”
Experts suggest getting composite bonding to fill the gap in your teeth if you don’t want braces, rather than using rubber bands.
“If you can’t get braces or really don’t want to get them for whatever reason, dental bonding is a safer compromise where they fill the gap with dental material to make it look like the gap is closed,” orthodontist Dr. Brad Podray, also known as @thyrants on TikTok, said in a reply video.
Many dental hacks on TikTok emerge as cheap and dangerous alternatives to professional procedures
Like the risky trend of making dentures out of InstaMorph beads, the rubber band trend emerged as a way to save money on dental work, which can be expensive and inaccessible for many people.
According to the University of Illinois Chicago, over 23% of people in the US have no form of dental coverage. Because dental work can be costly, having no insurance can make it impossible for many people to access quality care.
Rather than turning to dangerous hacks, dentists previously told Insider patients should go to charity clinics or dental clinics with sliding scale prices in order to access quality care.