Kids do the darndest things. And when it comes to their health, darndest things are the last thing you want.
A disturbing trend in do-it-yourself-braces is sweeping the nation.
"Today, we are going to make fake braces," said one young girl on her YouTube channel.
That's right, she's talking about making fake braces. But orthodontists warn that this is a bad idea.
But some people, mostly kids, are doing it anyway using rubber bands, aluminum foil, and even paper clips. Some even do it with an adult nearby that just doesn't understand how unsafe it is.
"The chances of [bad things] happening are very very minimum. I'm not a dentist so I'm giving you my personal experience. Just understand that you are taking a risk by trying this. It's the method I found that causes the least damage to your gums," said one YouTuber, who admits to not being a dentist and gives four good reasons why you shouldn't do it.
"Don't use your teeth as tools. Everybody knows that. Now we are having to tell people don't use your teeth as toys," said Dr. "Bud" Luecke of Braceland Orthodontics, where they're all shook up about those do-it-yourself YouTube videos. "I love D-I-Y. Everybody should plant a tree in their front yard, but if you are going to dig a hole make sure you know what's underneath."
"I get why they are doing it. They want braces. Maybe they're at a time where they can't afford braces and they want to fit in, but I definitely would not encourage that," Leslie Evans said.
Dr. Bud also said that an X-ray is a must before performing any procedure involving fixing your teeth.
"These are the teeth you can see in this person's mouth,” said Dr. Bud, pointing at the part of the teeth most flash with a smile. “But underneath, there's other teeth that you can't see without an x-ray.”
One of the more popular do-it-yourself braces techniques are to place a rubber band around two front teeth to bring those teeth together if there's a gap. But that could cause a whole host of problems. The rubber band could end up in the gum causing an infection, the rubber band could end up around the roots of the permanent teeth causing them to fall out, or the teeth could move in a way to make those roots touch the crowns of other teeth, also making you lose the permanent teeth.
"If you lose a tooth, it costs thousands of dollars more to replace it than it does if you just did it right the first time," Dr. Bud said.
"I feel like you are already throwing money out the window when you could just get it done and get it done right the first time," Evans said.
So don't be a fool and don't let your kids play with their teeth.
"It's a beautiful thing for the baby teeth to lose their roots and fall out, but not good if it's a permanent tooth that loses its route and falls out," Dr. Bud said. "Physicians say a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient."