Teeners seeking perfect teeth warned on DIY braces craze
WHEN it comes to perfecting one’s looks at the least cost, common sense can be as scarce as hen’s teeth.
Or so proves the latest Internet craze among teenagers that, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned, can be risky and dangerous.
In an advisory, the regulatory body said the public should be cautious of do-it-yourself (DIY) braces or other suggestions to straighten teeth using rubber bands, dental floss and other objects which can easily be ordered online.
“Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of teeth and gums can increase the risk of infection and (cause) serious damage to the teeth and gums, including (the) permanent loss of teeth,” said the advisory signed by Health Secretary Janette Garin, who is also the acting director general of the FDA.
Aligning and straightening one’s teeth are medical procedures that need the personal supervision of an orthodontist to avoid the risks of expensive and lifelong dental problems, the FDA warned.
The regulatory agency said dental braces—devices used to improve dental health by aligning, straightening and positioning teeth with regard to a person’s bite fall under the dental specialty of orthodontics, the study and treatment of malocclusion or improper bite.
“Because of the risks involved, it would be beneficial for the public to be properly informed about the benefits and risks of any self-treatment situation such as do-it-yourself braces,” said the FDA advisory.
The FDA advised those with dental problems to seek the information they need only from professional practitioners, who have the knowledge, skill and experience to know what procedures are safe and which are risky.
YouTube has been inundated with videos of teenagers making DIY braces from elastic bands, paper clips or dental floss. Netizens have also posted pictures of themselves wearing elastic hair bands around their teeth in an attempt to close the gap between them.
According to reports, the trend is hugely popular in the United States, which has prompted the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) to issue a warning against such self-help orthodontic care.
In its consumer alert posted on its website www.aaoinfo.org, the AAO outlined signs that a student may be attempting DIY orthodontics, which include putting foreign objects around the teeth, including paper clips, rubber bands, dental floss or the backs of earrings glued to teeth to treat extruded upper front teeth; loose permanent teeth, especially the upper front teeth; swollen or bleeding gums, and unexplained oral or facial discomfort.
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