Social Media and Dental Health: A Cautionary Tale of Innovation and Healthcare

dentist materials

A healthy and happy smile speaks volumes. For people who weren’t born with perfect teeth, they have the option of visiting a reputable dentist and could either be fitted with braces or veneers. However, there are people who fear visiting a dental clinic, and sometimes explore other means to care for their teeth. For some, this means using home-made dental braces. And while it is mostly predominant in countries outside of the United States, it is every bit a danger to anyone’s dental health.

According to Dentaly.org, custome-made dental braces have become a trend in young and impressionable teens, mostly because wearing braces would usually equate to economic prosperity in some cultures. Added to that, the likes of Gen Z influencers, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio have paraded the gold braces trend on Tik Tok, as well as a number of DIY tooth gem videos. Dental accessories have become another form of showcasing one’s personality and sense of style. These days, teens can now opt for more aesthetically pleasing alternatives than traditional dental experience.

But custom-made braces could mean home-made braces for some, and here is where the danger lies.

How can you get fake braces?

Tik Tok has become a hotbed for dangerous trends such as the blackout challenge. However, the DIY brace challenge has become a cause of concern for medical doctors and parents everywhere. These fake braces can be made from a wire piece with brackets that resemble real braces that you can get from your orthodontist.

The materials for these braces can be found in any home, but people are strongly advising against following the trend. According to Colgate, doing so may cause irreversible damage to your teeth and will have long term ill effects on your oral health.

These so-called “DIY braces” or fake braces use a piece of wire with brackets glued to your teeth. This wire is bent to fit the teeth’s exterior, which is then clipped around the two back molars for support. Multicolored rubber bands support the fake braces, and the “brackets” are usually small plastic or metal shapes. Unlike real braces, wearers can have these fitted personally or by local beauty salons and unauthorized vendors.

Young teenagers have taken to social media platforms, such as YouTube and Tik Tok to post these videos on DIY braces. Many of these videos gain a lot of likes from their followers and viewers, commenting on how easy and cost-effective the procedures are.

Many of these young teens tell their viewers that they don’t have to shell out huge amounts of money to get braces, all they need is some rubber bands and the metal brackets. This sweeping trend has become a cause of concern for dentists everywhere.

While legit braces that you can get from a reputable clinic can cost an average of $2500 to $13000, a set of fake braces can cost less than $100. While both price points are way off from each other, the fake brace is meant to be just an accessory for your teeth and nothing more. Fake braces will not straighten your teeth.

There are more cons than pros when you wear fake braces. Mostly, wearers are unaware of the dangers until it is too late. Here are some of the dangers you face when you don’t visit a dentist for your braces.

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You can be poisoned from toxic materials.

These braces are made from cheap materials, such as cheap rubber and metals that contain lead. These materials are toxic and can lead to poisoning or even death.

Fake braces may cause your teeth to shift.

It would be best if you always let your teeth be done by a professional. These ill-fitting braces may cause your teeth to shift and may cause your teeth to be even more crooked than they were before.

It may cause tooth decay and discoloration.

Using adhesives could discolor teeth, especially since they are not meant for dental needs. These adhere to the teeth and can damage tooth enamel. The adhesive can also dig deep into the tooth and cause teeth discoloration over time.

Inflammation and Infection.

Fake braces may lead to mouth sores for the wearer that can become infected over time. These inflammations can get worst over time and might require surgery to stop the spread.

Investing in fake braces can lead to serious consequences for your oral health, and will take a toll on your well-being and self-confidence. In the long run, remember that no amount of money saved will be worth it if the ill effects outweigh the advantages. Talk to your local orthodontist if they can work on a payment plan that will fit well within your budget.

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