The high risks of cheap DIY braces

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Trends come and go – and even in the world of cosmetic treatments, certain procedures can seek a sudden rise in popularity thanks very often to a celebrity endorsement or a makeover that’s in the media spotlight.

The fashion for tattoos, for example, is a good case in point – although this can also mean many regrets if we rush a decision and decide body art wasn’t for us, after all.

And, sometimes we may seek a cheaper route to staying on trend, by electing to have treatments from inappropriate people.

As we all know, unqualified or inexperienced people offering injectables or teeth whitening at a knock down price are inevitably bad news.

We only have to take a look at the images online to know that cheap is never cheerful and we risk our looks and our health by opting for a non-clinical or illegal approach to enhancements.

But what if the cheaper option looks genuine and clinical?

Recently a number of websites have appeared offering us a cheap and speedy route to teeth straightening.

By sending them a selfie – ‘You just need to submit six pictures in good light showing your teeth at varying angles for evaluation’ – one website promises premium cosmetic aligners delivered in as little as 16 weeks.

The British Orthodontic Society warns us to any treatment that cuts cost is a risk to our dental health and self-supervised teeth straightening can only mean a compromised result.

Our oral health expert, Christina Chatfield agrees. She owns the Dental Health Spa in Brighton.

She says: ‘I understand the lure of cheap and seemingly easier options for cosmetic dental treatments, but I would caution against anything that does not involve the supervision of a dental professional.

‘The problem with orthodontics – or teeth straightening – is that if you move teeth even slightly and the bite is not quite right, it can have an on-going impact on our dental health.

‘Even if the bite is out slightly, by a fraction of a millimetre in height, it can cause enormous pain, teeth fracture, headache – and may even affect the neck and spine.

‘The wrong bite can also lead to gum disease. Gum problem are very often exacerbated and if it creates hairline fractures in teeth, this traumatic occlusion can mean infection and, ultimately, root canal treatment to remedy the problem.’

She adds: ‘Dentistry gets a very bad press in terms of cost, but you’ll end up paying with your health if you consider DIY braces. It will also be far more expensive in the long run if you require treatment to remedy any problems it causes.

Christina says: ‘Speak to your dentist if you are thinking about teeth straightening. You may wish to consider short-term orthodontics but be warned, it’s not suitable for everyone and your dental clinic will advise.

‘Nothing beats a face-to-face consultation and opting for a quick fix can have a long-term detrimental effect.’
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