Shocker: DIY Braces Will Make Your Teeth Fall Out

Way back when I was a wee lass, I really, really wanted a retainer. I’m not sure why. Maybe some older, cool girl at school had one and I came to associate the metal line through her smile as, like, chic or something. Anyway, my best friend and I would use paperclips to DIY our own retainer-ed look, bending the metal around our gapped tween teeth and smiling in front of the mirror, ignoring the aching pressure it produced. Less than a year later, I actually got braces (and eventually a retainer) and quickly realized how fucking insane I was to covet a mouth full of metal.

Nowadays, orthodontics have evolved so that braces and retainers are pretty much invisible, but teenagers have clearly not gotten any smarter, and now they have YouTube as a resource. That’s where you’ll find tutorials for DIY braces that promise to help you “get straight teeth FREE, FAST at home!” How? Using hair elastics, DUH. Basically, the instructions involve wrapping small elastics around the teeth and then tightening them in a knot in front; done repeatedly over a period of time supposedly moves the teeth and fixes a crooked smile. Too bad experts say it’s dangerous. You don’t say!

Doctors say these DIY braces, also known as gap bands, cut off the blood flow to the mouth, resulting in swelling and discolored teeth. Oh, and in 2014, the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentalfacial Orthopedics issued a warning that this DIY method could actually make your teeth fall out completely. NOT CUTE, kiddies.

So yeah, DIY braces are bad. Frankly, regular braces are kind of bullshit too, unless your bite is really bad, your mouth is super crowded, or your smile really is that Steve Buscemi-esque. Much better to just accept your teeth the way they are, or learn to smile with your mouth closed without looking like a creep. [Tech Insider]