Orthodontists in the Tampa, Fla. area — and nationwide — are advising people it is a terrible idea to use dental floss, rubber bands and various discount contraptions from the Internet to remove gaps between teeth.
The Daily Caller is not making this up.
“I think it’s crazy,” Tampa orthodontist Mark Goodnight told local CBS affiliate WTSP.
“At first I didn’t believe they were real. I thought it was just something you read on the Internet. I kept researching and couldn’t believe anyone would try this,” Goodnight added.
The orthodontist said he has treated patients who tried — and failed — to use rubber bands as do-it-yourself, quick-fix braces.
“I was not able to correct it without pulling permanent teeth,” he told the station, adding that the patient opted to live with the results rather than “pull perfectly good teeth.”
In addition to creating cosmetic problems, do-it-yourself braces can also cause serious infections and tooth loss.
“The odds are you will do some damage to your mouth long term,” Goodnight also told WTSP. “You could spend way more than what orthodontics would cost if you end up losing a tooth.”
Teenagers frequently try to use rubber bands and dental floss to move their teeth around.
A number of pre-packaged products are available on Amazon which claim to fix teeth gaps. One example is the “Orthodontic Elastic Gap Teeth Bands & Floss” from a company called GAPFIX.
The GAPFIX teeth bands — available for the low, low price of $6.99 — receive an overall rating of four stars (with 88 total reviews).
“Skip getting braces and try this simple solution,” advises one happy reviewer.
“If I could, I’d give the seller the warmest hug he/she has ever been giving and thank them for finally being able to smile,” beams another.
The biggest complaint about the bands is how much they hurt. Even happy users warn to expect teeth to be “sore as helllll.” “On a scale of 1-10 for pain I’d rate it a 5.5 or 6,” that user counsels.
One-star reviewers focus on the pain and say the bands don’t help to boot.
The process “irritates” your gums “to the point of throbbing,” warns one user.
“They hurt real bad and I’ve been using them for a month and a half now and still no results,” says another.
“I actually had to bite into an apple to snap the band in order to get it out of my mouth because it wasn’t moving when I tried to pull it down,” recalls a third.
In January, the American Association of Orthodontists distributed a consumer alert cautioning people to avoid such products.
“Aligning jaws, straightening teeth and correcting bites should begin with a comprehensive examination by an orthodontist, not with a few clicks on a computer screen and not without the supervision of a qualified dental professional,” the alert advised. “Throughout orthodontic treatment, and through regularly scheduled appointments, orthodontists assess the movement of teeth, bone and soft tissue, and make the necessary adjustments to advance the process.”