If your young teen refuses to see a professional orthodontist for care and chooses to wear homemade rubber bands on their teeth instead, you may wonder what you can do to change their mind. While some dental trends can be helpful and beneficial to your family's dental health, such as whitening your teeth, other trends can be dangerous, including wearing homemade braces. Here's how homemade braces damage your teen's teeth and jaws, some reasons why your teen my be choosing to wear homemade braces, and what you can do to help them straighten their teeth safely.
How Can Homemade Braces Harm Your Teen's Teeth and Jaws?
A number of teens obtain the instructions they need to make homemade braces from popular online sites, such as Youtube and social media platforms. Other teens may acquire the information from students in their school. No matter how your teen learned how to make their own braces, it's essential that your teen knows how real braces work and how fake braces harm their teeth, gums and jaws.
Traditional orthodontic treatments are designed to straighten teeth gradually with arch wires, brackets and elastic bands. The treatments generally move teeth into their new positions by placing tension on them. To accommodate and support the new teeth placements, the jawbones grow extra tissue. Most orthodontic treatments take two years or slightly longer to complete. During that time, patients typically visit their orthodontist for checkups and adjustments. An orthodontist uses the visits to monitor the braces to see if they're moving teeth properly or if any problems arise, such as cavities or loose brackets and wires.
Your teen won't receive the great care mentioned above when they do their own orthodontic treatment. This places your loved one at risk for gum infections, tooth decay and jawbone problems. For instance, regular rubber bands may cut or injure your teen's gums if they snap loose in the mouth. The bands may also cause pain and inflammation in your loved one's gums and other tissues if they place too much stress on them. It's also possible for your teen to lose teeth and bone tissue from their fake braces.
One of the ways to straighten your loved one's teeth safely and properly is to find out why they want to use fake braces in the first place.
What Can You Do to Help Your Young Teen?
While it may be difficult to do so, try to find out why your loved one needs to wear homemade braces. Sometimes, teens follow trends because it's "cool" to do so. Their friends may already wear rubber bands on their teeth and may suggest that your loved one do so as a way to fit in.
Some teens, and even adults, may feel uncomfortable wearing traditional braces because of how they may think the appliances will look on them, especially if the braces are metal. There are a number of misconceptions about how metal braces make people appear. For instance, your teen may think that traditional braces will make them look ugly when they smile. They might think that people will only see metal, wires and strange bands. Although metal braces can be visible, they don't have to be ugly.
In most cases, a pediatric orthodontist can place braces with thin metal archwires on your teen's teeth during the placement. The brackets are also smaller in size than the brackets used in the past. Your loved one can also request that a dentist add colorful bands, such as pink or blue, to their brackets. The brackets themselves can be modified into unique shapes, such as hearts, diamonds and bears.
If your teen still feels uncomfortable about wearing metal braces, an orthodontist may offer clear appliances that work just as well as metal. Clear braces can blend in with your loved one's teeth, which reduces the braces' appearance when your teen smiles. You and your teen can ask an orthodontist about clear appliances when you visit their office.
For more information about teen orthodontics and the dangers of fake braces, contact a pediatric orthodontist, such as those at Cobbe Dental & Orthodontics, today.