Doctors warn against do-it-yourself braces

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Friday, March 10, 2017
Doctors warn against DIY braces
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ABC's Linzie Janis has the latest details.

Do-it-yourself projects are becoming increasingly popular, and they can range from home improvement to homemade beauty products. But a new trend is turning orthodontics into a DIY project, with some people resorting to rubber bands and paper clips to try and fix their teeth at home.

And experts warn it's a bad idea.

Doctors say they've seen an increase in patients who have tried the at-home braces, which recently gained traction on social media with teens making videos that capture attempts to correct their smile.

But going the cheap route can cause serious infection and damage to the teeth and gums, which could end up costing significantly more than traditional braces in the long run.

"In the end, you'll be paying double to correct all of the mistakes that you've made," Dr. Nancy Rose said.

The American Association of Orthodontists reported that 13 percent of its members are seeing patients who have tried DIY teeth straightening.

"When you make a visit to the orthodontist to make a repair, sometimes the damage is not repairable," Dr. Dewayne McCamish said.

The numbers are so alarming that the organization has reissued a PSA warning of the dangers.