AAO to Patients: Don't Try Do-It-Yourself Orthodontics

August 21, 2015
Jared Kaltwasser

When it comes to fixing teeth spacing, the American Association of Orthodontists has a clear message: Don't try this at home.

When it comes to fixing teeth spacing, the American Association of Orthodontists has a clear message: Don’t try this at home.

The organization has launched a public service announcement ad campaign warning patients of the serious damage that can occur with do-it-yourself dental procedures. The ads are in response to a spate of new products, do-it-yourself YouTube videos and online tutorials that purport to solve problems like gaps between front teeth without the aid of a dental professional.

Trying such methods is only asking for trouble, the AAO says.

“The AAO is committed to the health and safety of the public, and I urge anyone considering any type of teeth straightening procedure to see an orthodontic specialist,” said Morris N. Poole, DDS, the AAO’s president.

Such at-home remedies include $5 rubber bands that supposedly will pull teeth closer together, or dental floss techniques designed to do the same. Even if they succeed in closing a gap, the AAO warns they could cause changes in the bite or simply create other gaps. They also warn of the dangers of forgotten rubber bands and the possibility that such techniques could eventually require the patient to undergo much more extensive and costly dental procedures to fix the problem.

The 18,000-member organization makes a point of noting that orthodontists receive additional training to become specialists in their field.

The ads are set to run on radio and television stations, but they’re also available on YouTube. Below is the 60-second version of the TV spot.

The ads refer viewers and listeners to the AAO’s website, where they can search for an orthodontist in their area.

“The risks associated with ‘do it yourself’ orthodontics can, and should be, avoided,” Poole said.