A trend growing in popularity in recent months sees young people using cheap elastic bands to try and straighten their teeth.
Some of the DIY tutorials are created by very young teens.
The elastics are used to create ‘gap bands’ to help close the spaces between teeth.
The young people creating the videos often claim they are doing so because their family cannot afford to get them braces.
Several videos have been popping up on YouTube just this year showing young people guiding others on how to move their teeth without braces.
The popularity of the practice has led the American Association of Orthodontists to issue a warning against the use of elastics on teeth.
A consumer warning explains that the use of elastics on teeth is actually an effective method of tooth extraction.
According to the consumer warning, the use of elastics is not new in the world of dentistry, however rather than using them to straighten teeth, they are more commonly used as an effective technique for tooth extraction.
‘The practitioner simply placed a rubber band around the tooth to be extracted,’ read the warning. ‘Because of the shape of the teeth, the rubber band slowly worked its way up or down the sides of the tooth roots, destroying the bone and soft tissues, and the tooth just fell out, all in about 4 to 6 weeks.’
A woman from Washington named Jamila Garza garnered some media attention back in February for her videos documenting how she closed a gap in her front teeth in 44 days, with a pack of $5 elastic bands. She even told reporters that she had gone to the dentist to have her progressed checked and the doctor told her that her teeth ‘look really healthy’.
Doctors claim that the movement of teeth is something that should be handled by doctors and not at home.
Juan Rendon, of Jefferson Dental Clinics in Texas told: ‘It seems very attractive that you could possibly move your own teeth, but when you move a tooth, the color of the tooth might change because you are damaging the blood supply.’
‘You’re also going to have problems with your gums. When the gums are subject to pressure, the blood supply is cut [off], which changes the shape of the gums and can cause severe inflammation and infection.’