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Unfortunately, social media has once again taken another trend to a whole other level. The AAO (American Associates of Orthodontics) is reporting that people from 8 to over 60 years old are attempting to straighten their own teeth. This trend is tragically increasing all over the world. The trend includes using hair rubber bands, paper clips, fish line, even earring backs, dental floss, and super glue. You can also find on-line “how to make retainers” using everyday items. Unique Orthodontics hopes to educate you on how “moving” teeth is a very complex biological process which involves teeth, bone, muscle, and soft tissue.

DIY orthodontic treatment may seem to be easy, quick, and cheap, but the consequences may easily exceed over $20,000 in a lifetime, and in some circumstances the damage is not repairable, even by a professional. The goal of a licensed Orthodontist is to safely create a healthy and beautiful smile that will last a life time. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists with two-to-three additional academic years studying orthodontics at an accredited orthodontic residency program to diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws. If you are in need or inquiring about braces and have considered using this trending method or have already made the attempt, please STOP, and come see Dr. Bayrakdarian!

Our team at Unique Orthodontics understands that orthodontic treatment can be expensive for most, especially if you do not have insurance to help with the cost. You may schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Bayrakdarian at no cost and with no obligation. Dr. Bayrakdarian will give you his expert opinion about your problem and options to resolve it, avoiding unintended harm. Our team is great and will work with you to allow customized treatment to fit your budget. YouTube along with other social media outlets are a great source to learn new things like recipes, dances, and crafts but correcting your facial appearance is not one of them! We hope you share this information with friends and family.

Dr. Bayrakdarian and the team of Unique Orthodontics


By Margot Kim ABC 30

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --

The videos are easily found on YouTube-- mostly kids and young people, showing how to make do-it-yourself, or DIY, braces using rubber bands, paper clips, bobby pins, or aluminum foil.

A video gave a Fresno girl an idea to make her own brackets with earring backs. Gabby, 12, is now under an orthodontist's care after trying DIY braces to straighten her teeth.

"I felt really insecure about my gap between my teeth so I started doing it."

It's a trend that is spreading fast among Gabby's friends.

"I heard it around, kids talking about it-- so I ended up looking it up and then trying it."

Gabby watched a video of how earring backs could be used as "brackets" on the teeth, simulating the look of real braces. Her orthodontist, Dr. John Bayrakdarian described how Gabby crafted her homemade braces.

"She did put earring clasps on her front four teeth and she did use super glue to put them on. And from far behind it looks like braces but actually they are not."

But a few days later, it started to hurt and Gabby told her mother, who took her to the doctor to remove them.

"We see how the rubber band is going all around her 10 teeth on the top. And what's happening here is that the rubber band is getting embedded in the gum tissue here," said Dr. Bayrakdarian.

Dr. Bayrakdarian said fortunately, there was no permanent damage to Gabby's teeth from the DIY braces, but the potential injury can be severe even to the point of losing teeth.

"It reaches the periodontal ligament that holds the teeth to the bone. And once this periodontal ligament and the blood supply is damaged, and then the tooth gets loose."

The trend is so troubling the American Association of Orthodontists issued a warning about DIY braces after seeing a spike in the number of patients who've tried it.

Dr. Bayrakdarian talks to the parents of his patients to watch for what might seem like a harmless craft project.

"See if there's anything new going on there. Sometimes they do it secretly. If they're using certain types of rubber bands or things like that, be aware."

Orthodontists acknowledge one of the motivators of DIY braces is the cost of real ones. But Dr. Bayrakdarian says it costs more to fix the damage caused by homemade braces and sometimes that damage is irreversible. He also said there are several financial plans to help make braces more affordable for families.

Gabby is happy her family found a way to get her real braces, and she doesn't mind smiling now with a mouthful of metal since her teeth are being moved the right way.

The American Association of Orthodontists said replacing a lost tooth can cost more than $20,000 over a lifetime. Kids who lose a tooth because of damage from DIY braces would have to wait until they are 18 years old to have an implant put in to fill the space.

Doctors say there are "Do It Yourself" videos online that supposedly teach you how to fix your teeth on your own, but the doctors also say none of the methods are safe.
KSEE24’s Connie Tran looked into this DIY fad which can lead to irreversible consequences.


Orthodontists around the country are warning people of a disturbing new trend floating around the internet and social media – "do it yourself" braces. Doctors say there are videos online that supposedly teach you how to use different things to correct your teeth, but they also say none of them are safe. KSEE24’s Connie Tran looked into it more to explain how these do it yourself (DIY) videos can lead to irreversible consequences.

A local orthodontist said he's heard of patients using paper clips, hair rubber bands – even fishing lines to try to straighten out teeth themselves. Doctors say the only way to safely move teeth is to see a professional. Not many people like to sit in the operatory chair of a doctor's office.

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But this woman – named Miranda – says she's grateful to be at Unique Orthodontics in Clovis because Dr. John Bayrakdarian is going to correct the major mistake she made two months ago. Miranda used small rubber bands made for hair on her teeth.“I wanted to try to bring my front two bottom teeth in,” Miranda said.

She said she got the idea to try to straighten her own teeth from videos on YouTube. “I would just basically fit it in between and act like I'm flossing and then put it as tight and just keep going and going and going until,” her gums bled to the point of severe pain, Miranda said. She said she couldn't eat hot or cold foods for days. The 25-year-old said she's seen dozens of these types of videos on YouTube and other social media outlets aimed at young people.

“They were saying, ‘you know what, like this works – and don't listen to the orthodontists, they just want your money and this worked for me.’ They would just keep saying ‘it works; it works – look at my teeth,’” Miranda said. But Dr. Bayrakdarian said these videos could not be further from the truth.

“Don't do it yourself; so I would add on the DIY is DDIY – don't do it yourself,” Bayrakdarian laughed. Though laughing now, Bayrakdarian explained to Miranda that she had done severe damage to her gums. “The gum tissue is inflamed, why? Because the rubber band had slipped beneath the gum tissue,” Dr. Bayrakdarian said.

He said if Miranda continued on with this practice any longer she could have lost her teeth for good. He said the rubber bands were cutting blood circulation and nutrients from the bone to the tooth. “On a weekly basis I've been seeing those kinds of patients coming in,” Bayrakdarian said.

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And so have hundreds of orthodontists around the country. The American Association of Orthodontists said DIY braces is a trend they want to see come to an end.

Doctors say patients who try to do it themselves risk losing their teeth permanently. “The trend is on the rise, and we know it’s because our members have reported; we have had 13 percent of our membership indicate that they have seen an increase in the number of patients,” said Dr. DeWayne B. McCamish of American Association of Orthodontists. The doctors attribute the DIY trend primarily to social media.

Bayrakdarian said, “The youngest I've seen is approximately 9 years old – 9 years old trying with paper clips to bring teeth together, and that was kind of disturbing. The association says 39 percent of orthodontists who reported seeing DIY patients had to provide corrective and restorative treatment, and the majority of those doctors said the patients would have ultimately saved time and money if they had gone to an orthodontist in the first place.

Miranda said she agrees. “Don't look at YouTube for braces; that's it,” Miranda said.

Doctors say it can take months to move a tooth safely. If someone loses a tooth, an implant can cost anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000.

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