There’s a worrying online trend for the use of ‘gap bands’ which have been gaining increasing popularity recently. The videos usually depict young girls claiming that they use elastic bands to close gaps in their teeth and therefore negate the need for professional braces. What these videos don’t show or acknowledge is what a dangerous practice this is. The risks are multiple; the blood supply to the tooth may be damaged, leading it to become discoloured. This effect on the blood supply may also lead to severe infection of the gums and change their shape. Because of this, there is an extremely high risk that using gap bands may cause the tooth to fall out rather than straightening them.
The youngsters in question believe the gap bands to be a ‘quick fix’ option but actually there are a whole host of orthodontic treatments now that offer a quick (and safe!) result. A popular option is Six Month Smiles, which is a short term treatment that on average takes just six months. Another benefit is that it is a barely visible method as it uses clear brackets and tooth-coloured wires. It’s not the only option available for those who crave an inconspicuous treatment – it is also possible to opt for invisible braces, which are custom made and act like a clear gumshield which can be removed for eating etc, and braces that are fitted behind the teeth. Even when opting for more traditional fixed braces, you can choose a ceramic tooth-coloured option for subtlety. The range of orthodontic treatments available mean that there is simply no need to pursue these dangerous methods – the risk to your teeth and the damage it could cause actually makes you far more likely to require intensive orthodontic treatment.
A potential complication of orthodontic treatment is tooth decay. These ‘at home’ attempts are done without professional supervision which means that any problems may not be spotted as soon as necessary. Should infection or inflammation occur, the risk of tooth loss increases. Orthodontic treatment should always be done by a professional, ideally a Specialist Orthodontist, who can advise on how to keep the teeth healthy and address any potential problems straightaway.