According to the American Association of Orthodontics, "Do It Yourself" orthodontic care remains a top issue for orthodontists across the country. Those considering a "cheaper" alternative to an actual checkup and expert care are gambling with a lot more than their finances.

Among many of the "quick fix" offers being showcased in stores and online are rubber bands designed to support and close the gaps between teeth. The use of rubber bands in this way is not new, but its popularity is doing more harm than good for the many people that have tried it.

Using a rubber band, or multiple rubber bands, to close a gap between teeth can result in bleeding of the gums, irritation and even permanent loss of the tooth. The method was previously used by practitioners to extract a tooth that needed to be removed, but resulted in the bone, soft tissue and sides of nearby teeth being destroyed. Consequently, people performing this "quick fix" at home are placing themselves at risk of serious medical complications.

"The American Association of Orthodontists is committed to consumer health and safety and urges anyone considering any type of teeth straightening procedure to see an orthodontic specialist," says Robert E. Varner, DMD, president of the American Association of Orthodontists. "The risks associated with 'do it yourself' orthodontics can, and should be, avoided."

The alignment and straightening of teeth, as well as the correction of a bite issue, should only be completed by a qualified orthodontic professional in a clear, sterile setting.

Schedule an appointment with New York City orthodontist Dr. Tanya Vaysman today for a comprehensive checkup or to learn more about braces for adults

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