FLUSHING (WJRT) (11/10/2017) - Mid-Michigan orthodontists are coming across a troubling trend of patients trying to straighten their own teeth, which can cause major damage in their mouths.
"I think that everything in kind of U.S. culture right now is quick fix. I want to lose weight quicker, I want to diet quicker and sometimes there just isn't a quick fix," said Dr. Aaron Havens with Flushing Orthodontics.
The American Association of Orthodontists says several people are trying anything from rubber bands to paper clips to fishing line to straighten their own teeth.
"You have the potential to put teeth in a wrong position where it has a trauma to it," Havens said. "Or, you have potential for long-term effects where your bites are not corrected."
He said that can be extremely painful.
"You start to develop some nighttime grinding or clinching problems, which then you have headaches and pain in your jaw, muscle fatigue in your jaw and things like that, which can be more of a long-term effect, as well," he said.
Even worse, Havens added people could even lose a tooth and it's not always possible to fix that kind of damage.
"Even if you do a gum graft or even if you place an implant, you have to do thousands of dollars of extra work trying to recover from the damage that was done by not doing it the right way in the first place," he said.
He pointed out there's a reason why he and his fellow orthodontists spent three extra years in school.
"We wouldn't be having an orthodontics school unless there's more to learn than just putting pressure on a tooth and moving it into a direction that the patient wants to have," Havens said. "But, there's a lot to go into it because we're dealing with the human body and human patients."
He admits getting braces can be expensive, which is why his office offers several different payment plans.