Gap Bands - A Dangerous DIY Dental Trend

Posted on: 7 December 2015

Although it's unpopular, wearing braces is the most effective way of straightening or removing gaps in between the teeth.  However, a worrying trend in DIY dentistry involving gap bands has recently emerged that could cause lasting damage to your teeth.  But what are gap bands, and what problems can they cause?  If you're considering using gap bands on your teeth, read on to find out why you really shouldn't.

What are gap bands?

'Gap bands' is the colloquial term used for any form of elastic or rubber band that can be used to close the gap between the front teeth.  You can buy gap bands online, and there are even promotional YouTube videos out there made by people who swear that these products actually work.  What's more, using gap bands to correct gappy teeth is considerably cheaper than going to the dentist, and this is another factor that's fuelling their popularity.

The premise of the DIY treatment is simple; you wrap an elastic band around your two front teeth so that it pulls and holds them closer together, effectively removing the gap.  Hey presto – straight teeth!  So what's the problem?

What's the problem with gap bands?

Moving teeth is a very complex process, which is why you should only allow a qualified and experienced dentist to carry out such work.  Any kind of orthodontic treatment, such as braces, must happen over a period of time, during which many small adjustments will be made to ensure that the changes are made smoothly and safely.  If you try to move the teeth too quickly, or get the angle wrong, you can permanently damage the connective tissue, nerves and even the blood supply that serves the tooth root.  One consequence of this can be tooth loss. 

Furthermore, if the gap between two teeth is closed without giving due consideration to the remainder of the teeth, the whole jaw can be thrown out of correct alignment.  This could mean that your teeth won't meet properly, making it difficult or painful for you to eat.  In extreme cases, misaligned teeth can alter the whole appearance of a person's face.

In conclusion

Although it may appear tempting to save yourself a lot of money by taking the DIY dentistry route and using gap bands, the consequences for your teeth in the long run can be devastating.  If you have concerns about the appearance of your teeth, have a chat with a dentist like Absolute Smiles to discuss the options available to you.  Traditional braces are one thing to consider, but you could also try a less conspicuous alternative like clear braces, or Invisalign.