Now You See It: Teens turning to DIY methods for dental work

Now You See It: Teens turning to DIY methods for dental work

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WISH/CNN) - Do a search on YouTube and you will find hundreds of videos about do-it-yourself braces.

They say all you need are elastic rubber bands, but doctors say the results can be catastrophic. Videos of teens demonstrating the process have been popping up frequently online.

A girl seen in one YouTube video uses an elastic rubber band to demonstrate to more than 400,000 how to close a gap from home.

"Don't that is very dangerous. Very dangerous," says Doctor Karen Cottingham, who runs a practice on the northwest side of Indianapolis.

Cottingham has been treating orthodontic patients for 17 years now and says the do-it-yourself method can cause damage beyond repair.

"Certainly you can move teeth with elastic hairbands but you have no control over that movement and you can actually damage the teeth, the supporting bone structures underneath, and it can even result in the loss of teeth," she says.

The consequences are so alarming that the American Association of Orthodontists issued an alert last year warning consumers about misuing elastic rubber bands.

"Most people doing this aren't professionals at it. I think I would be too lazy to do it," 16-year-old Cameron Kincaid says.

While Cameron and his mother chose the conventional route for treatment, the price tag was not cheap.

"We just kind of knew the expense was going to be coming so we had to save up for it," his mother says.

Cottingham says most orthodontists will offer a free consultation to find a treatment that will work.

"It take years to learn how to do this properly and so you definitely shouldn't play around with that yourself," Cottingham says.

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