While those with gapped teeth spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to have their pearly whites perfected, Jamila Garza, a 24-year-old fashion design student from Everett, Wash., closed a gap in her mouth for only $5.
Garza, who is not a dental professional, has made a name for herself on her YouTube channel, by showing her viewers how to fix their teeth with small elastic bands. Garza believes she is doing the world and those with gaps a favor, but according to dentists and orthodontists world-wide, D.I.Y. teeth straightening is foolish and could eventually lead to the worsening of a gap or even teeth loss.
Dr. DeWayne McCash, an orthodontist in Chattanooga, Tenn., said in a New York Times article: “If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.”
A consumer alert was posted on the American Association of Orthodontists website cautioning consumers to be wary of any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss or other objects ordered on the Internet.
Dr. Rolf Behrents, the editor-in-chief of American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, has even written an editorial cautioning consumers to stay away from this at-home teeth straightening method.
In case these warnings aren’t enough to scare you, 47-year-old David Campbell had a gap between his front teeth when he was an adolescent. A dentist he was seeing at the time suggested that he use rubber bands nightly, as seen in the YouTube videos. One evening, the elastic got stuck under his gums, which made his two front teeth start to protrude and by the time he was 13, he lost both teeth at the root.
Although Garza has been informed of Campbell’s situation, she still plans to wear her elastic bands nightly.
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