Guest Blogger, Chase Prettyman, DDS, MSD, Orthodontist
In response to the recent article published in the New York Times, “Do-It-Yourself Orthodonture: Don’t Try This at Home,” Dr. Chase Prettyman of Prettyman Orthodontics wants to share his perspective on this potentially catastrophic health care decision.
At home “Do-it-yourself” Braces and Orthodontics is simply not the way to go. I am not just saying this because I’m an orthodontist who wants you to come to me so I can take your money. We’re talking about interfering with a part of your body and your health – this should always be supervised. When it comes to moving teeth safely and successfully, there are many factors that need to be considered: are my teeth healthy enough to start moving, how much pressure can be applied to the teeth, how fast can they be moved, how is the new position of my teeth going to be maintained, how is it going to affect my overall bite and the way my teeth come together?
I agree that many small tooth gaps and minor tooth movements can be treated very easily, and depending on the provider, very inexpensively. I understand that it is not always easy to trust and believe a health care professional who is telling you a certain treatment is needed, especially if they are going to benefit financially from your decision. However, there is no excuse in not getting a second (or third) opinion as most orthodontists offer a FREE initial exam and consult. This exam will inform you of any problems that may arise in moving your teeth and how it should best be accomplished. My advice would be to visit as many orthodontists as possible to compare the information you are receiving. I promise, we are not all out to just take your money. If a simple, non-invasive solution is possible, you should be able to find an honest practitioner who will guide you in making sure it is done correctly and safely.
In response to Ms. Garza’s “gap-closing solution,” it is simply unhealthy for her to continue wearing a rubber band around her teeth nightly to keep the space closed. Wearing a rubber band like this should never be done for an extended period of time. It is extremely detrimental to an individuals’ gum tissue and the overall soft tissue attachment that surrounds and supports the teeth. A professional made retainer (either a permanent, bonded retainer or a removable retainer) is needed to support teeth once a desired movement is achieved.
If you have any questions about if orthodontic treatment would be beneficial for you or your family member, please call Prettyman Orthodontics at 704.247.9150 in Charlotte, 704.291.7100 in Monroe and 704.824.6988 in Gastonia.