You may have seen this hack touted online. Posters brag that they saved thousands on orthodontics and moved their own two front teeth together just by using a rubber band. Other versions of the post may try to sell you rubber bands (without a dentist's approval needed) that you can use to close the gap between your two front teeth. But is this at-home approach to orthodontics real, and is it a good idea? The answer to both these questions is "no." Here's a closer look.
Rubber bands may close the gap between your front teeth, but they may also create new gaps.
Often when there is a gap between a patient's front teeth, it is not just because the two front teeth are out of place. It's because all of the teeth are shifted a little too far towards the back of the jaw. To properly address the issue, an orthodontist would typically use braces to shift all of your teeth (or at least, most of them), closer to the front of your mouth. If you use rubber bands to move your two front teeth only, you'll probably just create a gap elsewhere — such as to the right and left sides of your two front teeth. This isn't any better than having a gap between your two front teeth.
Rubber bands can cause alignment issues with your tooth roots.
Your teeth have two main parts: the crown, which is the part you see, and the root, which is hidden beneath your gums. Orthodontists use great care to ensure that when they move your teeth with braces or other devices, they shift the roots, and not just the crown. A rubber band does not do a great job of this. Rather than actually moving the tooth, the band is likely to just change the angle of the crown, leaving the root in place. This could result in some of the tooth root being exposed from the gums, which could lead to sensitivity, cavities, and other problems.
Rubber bands aren't always safe to have on your teeth long-term.
Yes, orthodontists prescribe rubber bands for braces wearers to use. But those bands are attached to the brackets of the braces, not the teeth themselves. Rubber band could put pressure on your teeth over time, trap bacteria, and lead to decay.
Put simply, using rubber bands in an attempt to close your tooth gap is not smart. Contact an orthodontist, and let them do the work. They're the experts, after all.
To learn more, reach out to an orthodontics clinic near you.