Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, which can be upsetting to those who are insecure about their teeth. Whether you're concerned about spacing or crookedness, it's not uncommon to see some flaws in your smile. Excessive gaps between teeth are one condition that leaves many feeling insecure. Unfortunately, dental treatments continue to become more costly by the day. To compensate, cheap at-home treatments such as teeth gap bands have risen in popularity. While gap bands may be affordable, there is some debate as to whether they are a safe method to use. Read to find out about gap bands and their viability as a dental treatment. Plus, discover some other affordable ways instead of them.
What Are Teeth Gap Bands?
Since the early 2010s, companies have offered gap bands as a simple, affordable alternative to traditional teeth-straightening methods such as wire braces. The product consists of a simple set of elastic bands that can close mild gaps in your front teeth in just a few months. Gap bands have risen in popularity largely thanks to affiliated internet influencers who show off their supposed results in posts or videos. Additionally, gap bands are preferred by many people because they are significantly less costly than traditional orthodontic treatment.
How Do Gap Bands Work?
The gap band method of teeth-straightening is relatively straightforward. Working two teeth at a time, users place an elastic band around the teeth for twelve hours each day until the gap has closed. Once the teeth are in the desired position, the user will wear “retaining bands” for another 30 days to secure them further. Most companies recommend using gap bands on the top and bottom rows of the front teeth rather than the entire mouth. Additionally, most fail to provide substantial evidence to support the safety of gap bands when used to correct teeth spacing.
Why Use Teeth Gap Bands?
The appeal of gap bands comes from several sources, including:
For one, many users are looking for a quick and easy solution to their spacing issues. They are uninterested in traditional methods with long treatment periods such as braces, which can take anywhere from six months to a year. Many online influencers claim that gap bands can result in perfect teeth in as little as sixty or even thirty days; these claims, however, are unsubstantiated.
The high cost of traditional orthodontic treatments is one of the biggest causes of the rising popularity of inexpensive, at-home methods such as gap bands. Treatments like braces or Invisalign often cost thousands of dollars to pursue money that many people simply do not have to spare on cosmetic concerns. Since gap bands are cheap in comparison, it’s no wonder they have become a popular teeth-straightening method for many. However, though gap bands may have low initial costs, they may cause complications that will be costly to repair.
In addition to being low on costs, many people are drawn to the lesser commitment that gap bands require. While gap bands may seem like a quick, low-commitment way to close teeth gaps, they are likely to cause long-lasting damage to your smile.
Are Gap Bands Safe?
The short answer to the question "are gap bands safe?" is: no, they are not. While plenty of internet personalities may attribute their perfect smile to gap bands, the method is risky and lead to complications that will damage your smile rather than improve upon it. One infamous case study regarding a 9-year-old boy recounts his horrific experience with gap bands in which the band placed around his two front teeth began pushing them up and out rather than closer together. Unfortunately, the damage was severe, and his teeth had to be removed, damaging his smile more than ever. It is not an isolated incident. Gap bands cause severe tissue or root damage as well as loss of bone support. It can result in issues such as tooth loss and may require periodontal surgery to remedy. Not only are gap band users putting their dental health at risk, but also their finances. Gap bands may seem like the more cost-effective method at first, but in the event of a complication that requires periodontal surgery or tooth replacement, you'll end up spending thousands of dollars to repair your smile.
Alternatives to Teeth Gap Bands
Though it’s clear that gap bands are not a viable means of improving your smile, some alternative methods are both safe and affordable. While braces are the most traditional method of closing teeth gaps, they are unsightly and not necessarily cost-effective. For the most affordable treatment, invisible aligners are likely the best option. Invisible aligners are an at-home treatment method that involves you making impressions of your teeth and receiving a custom-made aligner that will alter it to your liking. Rather than risky and inconsistent, invisible aligners are safe and are sure to give you a smile about which you can feel confident. In addition to being a safe alternative to gap bands, invisible aligners are significantly more affordable than braces costing as low as $107 per month. Plus, you can get the smile of your dreams in just six months or less. Close the gaps in your teeth for good without putting your dental health at risk. Take a free assessment on the AlignerCo website today and stop feeling insecure about your smile tomorrow.
Kester, S. (2019, December 18). Dangers of Gap Bands and DIY Braces: What to Know. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/gap-bands#are-they-dangerous Torturous path of an elastic gap band: Interdisciplinary approach to orthodontic treatment for a young patient who lost both maxillary central incisors after do-it-yourself treatment. (2018, December 1). ScienceDirect. https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0889540618307583