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This Is Why You Should Never Try DIY Braces Despite The Low Price

This Is Why You Should Never Try DIY Braces Despite The Low Price

The only thing worse than having braces is needing braces.

This is the creed of metal-mouthed teenagers and adults alike. Despite the eventual aesthetic benefits, it takes years of pain and expense to use braces to correct your teeth. The amount of time braces stay on depends on the state of your teeth. Those who can afford orthodontia will sport them anywhere from nine months to five long years.

The price of braces has dropped significantly since the 1960s. However, the average cost remains around $5,000 for a full treatment. This cost is equivalent 10% of the pre-tax income of many family homes. The price is especially steep when more than one child needs them.

Dental insurance can offset the costs in some cases. The rate at which insurance covers orthodontics has increased the number of people who can afford to have braces. However, most insurance only covers around 20% of the total cost of braces.

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Then, and now, braces are a luxury item.

Yet, straight, white teeth remain a priority among many Americans. Many believe that those with straight teeth will be more financially successful compared to others. This is partly because the expense of braces suggests that only those with extra money to burn can afford them. This class divide tells people that their smile is representative of their status in society.

With the pressure on, some people have started to turn to DIY braces.

DIY braces are just a small part of the DIY beauty scene. Wearing glasses without lenses and making your own mud mask is relatively harmless. But the rise in the number of people trying their hand at orthodontics is causing serious damage to people’s mouths.

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A recent video on YouTube demonstrates how you can bypass four to eight years of education and become your own orthodontist. In the viral video, the star laments how the costs of braces has prevented her from correcting her teeth. But she offers a solution.

She advocates using small rubber bands (usually used in hair styling) and fitting them around your teeth. She explains that this will hurt for a few days but that it is worth the pain. She also tells her audience that they too can have straight white teeth if they do not give up.

This video has struck a chord with teens who feel the pressure to have the straight laced, all-American smile but cannot afford the cost of the devices needed to get them there.

Today, it appears the class divide is felt as acutely by teenagers as it is by their parents.

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The trend has become so popular that the American Association of Orthodontists issued a warning to the public last year. Its goal was to warn consumers against using these rubber bands.

Orthodontists did not issue this warning for their own benefit. In fact, orthodontists are not worried about the loss in patient revenue from this hack. In fact, many say that the damage caused by DIY braces will cost more in the long run than braces themselves would have.

The dangers of DIY braces sound painful at best. As it turns out, moving your own teeth not only damages your teeth but your roots, gums and bones, too. This is because the rubber bands cut off the blood supply to your gums which leaves them open to irritation and infection.

But the question remains: is orthodontia worth the hype? The answer, according to dentists and orthodontists, is yes. Especially compared to the alternative.

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The reason that braces are safer is because of the evidence-based, precise and controlled manner in which orthodontists work.

When a patient gets braces, they often spend years with these devices on. This is not so that the orthodontist can make extra money for a vacation home. This is because the teeth and gums are sensitive and need to be manipulated slowly and with care.

Over the months and years that patients wear braces, orthodontists will carefully control the movement of the teeth through small, regular adjustments. Orthodontists keep the shape of the mouth in mind when making alterations. The adjustments also help redirect the roots of the teeth so that they can grow in the right direction.

At the end of the day, DIY braces say more about society than just its desire for a perfect smile. That those with imperfections are willing to endure pain and suffering for straight teeth suggests that the pressure on teenagers, and adults, to look beautiful is more than skin deep.

Featured photo credit: Monica Y Garza via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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