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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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