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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 September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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