Consider this a big Pinterest fail: Orthodontists are warning patients not to take teeth straightening into their own hands after a string of YouTube videos appeared showing ways to use hair elastics to close gaps between teeth. The pros are concerned about tooth damage or even loss, which can happen if the elastics get embedded in the gums. Yikes!

Also a worry: New mail-order businesses, which send you a kit to do DIY teeth impressions, then make molds of your kids’ teeth for you. And that’s all without a single visit to a dentist or orthodontist. “Our concern is that patients who don’t see an orthodontist for regular checkups are more likely to be harmed,” says Dr. Rolf Behrents, a spokesperson for the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). Without a thorough in-person exam, he explains, these companies may miss an important underlying problem.

The AAO recommends scheduling your kid’s first visit to the orthodontist no later than age 7 so any issues can be caught early. 

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