Unlicensed, unauthorized, and now an underground option for Atlantans searching for a discount dentistry fix. But, local doctors are warning against the dangerous new trend.
As the name implies, "fashion braces" offer color and trend, but no guarantee they actually help with teeth alignment. Dozens of Instagram pages across Georgia show unlicensed workers offering to do the procedure at a low rate. It is unclear if the workers are conducting the procedures in their homes or small work spaces but no matter, Dr. Paul Trotter says it is dangerous.
In one Atlanta posting, the Instagram header showed there is $25 deposit required, and in several other local listings, the workers call the procedure non-refundable. CBS46 found, in some cases, the cost is as low $300 compared to the average $2000 to $3000 rate braces cost with dental insurance.
On each social media page, the local workers openly note in biography sections or photo captions that they are not licensed dentists or orthodontists.
"[There] are reports of these fashion braces coming off while people are sleeping and patients actually choking or even aspirating them." Dr. Trotter continued, "If you move the teeth in the wrong direction, they might move outside the bone that actually holds them in your mouth. You could end up losing a tooth."
The doctor with Georgia Dental Association said makings matters worse is researchers have historically found links between mouth damage and cardiovascular complications. Trotter argued that's why this new danger goes beyond just teeth. He says orthodontists like him spend four years in dental school, plus three years in residency to understand critical patient procedure and planning.
Fulton County District Attorney Fanni Willis confirmed with CBS46 unlicensed dentistry is something her office would oversee investigating with the medical board. Willis echoed local doctors' concerns.
"I understand the desire to have that lower price but don't risk your safety. Even if we can bring criminal charges, that might not help you medically."