We're typically major advocates of DIYing beauty products and treatments at home, but creating makeshift braces is not something we can support. Scarily enough, that is the latest trend in beauty — those who can't afford visits to the orthodontist are turning to YouTube to find alternative methods of straightening their teeth.
In the above video, YouTube user singerforeverlove demonstrates how to use hair elastics to close gaps in a smile. "It's going to hurt really bad, especially for the first few days, and you're going to want to give up," she admitted, "but don't, because it's totally worth it in the end." It's no surprise that the comments on her DIY vary from hurtful name-calling (including a sarcastic request for a brain surgery tutorial) to desperate pleading for advice.
Singerforeverlove's heart is in the right place — after all, braces are thousands of dollars — but while her tutorial worked for her, it can cause severe damage to the mouths of those who try it. The American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics shared that the elastic band method can cause tooth loss (!) and gum damage so severe that they are very difficult to treat.
That doesn't mean that you are completely out of options if you can't afford braces. Other than learning to embrace and love your gap-toothed smiles like these celebrities, you can look into dental schools near you. Many offer affordable dental and orthodontic care from (supervised!) experts-in-training. These students have learned how to correctly align teeth without hurting you or causing permanent issues.