Natural Teeth Straightening: A Dream or Reality?

Natural Teeth Straightening: A Dream or Reality?
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Natural Teeth Straightening: A Dream or Reality?Clinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. 4 Ways People Try
  2. What Could Happen?
  3. Alternatives
  4. FAQs
  5. Resources

There is no safe way to straighten your teeth at home. Gnawing on sticks, applying rubber bands, or pushing on your teeth with your tongue or your fingers won't improve your smile.

These methods can hurt your teeth instead, and sometimes, the damage is permanent.

Almost 13 percent of orthodontists have seen a patient that tried do-it-yourself teeth straightening methods. Don't be one of these patients.

Keep reading to find out how you can safely improve your smile. Safe solutions could be less expensive than you thought.

risks of natural teeth straightening

4 Ways People Try to Straighten Teeth

All-natural teeth straightening methods cost very little, and most don't require special tools or equipment.

These methods also eliminate a dental professional. No one discussing these options online mentions visiting a dental expert first to plan how the teeth should move, and none recommend checking in with a pro to ensure that the plan is working properly. If you choose one of these options, you're working completely alone.

Various solutions seen online include the following:

1. Tongue Thrusts

The method: Push your tongue against your teeth while inhaling air.

The claim: Shift crooked front teeth forward. The more you practice, the better this will work. This is not effective.

2. Rubber Bands

The method: Buy rubber bands and wrap them around teeth. Keep the band near the ends of your teeth, and leave them there for days. You may need to use more rubber bands than one.

The claim: Your teeth will move closer together and close unsightly gaps. The truth is that this could seriously damage your mouth.

3. Stick Chewing

The method: Find a firm substance safe for chewing. Gnaw on it several times per day.

The claim: Constant chewing puts pressure on your teeth and puts them in an ideal chewing position. Again, this could harm your mouth.

4. Pushing

The method: Find teeth out of alignment, and determine where you'd like them to move. Then, use your fingers to push those teeth into the right spot. Apply pressure whenever you're reading, thinking, working, or doing something similar.

The claim: Your teeth will respond to this pressure and move in the direction you push them. This is not effective.

Your teeth are made up of delicate, living tissue, and choosing a DIY, natural teeth-straightening technique, and you could damage that tissue.

What Could Happen if You Try DIY?

It may seem harmless enough to push and pull on your teeth with items you have at home. But your choice to use natural, DIY methods could have catastrophic consequences for your teeth.

Your teeth are not inert. Each tooth is made up of sensitive, living tissue. Pressure of any sort can harm that living tissue, and when that happens, even professionals may not be able to fix the damage done.

Use these natural methods, and you run the risk of the following:

Losing Your Teeth

Rubber bands are a major culprit here. They can slide up your teeth into the gum tissue, where you can't see them or remove them.

One person tried this method, and he lost his bands. His teeth started to protrude and push forward. Then, he lost both teeth at the root.

Weakening Your Teeth

The pressure you put on your teeth triggers a complicated bone process. Molecules of bone resorb and then rebuild. It takes time, and if you move your teeth too quickly, it doesn't happen at all.

The result is teeth that have moved, but they're completely unmoored from structures below.

Causing Pain

Without a formal plan from a dental professional, you don't know how your teeth should move. Shift them in the wrong way, experts say, and you can cause muscle spasms, clenching issues, and joint pain. You might even develop shooting pain in your face and jaw.

Developing Infections

Blood nourishes the tissues in your mouth, and some DIY techniques restrict the flow. Toxins in your mouth can proliferate, and in some cases, they can spread through your blood and into your body as a whole. Those infections can be life-threatening, experts say.

Discoloring Your Teeth

When blood can't reach the center of your teeth, you'll see that issue on the surface. Your teeth could turn blue or black, dentists say, and that issue might be permanent. It could also indicate that the tooth is dead or dying, and you might need it pulled.

The urge to take control and save money is understandable. But your teeth are so critical to your overall health. It makes sense to protect them, which means avoiding these dangerous practices.

Alternatives to Natural Teeth Straightening

Dental experts know how to assess your current smile and determine what teeth need to move and how quickly the shift should take place. And they can pivot and change course if something unexpected happens while your program moves forward.

Two main modes of treatment exist.


Braces are made up of the following:

  • Glue: Hardware is affixed to your teeth throughout the entirety of treatment.
  • Brackets: Small pieces sit at the front or the back of your teeth as spots for tugging.
  • Wire: A metal piece connects all the brackets, so your teeth stay connected throughout treatment.

All of this hardware can seem unsightly, and it's certainly hard to ignore. Anyone who looks closely will see that your smile is a work in progress.

And braces can be uncomfortable. The metal can scrape your lips and tongue, and the constant pressure can make your head ache.

But if your smile is far out of alignment, braces could be right for you. This mode of treatment works best in people with significant dental issues.

Prepare to pay about $5,000 for braces. Opt for ceramic, gold, or lingual braces, and you'll pay even more.


Aligners offer another route to a better smile. Choose this method, and you'll skip all the hardware and metal. Instead, you'll use plastic trays that wrap around your teeth and offer constant pressure.

Some companies use telemedicine techniques, so you're always working with a doctor even while you are at home. This route works best for mild or moderate smile problems, and it's a much better option than hacking at your teeth with tools not made for that purpose.

Prepare to pay about $7,000 for aligners like Invisalign administered via in-person appointments. Save money and pay less than $2,000 for aligners from Byte. You'll get the same care, but your treatment is managed by a doctor at home.

Natural Teeth Straightening FAQs

Can I straighten my teeth myself?
No. There is no safe or "natural" way to straighten your teeth alone. You'll need a dentist or orthodontist to help you.
How can I straighten my teeth without braces or aligners?
You can't straighten your teeth without braces or aligners.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.