Having a perfect smile doesn't have to come at the cost of your health, especially if you have to obtain illegal Do-It-Yourself braces just to do so.
According to a licensed dentist, braces cost between P15,000 to P50,000 nowadays.
Because of this, people turn to DIY braces and retainers they can purchase online or in numerous markets nationwide since it is much cheaper.
Renz, a person who used DIY braces, said in an interview with KMJS, "Nakikita ko po silang [barkada] nagdidikit. Na-engganyo rin ako, Bumili din po ako, triny ko po. (I saw them putting it on. I got interested. I bought. I tried it.)"
"Sa totoong dentist mga P21,000 ang mga braces, e sa palengke P500 lang (Real dentists would ask for P21,000 for braces, but in the market it's only for P500)," he added.
With just P500, Renz was able to buy the metal brace including the rubber wire. However, he had to use tweezers, a nail cutter and super glue just to stick the DIY braces on.
Soon, his teeth started to hurt and they began to move. What he thought looked good before became a nightmare in real life. He soon removed his DIY braces.
Another victim, Sarah*, put on these DIY braces just for the price of P5,000 after a certain Isabel approached her.
Since she had gaps in between her teeth and have been longing for braces in the past, she thought the price was a good deal already.
But as the days passed, she couldn't eat properly anymore due to the pain. Her breath was starting to smell bad and the chicken wire attached to her teeth started to rust.
A dentist said that if she doesn't remove it soon, she will likely develop tetanus. Hearing this, Sarah removed it immediately, but it was too late.
Three of her teeth have been way too damaged that they had to be removed. In the end, she had to spend more since she now had to have dentures for the teeth she lost.
Seeking justice, Sarah told the police what happened and the Isabel who approached her was soon put behind bars but was able to post bail eventually.
Jessa*, on the other hand, sold these things. She's been selling DIY braces online for a year now since she thought it was a good business.
She said that each set just costs P700 and she would sell it online for P1,200.
Even though it's illegal, she said that it's the only way she knows how to provide for her baby's needs.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has already sent a warning against those who sell DIY braces and retainers. They said that selling these in the market or online is in fact illegal and the procedure of putting on braces and retainers should only be done by a professional dental clinic or dentist.
Once caught, you will be fined with P500,000 and will be put in jail for 5 to 12 years.
Despite the trend, DIY braces have proven to be an ill attempt to get the perfect smile. — LA, GMA News
*names have been changed to protect their identity