“Doing it yourself” is often thought of as a way to save money. But when it comes to dentistry, it’s a scary proposition.
Americans generally have access to preventive dental care—like regular cleanings and cavity fillings—through dental benefits. However, cosmetic dental procedures are still a luxury. Because of this, “Do-It-Yourself Dentistry” is a trend that continues to grow. In an effort to save money, patients are trying it themselves.
But how safe is DIY Dentistry?
Thanks to the Internet, you can get a YouTube video in seconds—including how-to’s for performing your own dental care. There are even companies catering to the desire to do it yourself! What kinds of videos are out there and how safe are the procedures when preformed at home?
• DIY Orthodontics
Videos promoting how to use floss, rubber bands, and paper clips to straighten teeth are the most popular. Luckily, comments on most videos warn of the real dangers. There are even companies promoting mail-in orthodontic systems. Dangers with this DIY includes infection, irreversible tooth damage, gum damage, jawbone damage, poor esthetic outcomes, and even tooth loss. Eek! Imagine an errant rubber band getting stuck in your gums. That $3 fix to your teeth could cost WAY more to fix!
Orthodontists have years of training to be able to place teeth in favorable positions for maximized esthetics and function. Trying to move your own teeth blindly goes beyond a bad idea.
• DIY Whitening
Unregulated whitening methods can cause gum tissue damage, painful burns, and permanent loss of tooth structure. Only your dentist can guide you on the safest and most effective and whitening agents.
• DIY Tooth Pulling
The old saying, “it’s like pulling teeth,” is based on fact. Removing a tooth can be a tricky procedure. Trying to pull your own tooth is a recipe for a trip to the emergency room. In an era where you can learn to do anything yourself, make sure to use common sense. DIY dentistry is one thing that should be left to the professionals. Try a health hack yourself instead.