Do-It-Yourself (DIY) dentistry has been popping up in social media and online videos for several years. The American Dental Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) is again warning consumers to steer clear of doing at-home dentistry.
This trend has become even more prevalent since the pandemic. At one point, WHO recommended that patients delay routine dental visits until the pandemic was under greater control.
Dentistry is considered to be essential healthcare and even though millions of patients nationwide have safely visited their dentists during the pandemic, it apparently was not enough to keep some patients from taking their dental health into their own hands.
Videos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other channels have featured the misuse of over-the-counter mouthguards, denture repair kits, and dental wax. Some people have used nail files to even out their teeth and superglue to fix cracked teeth. Others have even given themselves fillings and extracted their own teeth in online videos.
These DIY efforts come with significant risks.
For example, increased teeth grinding due to stress from the pandemic are widespread. However, instead of making an appointment to obtain a custom mouth guard properly fabricated by a dentist, people are relying on over-the-counter guards. Drugstore mouth guards can lead to movement among the teeth and ulcers on the gums.
Cracked dentures or dentures broken in half are unrepairable by DIY. Yet many people who have cracked or broken dentures are trying to use denture repair kits instead. Denture repair kits hardly ever work and may include harsh chemicals that users can ingest when they are used incorrectly.
It is imperative that we caution that the public be made aware that these DIY trends can cause permanent damage.
At-home tooth repair kits are used to temporarily repair lost fillings or loose caps when a dental problem occurs when you cannot get to a dentist temporarily is ok. The mistake that many individuals make is relying on do-it-yourself tooth fillings as long-term solutions rather than visiting a dentist to receive proper treatment.
People have taken to use pliers to extract their own teeth. Serious risks include infection, the tooth breakage, severe pain and needing costly dental treatment.
Trying to solve your own dental problem will only make the problem worse, possibly causing short and long-term pain and damage to your teeth. The best decision you can make is to contact a dental professional instead.
There are all sorts of DIY suggestions on the internet. For most DIY dentistry attempts, simple failure is the best-case scenario. For many others, these so-called “solutions” can cause lasting harm to both your oral and overall health.
Keep in mind that dental offices have always implemented extraordinary safety measures and have put in place new procedures, including advanced personal protective equipment and enhanced infection control protocols.
An ounce of prevention and a little forethought is worth a pound of cure!