The risks of DIY dentistry
Reports of improper at-home dental care have raised concerns in the industry as do-it-yourself (DIY) trends have become popular on social media. Videos on social media have featured the misuse of over-the-counter mouth guards, 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. However, these DIY dentistry hacks present some significant risks:
- Reports of 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 their dentist, people are relying on over the counter guards, which can lead to teeth movement and ulcers on the gums;
- cracked dentures or dentures broken in half are unrepairable by DIY means, and people who experience these issues should see their dentist – yet many people who have cracked or broken dentures are trying to use denture repair kits themselves instead – furthermore, denture repair kits hardly ever work;
- dental pain topicals can result in chemical burns and mask more serious problems;
- teeth-whitening attempts using baking soda or bleach from the kitchen cabinet won’t whiten teeth but could cause gastrointestinal problems instead;
- filing teeth with everyday nail files to fix uneven, chipped, or rough edges can damage teeth and lead to infection; and,
- DIY extractions may snap the tooth off at the gumline, leaving a root tip, which acts like an infected splinter.