Basic preventive dental care is available to most Americans, but dental issues involving cosmetic concerns are still a luxury. “Do-It-Yourself Dentistry” is occurring when patients either don’t want to spend the money or truly can’t afford to pay their dentist or orthodontist, for these types of services.
But how safe is it? And where does one go to learn how to fix their own teeth? Ah, yes, the internet, and more specifically, YouTube.
There are currently thousands of posts and videos on how to improve your smile, mostly presented by teenagers. So who watches and trusts this content? Other teens. And what problems are occurring? Plenty.
DIY orthodontics is the most popular.
How to use floss, rubber bands, and paper clips to straighten your teeth gets hit after hit. Fortunately, there are a few opposing posts out there warning of the dangers, including infection, irreversible tooth damage, gum damage, jawbone damage, poor esthetic outcomes, and even tooth loss. 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 is beyond a bad idea.
DIY whitening is also very popular.
Unregulated methods can cause gum tissue damage, painful burns, and permanent loss of tooth structure. How about that kiosk in the mall? Only your dentist, who knows if you have or don’t have decay, exposed root surfaces, or existing fillings that won’t change color can guide you on the safest and most effective and whitening agents for your mouth.
What about the videos on how to remove your own tooth?
Yes, indeed, they are there! The old saying that when something is difficult is like “pulling teeth” is based on fact. As a practicing dentist for over 20 years, I still find that removing a tooth can be the trickiest procedure of my day. 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” by watching videos online, DIY Dentistry is one which should be left to the professionals.