Hey, I’m as crafty as anyone. Give me a good Do-It-Yourself project and an online tutorial and I’ll make something half-decent or have fun trying! But there is a new trend on the internet that is making all us dentists very nervous – DIY Dentistry.
Unfortunately, due to the barriers to dental treatment in our society, I can see why people are tempted to try DIY Dentistry. The online “kits” and “tutorials” look easy, are very cheap, it’s well marketed, and websites are full of positive testimonials and success stories. But what about the cases that go wrong?
DIY Dentistry Isn’t Effective or Safe
The biggest threat of DIY dentistry is that it isn’t conducted in a controlled environment and under professional medical supervision. How do YOU know if you are a good candidate for the procedure? Do you have healthy roots and gums that will support this type of treatment?
The two most common examples of DIY dentistry are extractions and orthodontics, both of which can have major consequences if not done correctly.
There are stories of people removing their own teeth or using rubber bands on their teeth in an attempt to improve alignment. Both of these DIY tactics can be catastrophic to your smile. People who remove their own teeth may not remove the entire tooth AND they could be setting the stage for a serious infection. If you’re doing your own orthodontic treatment, especially with rubber bands, you risk serious tooth or gum damage. The rubber bands can slip underneath the gums, causing the teeth to be lost or gums to recede. Sadly, you will almost never receive optimal results from these techniques. So, what happens next?
Cleaning Up DIY Dentistry is Expensive
One of the big reasons people elect to do their own treatment is the price. Orthodontic treatment alone will typically cost thousands of dollars. An extraction, on the other hand, is only a few hundred dollars. But your costs can skyrocket if your DIY project goes wrong, and there are now reports of patients attempting to perform their own treatment and then needing tens of thousands of dollars in restorative dentistry, corrective orthodontics, treatment of gum disease, etc. Some people have even been hospitalized due to major infections.
Talk to the Professionals
When it comes to DIY projects, I urge you to stick with home improvements, crafts, and cakes. Instead, ask your dentist what your options for treatment are. Ask your insurance company to verify what procedures are coverage, or ask your employer if there are options to enhance your dental benefits so that certain procedures, such as braces, might be better covered. Don’t risk permanently damaging your health before you’ve considered all the possibilities.