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The Dangers of DIY Dental Care

Need Dental Care in Seattle?

Dental care can be anxiety-inducing for many patients. If going to a dentist’s office fills someone with dread, they may be tempted to try their hand at DIY dental care. At-home dental care is a terrible idea for many reasons, but some “safe” at-home dental care such as tooth whitening kits result in even more dental problems for the user. Financial difficulties and the inability to access quality dental care drive many people to attempt these home dentistry procedures. However, it’s best to be wary of any quick-fix at-home dental care, such as the following.

Avoid At-Home DIY Dental Care

Dental care may be difficult to access or pay for, but patients may find themselves in bigger trouble after attempting a solution themselves.

Absolutely No DIY Cavity Fillings

Many dental insurance plans cover cavity fillings as part of their coverage, and most dentists fill thousands of cavities during their careers. While most people don’t attempt to fill their cavities, there have been instances of amateur cavity filling when dental care was either inaccessible or unaffordable. Ignoring a cavity for too long may result in losing the tooth, so be sure to see a professional dentist as soon as possible. Don’t fall for the DIY temporary filling kits available online. Untreated cavities can lead to painful infections and gum disease. Again, while DIY cavity fillings are uncommon, people inspired by the internet or Youtube may attempt other minor dentistry procedures at home.

Say No to At-Home Braces

While at-home braces and DIY orthodontic appliances have surged in popularity over the last few years, the American Dental Association, as well as the American Association of Orthodontists, discourages American consumers from purchasing these products. Orthodontic care in the United States is expensive, and companies promising the same result as professional dentists and orthodontists are tempting. Don’t fall for it. Remember that orthodontists have to receive specialized education after completion of dental school. Don’t compromise a healthy smile, and make sure to avoid DIY braces or other at-home straighteners.

Get Veneers at the Dentist, Pleasecosmetic dentist seattle

Dental veneers are a popular and versatile solution to many common cosmetic dental issues. However, quality veneers are expensive, and some dental insurance plans don’t cover them as part of their regular coverage. These factors combine, and, as a result, an opportunity is born for manufacturers looking to take advantage of consumers. Some manufacturers make “one-size-fits-all” veneers, and then sell them on the internet. These cheap veneers only cost between ten and thirty dollars, and they are made from materials not designed to withstand long-term use. While it’s understandable that an attractive smile is essential to self-confidence, mail-order veneers are ultimately a waste of money. Cosmetic dentistry is not cheap, but improper techniques and materials may cause more damage in the long run.

Bruxism? Go to the Dentist

Another standard “one-size-fits-all” solution to a common dental problem is mass-manufactured dental guards to deal with bruxism (or nighttime teeth grinding). Everyone’s mouth and teeth are unique, much like a fingerprint. Wearing generically molded dental guards may push teeth out of their correct alignment, resulting in bite alteration or pain in the jaw. Mass-produced and mail-order dental appliances are not worth it, no matter how much cheaper they are than professionally and custom-made devices.

No Teeth Whitening At Home

Now, this does not apply to take-home kits offered by a professional dentist. Some at-home teeth whitening kits are well-regarded by dentists and other oral care professionals. However, the issue lies within the trend of DIY teeth whitening using household items. A quick Google search reveals thousands of at-home teeth whitening treatments using ingredients such as baking soda and charcoal. It’s easy to find, but even easier to mess up. The potential for accidental poisoning far outweighs the savings achieved by whitening teeth at home instead of under the guidance of a dentist.

The ADA and AAO Both Say No to DIY Dental Care

The American Dental Association’s View on DIY Dental Care

The American Dental Association launched a public awareness campaign last summer (August 2018) discouraging DIY dentistry, including at-home teeth straightening kits, veneers, and dental guards. The president of the ADA, Dr. Joseph P. Crowley, said, “Public health and safety is our number one concern, and that’s why we are taking steps to educate the public about DIY dentistry.” The ADA states that DIY dental treatments can affect “the gums, bone, ligaments that support the teeth, or the teeth themselves. Depending on the oral health issue being addressed and the nature of the treatment, there may be risks for long-term issues, including jaw problems, an abnormal bite, tooth decay, and loss, as well as gum disease. If teeth are improperly aligned, gum tissue may be impinged or stripped.” 

The American Association of Orthodontics’s View on DIY Orthodontal Care

The American Association of Orthodontics conducted a survey in 2017 to examine the trend of DIY orthodontic care. The study found that social media plays a significant role in the rise of dangerous at-home orthodontic treatments. Nearly 13% of the AAO members surveyed revealed they had patients who attempted to fix their teeth. Of these patients, over 70% were between the ages of 10 and 34, the age group most associated with social media usage. DeWayne B. McCamish, DDS, MS, the president of the American Association of Orthodontists, said in 2017 that “what most people don’t understand is that moving teeth is a biological process that involves bone that dissolves and re-builds as teeth are moved into their new positions.”

Ultimately, both the ADA and AAO recommend that a professional dentist or orthodontist guide all dental procedures.

How Can Dr. Timothy J. Butson Help?

Instead of wasting money on DIY dental care that may not be successful and may end up causing more damage, call Dr. Timothy J. Butson for all of your dental needs. Dr. Butson is an established, leading prosthodontist in the Seattle metro area, and Seattle Magazine has featured him as a “Top Dentist” in Seattle. With over thirty years of dental experience, Dr. Butson’s practice offers a wide range of dental procedures and care. Call today for an appointment!