Dental Don’ts: Four Dangerous DIY Projects That Should Never Be Done

When it comes to DIYing your dental care, the potential for damage is simply too great.

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December 3, 2019
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There are many do-it-yourself projects that are fun, easy, rewarding, and money-saving: painting your bedroom, making your own bread from scratch, or building a coffee table, bar, or herb garden from a pallet. One DIY venture you should never attempt, however, is dentistry.

It may seem surprising, but there are plenty of desperate, foolhardy folks out there who are taking their teeth into their own hands. Today we’re taking a look at the most dangerous procedures that are better left to the professionals.

Removing Your Own Braces

No one enjoys having a mouthful of metal brackets, but it’s the price that many people have to pay for having straight, even teeth. Unfortunately, some orthodontic patients have gotten so impatient with their braces that they have tried to remove them at home, leading to disastrous consequences.

It ought to go without saying, but please don’t do this. Follow the treatment plan that your orthodontist developed, attend all appointments for adjustments, and wait for the recommended amount of time before requesting that your braces be removed.

Trying to remove your own braces can result in tooth misalignment, tooth sensitivity, staining from the glue used to hold the brackets in place, and damaged enamel.

Ordering Orthodontic Trays Online

While we’re on the topic of orthodontics, it’s important for patients to understand the value of having a professional supervise your teeth straightening attempts. Orthodontics, whether it’s traditional metal braces or clear aligner trays like Invisalign, isn’t just about achieving straight teeth. Instead, it focuses on aligning the teeth in such a way that the patient’s overall craniofacial health is optimized.

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For that reason, never try to order aligners online. There are plenty of companies that want to make a quick buck by selling you teeth straightening systems without so much as looking at a picture of your teeth, let alone thoroughly evaluating your dental condition. And while aligner trays from these flim-flam companies might seem like a bargain, they could cause more harm than help, thereby requiring expensive treatment to correct the damage.

Gap Bands Are A Dangerous Fad

Similarly, you may be tempted to try closing the gaps between your teeth by using rubber bands. There is an alarming number of DIY videos on YouTube with instructions for how to eliminate spaces between the teeth with so-called “gap bands” that can be had for just a few dollars. But dentists across the country are pleading with patients not to try at-home orthodontics.

“Using gap bands to move your teeth is a very dangerous practice,” warns Dr. Emanuel Layliev, from renowned New York Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. “Those rubber bands can cause major problems with the teeth, gums, connective tissue, and even bone, resulting in tooth loss and irreversible damage.”

When Whitening Backfires

If you ever watch television programs from the 1980s or earlier, one thing you’ll notice is how many people have yellowish teeth. These days, having your teeth whitened — or even getting veneers to make your teeth look impeccable — is practically a prerequisite for getting a job as an actor, news anchor, talk show host, or any other position in the public eye.

It’s understandable that everyone wants to have the most beautiful smile that money can buy, but not everyone understands the purpose of those over-the-counter tooth-whitening products. Whitening strips or trays, toothpastes, and mouthwashes are designed to remove staining caused by drinking cola, coffee, or red wine, or by smoking. They do that job pretty well, and they’re basically harmless.

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Sadly, other whitening products you can buy online, or cockamamie home remedies like using activated charcoal or even straight-up household bleach, can cause tooth damage. These strip away the outer enamel, which weakens your teeth and leaves them vulnerable to decay, sensitivity, and even worse discoloration than you started with.

To truly whiten your teeth safely, you’ll need to visit a cosmetic dentist for an in-office procedure.

In the Final Analysis

The health of your teeth and mouth are essential to your overall health. Don’t take shortcuts or fall for dodgy trends just to save a few bucks. When it comes to DIYing your dental care, the potential for damage is simply too great.

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