Do a quick Google search for “DIY dentistry,” and what comes up is a load of fancy tools and products designed to turn the everyday person into a trained dentist in just minutes. Although the opportunity to scrape a little plaque or close a tooth gap at home may seem tempting at first, there’s a lot that can go wrong when certain teeth cleaning tools fall into untrained hands. Don’t try these at home without your dentist’s OK and instructions.
Scrapers and Scalers
Over-the-counter scrapers similar to the tools that dental hygienists and dentists use to remove plaque and tartar are readily available online. But, as the Academy of General Dentistry points out, misusing these devices can lead to chipped teeth, gouged roots, and gum abscesses caused by accidentally pushing tartar below the gum line.
Smooth out ridges and repair chipped and broken teeth with a handy tooth file that you can use right in the comfort of your own home — sound too good to be true? It really is. The risks of filing your own teeth include damaging the tooth structure and taking too much off, which could leave your smile looking more ragged than ever.
Gap Bands and Rubber Bands
Some people have tried using tiny OTC gap bands to close spaces between their teeth while others use plain old rubber bands. Shifting and straightening teeth is a delicate process. Moving them too quickly or at a wrong angle can leave your teeth crooked. It can also damage the nerves and tissue in your mouth, potentially leading to tooth loss or throwing your jaw alignment out of whack.
At-home tooth repair kits are meant for emergency use only. For example, if a cap loosens or you lose a filling, then these repairs can hold you over until you can get to a dentist. The danger is when people try to use these repairs as a long-term solution, which can create serious dental problems, including infection, tooth loss, speech issues, chewing problems, and chronic tooth pain.
Whether they buy the tools they need or rummage through the house to find makeshift alternatives, some people are pulling their own teeth. In most cases, the cost of having the dentist do it deters patients from making an appointment. Although doing it yourself is more affordable up front, it can lead to more pain, worsening infections, and broken teeth — all of which end up causing more discomfort at increased costs.
No matter how tempted you might be to do a little dental work at home, it’s best to leave these tasks to the professionals. Klement Family Dental has been serving the Tampa and St. Pete area for more than 30 years. Let us keep your smile happy, healthy, and looking its best. Learn more about our services by visiting stpetedentist.com, or call us at 727-498-1959 to make an appointment.