Social media apps like TikTok and Instagram often reveal great hacks for those who want to look younger and save time and money. But social users should proceed with caution.
Social media can be a great platform to spread information, but it can also be a great platform to spread misinformation, which can cause harm. And whilst younger adults and teens might fall victim to dental “hacks” and trends, it’s important for us, as dentists, to speak out about dangerous trends which can cause detrimental effects on long-term oral health.
Certain trends might look safe, but we know more than most that healthy habits on a surface level often do irreparable and, sometimes, non-reversible damage to dentition and oral structure. So, for people looking to achieve a healthy, bright smile, the only at-home dental work we recommend is brushing and flossing – and as experienced dentists, we urge social users to leave any cosmetic work to professionals. That’s what they’re here for.
Don’t go into dentistry blind
What not to do:
❌ Order braces online without a consultation with a dentist
❌ Believe that orthodontic options are an easy, one size fits all kind of fix
❌ At-home cavity repair kits or fillings
❌ Follow dental advice from anyone other than the professionals
❌ Undertake DIY dentistry
Several alarming DIY dental trends have surfaced on Tiktok
A lot of the below homemade procedures are difficult to reverse. In no world is it a good idea or advice to make an oral health decision based on 30-second social media videos.
Dentistry is a trusted profession which requires several years of study. In the cosmetic field, not all treatments are reversible, so attempting to do any yourself without any scientific evidence, experience, or knowledge about oral health; would be like blindly driving in a straight line without knowing where you’re going.
❌ Filing Teeth
We have seen social users shape their teeth with nail files and sandpaper to make them more even. Often, as cosmetic dentists, to make the teeth more even, we use composite resin to build up the other teeth to create the desired shape. In some cases, we can file the teeth, but this is a very careful procedure as it affects the enamel, which doesn’t grow back, making it irreversible. Unexperienced patients filing or shaving their teeth at home will undoubtedly experience sensitivity problems due to damaged enamel, which requires a veneer or dental crown to repair.
❌ Home-made Veneers
Even more alarmingly, patients at home spend a couple of hours custom-creating their own veneers and glueing them to their teeth, which in some cases involves them shaving teeth down to pegs to fit them. You can even buy DIY veneers and mould them yourself, but users regret this almost instantly as they cannot talk or eat properly. Veneers require vision and talent – it’s not as easy as just glueing some porcelain veneers to your teeth; a considerable amount of treatment planning goes into the procedure to ensure everything is seamless. Patients who might want to save money and do this at home might not know that they can finance veneers applied by an experienced cosmetic professional. See the cost on finance below:
❌ Moving Teeth
A popular trend we’ve seen online is people, particularly young users, “banding” their teeth to close gaps and align them. The trend involves users putting rubber bands around their teeth to move them. Never attempt to move your teeth alone – the bite will always win. Moving teeth out of their natural positions without planning, correct pressure and timing can cause alarming problems that can eventually lead to tooth loss. See Invisalign for better, safer options.
❌ Online Aligners
We’ve all had the adverts of clear aligner braces for very cheap, claiming to do the job faster – and we can’t blame some social users who act on the deal. Misaligned teeth and bite problems cause massive insecurities, and adverts offering quick fixes with invisible aligners for unbeatable prices can convince anyone to buy. But beware of the dangers. One buyer was gifted free aligners on TikTok in exchange for a video to her followers. In the end, the jaw shifted, and the teeth began to move apart rather than shifting closer together. After a visit to the orthodontist, she was quickly told the aligners weren’t safe and that she would need regular care moving forward. She warned her followers, “This was a silly decision on my part. Don’t do it.”
@thebracesguyTaking braces off with a SPOON!?!?! ????♬ original sound – The Braces Guy
❌ Removing Braces With A Spoon
Another trend orthodontists are not happy about is patients removing their braces with a spoon (or other awful kits they can buy off Amazon). Fixed braces are not easy to remove and can cause damage to teeth – plus, if you manage to get them safely off yourself, you’ll still have flue on your teeth, which must be removed with a dental drill. Not to mention teeth will begin to shift without a retainer.
❌ Whitening Teeth With Shampoo
At-home tooth whitening is never recommended. It’s incredibly worse, not to say dangerous, to wash teeth with shampoo as you might ingest the product. Whilst TikTok users claim that purple shampoo will whiten teeth, it won’t work magic but can cause you to fill very ill. On top of this, when some people use bleach instead, they kill the tooth, which causes great pain that requires root canal therapy to resolve.
❌ Gum Cleaning
Scaler hooks can also be purchased online, which is seeing users to clean their own gums. It’s one of the worst trends we’ve seen as public members are using sharp instruments to hack off their teeth, which we’ve seen cause damage to gums, sensitivity and recession.
❌ The Turkey Teeth Trend
We cannot tell you how often we’re asked to help with Turkey Teeth cases that have gone wrong. For example, see the post below for cases our leading implant dentist has to deal with regularly – even when he’s not with us at our practice. Read our post here on what you need to know about Turkey Teeth.
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