I have seen some pretty gnarly examples of DIY Dentistry. While I’m a big fan of equipping you to take control of your oral heath and reducing your need to see the dentist, there are a lot of things you most definitely should not do. There are also some things that I’ll teach you to do that should really only be done if there are no other options available. Please be smart when attempting any type of treatment on yourself. If it seems like a bad idea, it probably is! With that in mind and without further ado, here are my 3 big rules of DIY Dentistry…
All DIY dentistry done on your teeth should be temporary or reversible – eg. Certain removable dental appliances, Denture adjustments and repairs, Temporary fake teeth, Temporary fillings, Temporary Cement, Cleaning your teeth. Everything I recommend doing on this website follows these rules, except in very specific survival situations where it is not possible to get care.
Bad Example 1: Some people like to buy permanent cement or filling materials. When these are placed incorrectly or over decayed teeth they can cause infections and damage to your teeth and the bones surrounding them. Some unscrupulous companies will sell you some of these products without telling you about the very real risk of severe consequences. Permanent cement will set up between your teeth and you won’t be able to get it out. This causes severe inflammation of the tissue and possibly bone loss around your teeth.
Bad Example 2: Some people also come to me and say “I pulled my own tooth out with pliers!!”. Now this works great with loose baby teeth (minus the pliers). Adult teeth are another matter entirely. Usually they have just broken off the top of the tooth or crown and have left the infected (or soon to be infected) root of the tooth in the gums. Removing damaged teeth is much more difficult than just “pulling” it out. Just don’t do it, and especially don’t do it with rusty pliers!
Even if you think orthodontic treatment is “reversible”, don’t try to do it on yourself. There is a pretty high risk of permanent and irreversible damage to your teeth if you do it wrong!
Bad Example 1: The most dangerous trend is using rubber bands to try and close a gap in your teeth. Many YouTube videos show examples of people doing this. What they don’t tell you is that if that rubber band slips under your gums, it will work it’s way down around your teeth destroying the bone and attachments and the tooth will literally fall out. There have been many instances of this happening.
Bad Example 2: Did you hear about that kid who 3D printed “Invisalign” style aligners to straighten his teeth. Pretty genius level stuff for a high school student.While I’ve got to give him credit for actually managing to pull this off, he was pretty lucky to not cause permanent damage. Teeth can only take a certain amount of force and in certain directions without causing damage.
If dental pain is accompanied by swelling, please see a medical professional. Orajel and temporary filling materials aren’t going to help here! In rare cases this can be life threatening. There are many cases of people dying from dental abscesses that spread to other areas of the body.
Bad Example #1: I’m not even going to put a picture on the website for this one because it is too much for most people. If you’re really interested, search for pictures of “Ludwig’s Angina”. This is severe swelling in an area below the throat that cuts off your ability to breathe. Deadly if not treated. Enough said.
Bad Example #2: Look up Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis. This is a septic infection that can result from untreated dental infections. It has a mortality (death) rate of 30%.