DIY Dentistry…..DIY Don’t!

Those of us in dentistry have probably come across some articles of late about “DIY” dentistry (here  and here). Patients extracting their own teeth is certainly not a new phenomenon (modern dentistry only began in the 17th century). Today one can buy dental scalers and do their own cleanings, or do it yourself home whitening kits. And with the advent of digital dental technologies such as Invisalign it could only be a matter of time before patients attempt minor orthodontic movement of their own teeth without seeing a dentist.

Some of these trends may offer little risk. But may create significant potential for causing gum lacerations, infection, pain, aggravation of periodontal disease, a false sense of oral health, difficulty with oral home care, tooth nerve damage and more. Attempts to move teeth through bone has risk, even of bone loss and root shortening if the tooth is moved too rapidly. Remember that Newton’s third law is always in play – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that one can move a single tooth and all of a sudden NONE of the teeth bite correctly. Once that happens it is difficult to regain the original bite.

There is a reason dental professionals spend years and years in school learning how to practice dentistry effectively and safely. One has to use their best judgement in these matters, and financial obstacles to care are not trivial. But the best way to save money on dental care is to seek professional dental care so you avoid creating more problems than you already have. Get into a risk based preventive dental hygiene program where the professional staff is attentive to your propensity to develop decay and periodontal disease as well as completing an oral cancer examination periodically.

Just don’t start doing your own braces. Mow your own yard! Cook your own food! Make your own bed!


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