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23 May 2024

Risks and Alternatives to Do-It-Yourself Dental Treatments

Do-it-yourself articles have become some of the most viral topics across the Internet. From learning how to change a tyre to taking an online juggling course, there are nearly limitless suggestions.

The good news is that the majority of these are harmless, and some can even teach extremely practical skills.

However, it’s different with dental treatments.

Not only are the majority ineffective at addressing the root problem, but some will inevitably place your oral health at risk. Let’s examine the finer points to understand why seeking the advice of a dentist is always the best option.

Convenience, Fear or Both?

Why might some people prefer do-it-yourself dental practices?

Some may therefore choose to delay even a minor treatment until the last minute, while others could instead opt for the DIY approach. A handful will likewise state that they do not have the time to schedule an appointment, instead choosing to perform so-called “everyday” cleanings at home.

Regardless of the justification, the end result often causes more harm than good.

Also, the underlying condition will not be addressed. This will lead to even more serious issues in the future — requiring professional intervention that might not have otherwise been necessary.

Let’s examine some dangers that home-based methods can pose.

Common Misconceptions

One issue with many DIY dental strategies is that they are based on decidedly spurious data. An example can help to prove this point. Some so-called “experts” claim that brushing your teeth with charcoal will help to remove stains.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), there is no clinical evidence to support this statement. Not only could you be wasting your time, but the extremely fine crystals found within some types of charcoal might actually damage the enamel of your teeth, which cannot replenish itself.

DIY Orthodontics

The same holds true when discussing home-based products that are used as orthodontic adjustment tools. While all of us want to have a straight set of teeth, some are willing to pay a higher price than others.

It is an unfortunate fact that many of these products could lead to surprisingly serious issues including:

  • Permanent damage to your teeth or the underlying bone structure.
  • Pain in your jaw.
  • An uneven bite.
  • Receding gums.

In some cases, tooth loss could also occur. We can therefore see why leaving such treatments to the professionals is always the best choice.

Exacerbating Minor Problems

Of course, no-one will ever attempt to perform an at-home root canal. However, many could instead be tempted to try DIY dental procedures if the issue itself appears to be rather mild (tartar beneath the gums or a single stained tooth are two examples). Once again, the risks are high.

One common result is that at-home techniques will frequently worsen the condition in question — such as causing damage to the gums when attempting to remove plaque or tartar.

Others may result in harm that can only be rectified within clinical settings. Simply stated, the risks of embracing a do-it-yourself mentality far outweigh any perceived benefits.

The Advantages of Professional Consultations

There are many benefits which can be attributed to professional interventions and the most obvious is the simple fact that ongoing problems can be accurately diagnosed. This will then enable your dentist to discover the most effective treatment options, saving a great deal of time and aggravation. This is nonetheless only the beginning.

Averting More Serious Issues

Simply ignoring an issue with your oral health will rarely result in a positive outcome. The same holds true when discussing DIY dental techniques. Once again, the problem could actually become worse. The best way to avoid such an outcome is to embrace a proactive approach and to schedule a consultation at the first sign of trouble.

Discovering Underlying Problems

There is no such concept as a one-size-fits-all approach to dentistry (4). Every mouth is different and therefore, unique approaches are needed. These are hardly possible at home, regardless of whatever online gurus may claim.

Furthermore, treatments such as dental veneers and night guards must be customised to suit the needs of the individual in question. The results will otherwise leave much to be desired (if not causing outright damage).

Obtaining Professional Advice

We should also remember that dentists can offer far more than the occasional cleaning or a one-off filling. They can provide extremely useful advice if you have been looking to learn more about the proper approaches to oral care.

For instance, perhaps the “root” cause of your underlying problems is the result of a poor diet. You might come across lesser-known recommendations such as the relationship between common snack crackers and the accumulation of harmful bacteria within the mouth. Either way, an ounce of prevention certainly goes a long way.

Still Stuck on At-Home Treatments?

Regardless of the observations outlined above, some readers might still lean towards do-it-yourself dental treatments. The good news is that not all is lost. Some options are better than others.

The issue here is being able to separate the good from the bad. This is when the knowledge of a dentist will once again come into play. He or she can provide insightful recommendations and numerous tips if you wish to properly care for your teeth and gums. Do not be afraid to ask.

While DIY dental technology has come a long way, these kits are still a far cry from the solutions that a dentist can provide. It is therefore best to err on the side of caution.

Sources:

  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22594-dentophobia-fear-of-dentists
  2. https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(17)30412-9/fulltext
  3. https://www.mouthhealthy.org/all-topics-a-z/diy-dentistry
  4. https://wolteradc.com/blog/diy-dental-treatments-the-good-the-bad-and-the-dangerous/

 

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