You may have seen commercials on TV or ads on social media. They claim at-home kits can straighten your smile for a fraction of the cost. The ads show stunning before-and-after photos and promise that their method is easier, faster, and cheaper than professional orthodontic care. We’re here to straighten out any misconceptions about DIY dental work because your oral health is not something to mess with.
Learn how these shortcuts can actually cause complications.
At-Home Braces and Aligners
The idea of having straighter teeth in less than six months might sound promising, but DIY dental work in the form of at home braces or aligners is a bad idea. The DIY appliances can move teeth too fast, damaging bone and gums. It also increases the chances of teeth moving back into their original position.
The American Dental Association and American Association of Orthodontists both discourage the practice, warning consumers to steer clear of “any suggestions to move teeth with rubber bands, dental floss or other objects ordered on the internet.” Orthodontic care can be costly and DIY aligners may seem like a good way to get the same results at a cheaper cost. But remember—you get what you pay for.
Orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school compared to marketing companies with no specialized dental education.
Do-It-Yourself Cavity Filling
Most, if not all, dental plans provide coverage for filling a cavity. There are DIY temporary fillings on the market, but visiting a dentist allows them to examine your teeth and gums for other problems.
You may think you know where the cavity is because of pain, but what you can’t see is how close the decay may be to the tooth’s root. You also don’t know how it may be affecting the other teeth in your mouth.
If tooth decay is substantial, then other methods may be needed to save it, like a root canal. Only a professional can make this call, and foregoing a dentist visit could equal losing the tooth. Using foreign materials to repair a tooth is dangerous if you’re not a professional. If the DIY work goes wrong, you could end up with a painful infection.
Patients who fear the dentist often don’t visit until they’re in pain, or at all. If you’ve waited on a tooth that’s so painful you’re considering pulling it out, stop. Tooth extraction is a form of oral surgery—it’s best to allow a professional dentist to analyze and make the final decision, regardless of what “professionals” on the internet say.
A dentist has the skills and education to determine if the tooth is impacted and if it can be saved. If extraction is necessary, the dentist will have the right tools, including numbing agents and dissolving stitches that make the process as simple and painless as possible.
It’s understandable to think about costs when considering dental care. However, dental treatments should be left in the hands of licensed dentists and orthodontists who have received formal training to care for your smile. Saving money should never be put ahead of your health.
Prevention is Key
Most oral health issues can be prevented through regular cleanings and at-home care like brushing and flossing. DIY fanatics shouldn’t outsource – it’s why we have quality, qualified dentists. Thanks to your dental benefits, preventive care is typically covered at little to no cost.