Another Do-it-Yourself Dentistry Fiasco in The News
I Bet I Can Do That! I bet you can’t!
So often, patients call or come to see me and tell me how they tried to fix their dental problems, resulting in disaster.
We’ve discussed DIY dentistry in the past, but what prompted me to write about do-it-yourself dentistry was the closing of a national business that brought orthodontics to the home this week.
After declaring bankruptcy, SmileDirectClub abruptly closed down their entire global operation leaving customers in the lurch without support or recourse.
Do-it-Yourself Dentistry Can be Tempting
With the advent of clear aligners to move teeth and a corresponding decrease in braces use, the thought of doing it yourself was tempting.
The process involved taking your impression and sending it to the company. As time passed, it was determined that self-impressions was not such a good idea, and kiosks or stores in malls popped up where one could do a digital scan.
This approach ensured the accuracy of conveying exactly what the mouth looked like to the company, but monitoring became an issue.
A computer figures out how your teeth should move, but it is not always correct, as with all technology. Diligent observance and watchfulness are required to ensure the procedure goes smoothly.
More Examples of Do-it-Yourself Dentistry Disasters
I thought I would highlight some other areas in dentistry that patients try to do themselves and fall short of their expectations.
The first and biggest one is self-diagnosis. In the past, patients would talk to their friends and compare stories as they tried to figure out why something was awry in their mouths.
With the advent of the internet, now everyone has a degree in medicine. All you have to do is search for an answer, and you will find one to help you figure out your problem. The reader of such information has no idea who wrote it and their qualifications.
Even if you are not computer savvy, your children or grandchildren will do this for you. Now, we have added another layer to spread misinformation.
The lack of education and missing other modalities to conclude and properly diagnose, such as x-rays or even seeing a tooth in a hidden area, spell disaster. The patient delays seeking professional help and could become very ill.
I often see a denture repair attempt. Materials to fix a denture are readily available in stores, and the idea of this fix is tempting. If you do it yourself, you won’t be without a denture, and the cost will be significantly less.
An easy fix can become a serious problem, costing much more money than if you sought professional help. When we fix or process a denture, it is often done under pressure and in high heat. With drugstore remedies, that method is not a possibility.
At Home Tooth Fillings
Another problem area is buying a filling material and placing it in a painful tooth, hoping to place a bandaid and solve the problem.
Let me share some thoughts with you.
Please don’t do that!
When we place a filling or a crown for a patient, we ensure the area is dry and clean. We use bright light, magnification, and mirrors to ensure dryness and cleanliness. Trying to achieve these goals in the confines of your bathroom is impossible.
Your at-home filling now seals bacteria and debris in the tooth on the way to creating a very painful situation over time.
Get a Dental Professional’s Opinion
The list of do-it-yourself dentistry fixes can go on and on. And in most cases the results are usually disastrous.
Let’s simply say that when you notice or feel a problem, pick up the phone and please call Nikki or Jamie to schedule a visit for a professional opinion and recommendations.
We can be reached at 440.951.7856.
Before I end, I want to give a special hello to a new patient who tells me she has all my columns and can quote from them. I met her yesterday and want to say hi to Louise.
As always, I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.
Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.