The Risks of DIY Dentistry

The Risks of DIY dentistry


Learning new skills can be exciting and fulfilling. For these reasons, many people are attracted to the DIY approach. While DIYing certainly has its benefits and can be a great approach to many activities, dentistry is not one of them. In fact, DIY dentistry can cause serious problems for your oral health, and you may inadvertently turn a small problem into a much larger one. When you consider the fact that dentists have to complete four years of dental school in addition to undergraduate studies, it becomes clear that the only person working on your mouth should be your dentist. Still, some people have started to embrace and/or promote the idea of DIY dentistry. Here are some of the approaches people have taken, as well as the reasons why to avoid these approaches yourself: 



When you suspect you have a dental cavity, the best course of action is to make an appointment with your dentist. However, some people have tried to DIY dental fillings using temporary filling materials as permanent solutions. Additionally, one dental patient even used an automotive adhesive to fabricate his own dental filling. As a result, his entire tooth ended up needing to be extracted. Even picking at cavities or trying to clean them out on your own can potentially do more harm than good. 

damaged enamel from DIY whitening

Teeth Whitening

With professional teeth whitening procedures being so affordable and a variety of over the counter approaches, you wouldn’t think there would be a need for DIY whitening. Yet, some people have tried to whiten their teeth at home using pure hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or even bleach. Unfortunately, this can be potentially dangerous since hydrogen peroxide and bleach can cause digestive distress and many other health problems. Not only that, but pure hydrogen peroxide can bleach the gums and damage them in the process. Many DIY whitening methods also end up damaging the tooth enamel, which causes sensitivity and can even make the teeth appear more yellow. 


Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a destructive behavior often brought on by stress. In the last year, bruxism rates have grown substantially, and many dentists are seeing evidence of this behavior in their patients. To protect your teeth and jaw from the damage that bruxism can cause, a customized nightguard is usually recommended. However, many people are skipping the dental appointment and instead opting for the premade or boil and bite mouthguards. Unfortunately, mouthguards are not a one size fits all situation and even the boil and bite mouthguards do not fit properly. Poorly-fitting nightguards can cause your teeth to shift, as well as excess strain on your jaw joint. 

extracted teeth


While most people would shy away from extracting their own tooth, some people may attempt this to avoid a dental visit. It goes without saying that trying to extract your own tooth can be extremely dangerous. The only teeth that you should ever attempt to pull out are primary teeth that have become loose to make room for permanent teeth. Self-extractions can cause infections or even damage to the underlying jaw bone. Oftentimes, oral surgery is needed to repair the damage caused by a DIY tooth extraction. 

Dr. Deborah TabbPatients at Bethesda Family Dentistry benefit from the knowledge and experience that only comes from a diverse team. From general dentistry to endodontic, periodontics, and cosmetic dental services, this Bethesda, MD clinic is ready to be the only source you need for all your oral health needs.
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