Dangers of Do-it-Yourself Dentistry

Dental examination by a dentist

DIY or Do-It-Yourself dentistry is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, but it poses a serious risk to dental health. With our practice just off the Hagley Road in Birmingham, we are all too aware of the rising cost of dental treatment. With long waiting lists to see an NHS dentist, more and more people are turning to DIY solutions to treat dental problems. This trend can lead to more harm than good, with people potentially causing permanent damage to their teeth and gums.

What is DIY dentistry?

DIY dentistry is the practice of attempting to fix dental problems at home without the help of a qualified dentist. Some of the most common DIY dental treatments include teeth whitening kits, at-home braces, and even tooth extraction. However, these treatments are not only ineffective but can also be dangerous, leading to serious complications and even permanent damage.

According to a survey conducted by the British Dental Association, more than 60% of dentists in the UK have seen patients who have attempted DIY dentistry at home. Additionally, the survey revealed that many of these patients ended up requiring costly corrective treatment to repair the damage caused by their DIY attempts.

A few weeks ago, one of our dentists saw a patient in an emergency. The patient attempted to repair a broken tooth in the back of their mouth using materials they had bought online. A couple of days after the attempt, the patient came in experiencing pain. After an x-ray and examination, we found that the broken tooth still needed to be repaired. The gums around the tooth were infected and physically presented with abscess and inflammation. Luckily for the patient, the treatment didn’t cost as much as it could have if the damage was worse. We were able to repair the broken tooth and treat the infection.

What about teeth whitening?

Another common DIY dental treatment is teeth whitening. While many over-the-counter teeth whitening kits are available in the UK, these products can be dangerous if not used properly. In fact, according to the General Dental Council, teeth whitening is a dental treatment and should only be carried out by a qualified dental professional. DIY teeth whitening can lead to gum damage, tooth sensitivity, and even chemical burns on the gums.

In a separate example, a patient came in after buying a tooth whitening kit online and had followed instructions they had seen on a YouTube video. 

Sadly, the application of the kit resulted in their gums being badly damaged and burnt by the product, causing the gums to start receding away from their teeth and leaving the patient with extreme sensitivity. The resulting whitening left the teeth patchy, and the patient was upset and embarrassed. For anybody who feels they may have had a similar experience, please know that we are here to help you, and this isn’t something to be embarrassed about. It’s quite common. In the end, we were able to help by showing and demonstrating the correct use and application of the whitening kit. We were able to correct the inconsistency in the colour of the teeth and help with the health of their gums.

What about at-home-braces?

Another DIY dental treatment that is becoming increasingly popular is at-home braces. Attempting to straighten teeth without the help of a qualified orthodontist can lead to serious complications. Misaligned teeth can cause issues with bite, jaw pain, and even speech problems. Trying to fix these issues without the help of a professional can cause permanent damage to the teeth and gums.

In conclusion and to be concise, practicing DIY dentistry is a dangerous. The trend should be avoided at all costs. Attempting to fix dental problems at home can cause serious complications and permanent damage to teeth and gums. It may be tempting to save money on dental treatments, however the long-term cost of DIY dentistry can far outweigh the initial savings. If you are experiencing dental problems, it is important to seek the help of a qualified dental professional who can provide safe and effective treatment.