Don’t Try This at Home: Five Dental Treatments to Leave to the Pros


We all take pride in accomplishing tasks ourselves, but there are some things in life that are best left in the hands of the professionals. Nowhere is this truer than in dentistry. That’s because while some treatments may look easy enough, they can leave you with permanent and irreversible damage to your teeth and gums – or leave you spending all your savings repairing the damage. While some DIY treatments are harmless, some are absolutely a bad idea. Here’s a list of five of the worst treatments to try at home.

DIY Braces

If you haven’t heard of the DIY braces trend, you’re not missing much - except for the potential to cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw. The DIY braces trend first gained popularity on YouTube, when teens started posting videos of "braces" they made with rubber bands and paperclips. And while they definitely noticed changes in their smiles, and the treatment did save a lot of money, the amount of damage something like this could end up doing far outweighs any pros.

For starters, attempting to shift your teeth without knowing how to properly align your bite could make your teeth a lot worse. Chipped teeth, TMD and difficulty cleaning the teeth are just a few of the problems you could develop by making your own braces. You also run the risk of infection if your "braces" aren’t sterile, leading to gum disease, lost tissue and lost teeth!

Home Whitening

Home whitening kits aren’t new - you can get them at department stores and pharmacies. The ones marketed to consumers are very safe and contain very low concentrations of active ingredients. But a new trend has been seen around the world - so-called dentists opening basement clinics and offering patients peroxide whitening gel treatments in their home, or for the patient to bring home.

The problem is, these treatments can contain dangerous amounts of active ingredients that can severely burn the inside of the mouth and destroy the enamel. If you want whiter teeth and aren’t happy with your whitening toothpaste or white strips, visit a licensed dental professional for a whitening treatment.

TMD Treatment

A recent article about an increasing number of millennials getting physical therapy for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) has us on edge. That’s because even though physical therapists regularly work with joints, bones and muscles, they aren’t trained to work on teeth. Neuromuscular dentistry, on the other hand, is specifically taught to dentists to address TMD safely, taking into account not just the muscles and joints, but also the proper alignment of the teeth.

If you have TMD, only undergo treatment from a dentist trained in neuromuscular dentistry, like Dr. Lederman.

Braces by Mail

Braces by mail isn’t quite as dangerous as DIY paperclip braces, but getting a dental scan performed by a cashier in a shared workspace and then having an orthotic sent to you in the mail with no dentist or orthodontist supervision is a bad idea - no matter how affordable it claims to be. Orthodontics by mail is a bad idea, because without orthodontist supervision any problems you develop could be totally missed. Worse yet, your new orthotic could be swapped too soon, causing unnecessary pain. Resist the urge to handle your orthodontic procedure yourself and leave the braces to the professionals.

Tooth Glue

An Australian PR agent recently made headlines after she posted on Instagram to her 25,000-plus followers that she glued her broken teeth together with eyelash glue after breaking them in a fall. What’s worse, she waited four months to get them repaired by a dentist!

There are so many things wrong here it's hard to know where to begin. First of all, it’s extremely dangerous to use any kind of adhesive in your mouth that isn’t made specifically for your mouth, because you could ingest it. Some stores do sell adhesive that is designed to temporarily re-bond crowns, but that product is only made for temporary (just a few days) use.

Another problem is the damage this type of adhesive can cause to your teeth. It could harm the enamel or even cause an infection or cavity. If you break a tooth, the first thing you should do is call Dr. Lederman and follow his instructions. Don’t try to repair it yourself at home.

Speaking of Dr. Lederman, if you have any questions or concerns about these or other oral health issues, please call him at 516-882-1764.

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