Just a few years ago, our very own Dr. Lindsey Heim wrote two blogs about “DIY Nightmares” and today there are even more “solutions” for making your smile “better.” To clear up any confusion or questions about these methods, we’re here to deliver part 3 of our DIY nightmare.
In recent years, we’ve seen an uptick in at-home dental remedies and solutions, which, through the internet, have been afforded an undeserved sense of legitimacy. The idea of “DIY” has no place in the world of dentistry, although it can seem like a tempting option given the expense of some dental procedures. The truth is, many home dental “solutions” will not deliver on what they promise and have the potential to damage your teeth. We recommend deferring to a dental professional when it comes to things like veneers, braces and teeth whitening.
When it comes to your teeth, a “solution” that seems too good to be true probably is. Case in point: at-home veneers. In recent years, we’ve come across a number of retailers that promise beautiful, custom veneers at a fraction of the standard cost, which you can order from the comfort of your home. As you might imagine, the “custom veneers” that result can look unnatural and might be ill-fitting. On top of this, the wearer might not be able to eat with them in. Bottom line: when it comes to veneers, if you’re looking for quality results, we recommend involving your dentist in the process, otherwise you could end up like this guy.
In one of the most concerning dental-related trends we’ve ever seen, some people have begun crafting makeshift braces in attempt to straighten their teeth. Foregoing a trip to the orthodontist in favor of crafting braces made out of rubber bands, bobby pins, or paper clips is, unsurprisingly, an ill-advised idea. The appeal of DIY braces is clear – they offer an inexpensive, “quick fix” alternative to conventional braces. However, they can cause significant, and sometimes permanent, damage to teeth. In severe cases, DIY braces can even lead to tooth loss. For these reasons, we recommend you never attempt an at-home “solution” to crooked teeth, and that you always consult with your dentist, who can recommend a trusted orthodontist.
Strawberries and charcoal and oil, oh my! It seems like there’s a new, “natural” whitening solution being touted by the blogosphere almost every day. Gone are the days when whitening at home was limited to more conventional solutions like whitening strips and gels.Now, we have to contend with seemingly-outlandish suggestions (activated charcoal, anyone?). Below, we explore a few of the more popular home remedies making their way around the internet that some claim will give you a whiter, brighter smile.
Some celebrities swear by a combination of strawberries and baking soda to whiten their teeth. Studies have shown that this berry mixture removes surface plaque, but doesn’t actually bleach the enamel. Bottom line: brushing your teeth with toothpaste is just as effective, if not more, than brushing your teeth with strawberries (not to mention less messy).
- Activated Charcoal
It seems counterintuitive to rub black powder along your teeth in hopes of whitening them, but some people advocate for this method, which is quickly becoming popular on social media. Supporters claim that charcoal powder essentially “absorbs” stains, however the American Dental Association (ADA) has yet to weigh in. What we do know is that the abrasive charcoal powder may harm your teeth’s enamel. We recommend you steer clear of this method until studies say otherwise.
- Oil Pulling
The tradition of swishing a spoonful of oil through your teeth for roughly twenty minutes for improved oral health can be traced back to ancient India. Advocates claim that this practice removes bacteria, which not only prevents cavities, but also whitens teeth. Does this method work? The verdict is out. According to the ADA, there haven’t been any studies which point to its effectiveness. We’d recommend sticking to brushing and flossing.
All in all, the majority of at-home dental remedies and solutions, with the exception of those approved by the ADA, are not recommended. At best, these remedies will have no effect on the appearance of your teeth and, at worst, they will do irreversible damage to your teeth. For quality results when it comes to veneers, braces, and whitening, we recommend you consult with an expert. Your dentist will be able to provide the safest, most effective route for all your dental needs.