I am a strong believer in the free market. There are many products and services that offer great advantages when done as a DIY or at a better cost. However, we all know there are some things better left to the educated professionals. Here are three dental DIYs I recommend a second thought before jumping in.
The first dental DIY I recommend avoiding is over-the-counter night guards. It may seem simple enough to mold a guard to your teeth, but there are several complicating factors that can occur. One of the most important aspects of an occlusal or night guard is the occlusion or bite. Your teeth are made to naturally bite and glide across each other in a healthy way to avoid further teeth or TMJ issues. Custom guards made in a dental office have these components designed into the appliance. In addition, very soft occlusal guards only encourage chewing that aggravates the TMJ. Of course, it happens now and again that an at-home night guard gets lodged in and requires a dentist to “cut” them out. That isn’t fun for anyone.
Another common attempt to practice at-home dentistry that I see is attempting to “glue” back broken restorations. The first thing is that superglue rarely bonds to teeth or dental restorations and simply makes a mess. I am not opposed to certain over-the-counter cements as long as they are recognized as temporary cements. Improperly repaired dental work can inhibit proper sealing and protection of the teeth, resulting in further dental work. The materials in dentistry are designed to interact properly with the crystalline structure of teeth in a safe and healthy way.
Finally, though it is all the buzz, at-home orthodontic care is not a good idea for everyone. Orthodontic care should be well supervised, and it is necessary to make sure you are in good dental health before even beginning. Orthodontic treatment in the presence of decay or periodontal disease will create a dental disaster. Even strong clinicians must make difficult and meticulous treatment decisions throughout orthodontic treatment. In the end, there are some things that are best dealt with a professional understanding.
It is a good idea to consider consulting your dentist before attempting to become one yourself. Happy smiling!