Do It Yourself Dentistry: A Pathway To Pain
Do It Yourself Dentistry: A Pathway To Pain
If you grew up in the 1970s, chances are you thought it was pretty cool to tie a piece of string to a doorknob and wrap it around your wobbly baby tooth, then ask your sibling to slam the door shut. Yep, choosing do it yourself in dentistry could cause a lot of pain and blood, but it seemed harmless enough at the time. However in today’s social-media-influenced world, DIY Dentistry has many more options, some of them with darker implications – like actions that can cause serious damage to your oral health.
Of course we would suggest it’s best to leave your dental care to trained and experienced dental professionals, and on this matter we’re pretty confident we’re correct. If you want to know why. read on.
A significant two million Australians put off going to the dentist or orthodontist each year because of the cost. In that demographic lie the grass roots of an upswing in interest in Do It Yourself Dentistry.
Therefore it’s inevitable that Do It Yourself Dentistry – AKA its acronym DIY Dentistry – or DIYD – has become a trend not so much because of commercials on television – because they’re heavily regulated – but because some social media influencers have been claiming quick fixes for dental problems via several sources of (usually “sponsored”, can we say bribed?) misinformation and disinformation.
It would thus be an understatement to reveal that some patients attempt to do-it-yourself on themselves because of financial difficulty or limited access to dental care, driving them to try self-treatment that not only has negative implications on their oral health – because some behaviours cause illnesses and injuries.
Narelle Everard, who has worked for the Royal District Nursing Service Homeless Persons Program for a decade, has seen first-hand the impact of dental inequality on Victoria’s most vulnerable.
During a stint in the Yarra Ranges north of Melbourne, one homeless man she knew pulled a tooth out with a set of pliers because he couldn’t afford to see a dentist.
“It was desperation,” Everard said.
Clearly cost and poverty are the two biggest reasons why DIY Dentistry happens.
The Grattan Institute issued a report in 2019 which said: “When Australians need to see a GP, Medicare picks up all or most of the bill. When they need to see a dentist, Australians are on their own.”
“There’s no compelling medical, economic, or legal reason to treat the mouth so differently from the rest of the body.”
But while the government of Australia, and others, do not cover dentistry, which is estimated to cost $5.6 billion per year if it was covered by Medicare, then DIY Dentistry methods will continue to be either a painful last resort, or an appealing cosmetic adventure.
What Is DIY Dentistry in 2022 & 2023?
Presently DIY Dentistry comes in its most visible forms as readily available videos and kits which offer tips, tricks, and other home-grown approaches to managing dental issues. This trend isn’t being driven firstly just by teens-being-teens and trying anything they see online, but also secondly by those who have had to find alternatives to standard dental treatment due to their location or financial limitations, but thirdly yet mostly, by unethical dental manufacturers who see a fast buck to be made selling products with dubious efficacy.
An Australian Dental Association (ADA) spokesman and Sydney dentist Dr. Mark Levi said “the increasing popularity of online and off-the-shelf teeth whitening products was concerning.” This issue has become a big enough problem that the 160,000+ dentists of the Australian Dental Association (ADA) have asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and its regulators to better protect consumers by enforcing the law and better educating people on the risks of oral health done at home without seeking a dental professional’s advice.
The dangers of Do It Yourself Dentistry will give us all an idea of how big an issue this is becoming. Some of these processes can cause serious injury requiring costly surgeries and procedures to correct, so it pays to know what to look out for.
DIY Dentistry: A Pathway To Pain
You can find numerous and readily available DIY dental kits and videos that offer tricks, tips, and home-grown solutions for particular dental problems that should only be handled by a dentist or dental hygienist. Unfortunately, some people choose the DIY dentistry route not only because they are popular but also because they seem like effective alternative solutions to basic dental treatments they can’t otherwise.
Google and YouTube yield thousands of how-to videos and blogs on DIY dentistry. The promise to help fix or whiten your teeth for cheap has enticed more people to turn to these risky solutions. Some are sweeping Asia with dangerous consequences, as non-medical procedures in places like the Philippines are heavily adopted. It’s considered a symbol of wealth to have braces in these poorer Asian countries, yet this orthodontic procedure is far beyond the salaried means of the average Filipino. Several tutorial videos have been found on YouTube showing fashionable DIY braces kits popular across several regions of the Philippines, products which pose several health risks that can cause tooth decay, root canal damage, inflammation, and infection. And in the case of teeth whitening and/or bleaching substances, poisoning.
The Philippine Dental Association released a note to the public urging them not to do their orthodontic work via these methods:
“It is of the high probability that self-installation of the so-called do-it-yourself products will lead to potential injury to the user in the absence of professional supervision.”
They then asked, in the interest of public safety people to report any unauthorised or illegal dentistry. So, before you decide to take your dental health into your own hands, think it over many times and instead visit the nearest dentist in your local area.
Why Visit a Dentist?
If you are considering oral health DIY beyond regular brushing and flossing, do yourself a favour and have a simple conversation with your dentist. You may be able to find a solution that encourages the changes you want to see, but in ways that are safe for your jaw, mouth, and gums. Remember, no amount of money saved through Do It Yourself Dentistry is likely to be able to offset the pain and costs of eventually having to correct these now worsened conditions in the dental chair.
Knowing who to trust is key to ensuring the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth. Relying on a trustworthy dentist means you have peace of mind knowing that you do not only get the right dental treatment, but also you have someone who will look out for you and provide preventive dental care for potential oral health problems. Consult your nearest dentist and determine what is best for you.
Note: All content and media on the Sunbury Dental House website and social media channels are created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.
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