- Published: Tuesday, 17 January 2023 07:43
- Written by Guy Tuggle
- Hits: 715
Most clinicians encounter patients who present declaring that they’ve got such and such a condition and that they therefore need such and such a course of treatment. How do they know this? Quite possibly, because ‘Dr Google’ told them.
Unlike Google, which can be highly educational, TikTok is a social media forum predominantly geared towards entertainment and is packed with short, often humorous videos of young people dancing or acting out humorous skits. So the revelation that over three million people glean dental care advice from the tag #DIYdentist is deeply disturbing, especially given the clinical naivety of those posting.
A journalistic item in Ledger-Enquirer, a newspaper headquartered in Columbus, Georgia, drew attention to a report that the ‘DIY dental hacks have gone viral on the social media platform and can range from short tutorials on how to make your own veneers to prying off braces with a spoon’.
Another DIY video freely available to Tik Tok viewers shows a woman closing spaces between her teeth using a dental filler.
“I am a dental assistant, and I literally stopped breathing when I realised what was happening” one insider commented on the medium. “Please don’t do this.”
Several dentists have spoken out on Tik Tok cautioning users of the medium against attempting the crackpot DIY treatments. One, who calls himself The Braces Guy informed viewers that ‘even if a person did manage to pry off their braces using a spoon, they would still need to be evaluated since the brace residue would still be on the teeth.’
The Braces Guy went on to remind DIY’ers tempted to ‘spoon their brace off’ that doing so would likely risk the teeth reverting to prior positioning thereby necessitating a new course of orthodontic treatment. “Also, don’t use a fork” he added.
Fox News, which also exposed the pitfalls of DIY dentistry cited a Tik Tok tutorial that promoted ‘at-home dental kits with composite veneers to fix gaps and chips in teeth while others have posted about two day classes where people can learn to do their own composite resin veneers.’
Not all Tik Tok dental viewers sing the praises of DIY dentistry . One writer endured excruciating pain after filing her own teeth with a nail file and spoke of her regret.
The cost of dental treatment in America was seized upon by Tik Tok viewers attempting to defend DIY dentistry. “Going to the dentist is just too expensive” said one commentator whilst another, responding to the travails of the woman filling her gaps with dental filler said “If dental care wasn’t so expensive in America she would probably get them professionally done.”
‘For every individual over the age of 19 without medical insurance there are three without dental insurance’ according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
Dentist Ben Winters who comments on Tik Tok told NBC that tooth damage is usually irreversible. “This is a permanent decision. These teeth are not coming back, you’re not getting anything else. Lip filler can be dissolved, Botox goes away. If you get implants you can have them removed. Once you alter the shape of your teeth, that is gone forever.”
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