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Why you should avoid DIY dental trends

You could more harm than good

Why you should avoid DIY dental trends

DIY activities, like swapping a lighting fixture or painting your living room, are popular ways to accomplish your to-do list. But as anyone who has tackled too big of a project knows, some jobs are best left to the professionals. That includes your dental health.

You may have already seen DIY dentistry products, such as at-home whitening kits, mouthguards or teeth aligners. These often guarantee fast, easy ways to solve your oral health issues without the involvement of a dentist or an orthodontist (a dentist who specializes in the bite and alignment of your teeth).

“Dental products are never one-size-fits-all,” said American Dental Association (ADA) president, Linda Edgar, D.D.S. “No two mouths are alike, which is why it’s important to work directly with an ADA dentist or orthodontist to determine the precise care that your body needs.”

Skipping the dentist chair and “fixing” your teeth at home can lead to bigger, sometimes irreversible problems. For some people with more complex dental health needs, using an at-home aligner may cause bone loss, lost teeth, receding gums, bite problems, jaw pain and other damaging and permanent issues. You might also not be aware of other dental issues that should be addressed before you start moving teeth.

“Patients are understandably drawn to these DIY treatments because they might struggle to fit a dentist appointment into their schedule or they assume at-home care will cost less,” Dr. Edgar said. “But when these products cause major issues, patients end up spending more time and more money trying to reverse that damage. Instead, trained ADA dentists and orthodontists can talk through patients’ budget concerns and offer them a wider variety of dependable, approved treatment options.”

In between dental checkups, look for products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. These have been independently evaluated by experts and recognized to be both safe and effective. When you choose one of these options, you can be assured that your care is backed by evidence-based research and generations of scientific knowledge.

Whether it’s teeth grinding or a toothache, talk to your dentist before trying to solve your dental problems on your own. A dentist can help you find a personalized treatment plan that’s right for you, monitor your progress and make recommendations on how to manage your oral health outside of the office.

To look for an ADA dentist in your area, visit findadentist.ada.org.

“The ADA’s primary concerns with DIY dentistry are, and always have been, patient safety and quality care,” Dr. Edgar said. “Our job as dentists is to put patient health first.”

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) nensuria / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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