Recently, many of us were horrified to learn about people pulling their own teeth amid the coronavirus pandemic. While we know that most of our patients would never even consider such a thing, there are a few types of DIY dentistry that many people think they can do on their own, but you shouldn’t!

Here’s why!

young blonde haired woman looking at her stunning smile in the mirror

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is the most commonly requested cosmetic dentistry procedure. It’s also something you can do at home if you use an approved whitening kit according to the directions. Working with a dentist is better, of course, giving whiter and more balanced results, but the kits you buy in the store are also good.

However, what you should not do is try to make your own whitening formula at home. The Internet is full of suggestions for different ways to make a home whitener. However, these formulas almost always rely on either acid that eats away your tooth enamel or abrasives that wear your enamel away. This might whiten your teeth in the short term, but once the enamel is gone, your teeth will be permanently yellow and more vulnerable to cavities.So never formulate a home whitener.

Soothing a Toothache

If you have a toothache, you should try some basic strategies to take care of it. Try over-the-counter pain medications, especially those that battle swelling (like ibuprofen/Advil or naproxen/Aleve). You can also try putting an ice pack against your cheek near the tooth.

If those strategies don’t work, it’s time to contact a dentist. A serious toothache could be a symptom of a potentially deadly infection of your teeth and gums. Home remedies for relieving pain likely won’t help, and can sometimes be damaging to your tooth and gums.

Removing Food Stuck in Teeth

man picking at this teeth to remove foodGetting food stuck in your teeth can be embarrassing if people spot it. But it can also be annoying or even painful if it’s irritating your gums or putting pressure on your teeth. You want to get it gone, and this might tempt you to do something potentially damaging to your teeth and gums. Picking at your teeth with the wrong tool can even expose you to a life-threatening infection.

Instead, attempt a few simple techniques to get food out of your teeth. Try a toothbrush, toothpick, or dental floss, as these are designed to work around your teeth. If that doesn’t work, make yourself leave it alone for a few hours (up to overnight). It might work itself out, but if not, give it another try using tools designed to work on your teeth.

If you can’t get it out, it’s time to contact a dentist. They might be able to give advice on how to proceed or schedule an appointment if you need to come in.

Gluing a Crown Back in

If a dental crown falls out, you might think it’s reasonable to just glue it back in place. After all, they sell dental cement for that purpose, so it seems like it might be sensible.

It is reasonable to use an approved temporary dental cement for the short-term repair of a lost dental crown. Only use approved dental cement for this purpose, and contact your dentist right away about getting the crown put back in.

While the crown might look fine, it might actually be broken in ways you don’t notice, leaving part of your tooth exposed.

The problem might also lie in the tooth under the crown, which might have ongoing decay that loosened the crown, causing it to come off.

DIY Dentistry Is Bad for You

We understand that sometimes it seems better to take a chance on doing dentistry yourself rather than waiting for an appointment. However, the consequences of DIY dentistry can be as bad as or worse than the problem you’re trying to fix.

Don’t try to fix problems at home–contact us instead and we can either walk you through the right solution or make an appointment for emergency dental care. Please call (408) 354-5600 today for an appointment with dentist Dr. Nancy Nehawandian at Top Down Dental, serving the San Jose area from our office in Los Gatos.