DIY Dentistry – Don’t Try It At Home

November 13, 2018

DIY Dentistry – Don’t Try It At Home

There seems to be a trend of late of individuals increasingly taking control of their oral care. In some respects, this is wonderful for the profession, and for oral health more broadly. At long last, more folks are recognizing the importance of oral care for overall bodily health. One can only hope that, over time, this leads to greater emphasis on regularly seeing a dentist and better adhering to prophylactic treatments and methodologies, from fluoridating teeth to flossing to brushing.

This has led to the birth of a host of orthodontic companies that promise to help folks fix their smiles through regimented use of clear aligner trays. Some employ orthodontists to help ensure that their treatment plans are best for each patient; others don’t. Clear aligners are a big business now- after trailblazed by Align Technologies (of Invisalign fame), a nearly $20 billion company, Smile Direct Club, the direct-to-consumer brand promising a better smile, was just valued at $3.2 billion.

In the short term, this also seems to be causing an increase in do-it-yourself (DIY) dentistry. With an increasing socioeconomic divide in most western countries, more and more folks without convenient, affordable access to care are trying to take care of teeth-related issues themselves. Some patients have gone as far as performing their own tooth fillings to avoid paying dental bills. And with the proliferation of online sources for dental supplies, many customers are finding the products and tools needed to at least attempt to treat themselves. Increased availability of gray market products makes DIY dentistry easier, and less safe than ever before.

The American Dental Association has begun a public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of DIY dentistry. They went so far as to run a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal to promote their message. Blog posts about the dangers of DY dentistry abound as well. And for good reason- there are ample horror stories that should dissuade the more adventurous patients from performing elaborate procedures on themselves.

At Supply Clinic, we take pains to ensure that certain dental supplies and tools are only sold to licensed dental practitioners. For example, 3M ESPE’s RelyX permanent cements, Septodont’s Septocaine, and GC America’s Fuji IX glass ionomer can’t even be added to a cart until the customer inputs a license that’s then manually checked against a state database and verified. Certain products are meant (and legally required) to be used by a professional; we take that seriously. Because at the end of the day, our job is to make sure that dental professionals have the resources they need to help their patients achieve maximal outcomes.

We always recommend that patients consult a professional before engaging in any sort of administered dental care.

For what it’s worth, we also recommend flossing.

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