Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Dental Hacks & the Problem with TikTok Dentistry


 What is that in the picture above?  That's right it's a fingernail file.  Now I'd like to emphasize the word FINGERNAIL in the name.  There is nothing mentioned about your mouth or teeth.

I bring this up because recently, we at Dental Products Report (DPR) ran a short online article about a dangerous trend that has shown up on TikTok recently.  It seems that some people are advocating removing tooth structure with a fingernail file to reshape their natural teeth.

This concept is just plain wrong for a whole lot of reasons.  Before I even get those reasons though, I'd like to emphasize why people in dentistry cringe when we see or hear about things like this.  It is NOT because someone has stumbled onto a way to do dentistry, cut dentists out of the picture, and saved themselves a ton of money.  People in the industry are simply looking out for the best interests of others.  If I convince someone in New Mexico not to perform self-mutilation , I will not generate a dime of revenue.  However, I may help someone from permanently ruining their teeth I may have just provided them an invaluable service that might very well allow them to keep their front teeth for a lifetime.

This is one of these that I have never understood.  Whenever I see or hear a story of someone doing something potentially damaging, life threatening, etc it is often set up with the concept of: Get "X" without being ripped off by high priced "insert professional".  It seems the idea put forward is that if someone has been well trained in how to do something, by default they will intentionally try to take advantage of those without that training.  However, most people that I know who are well trained feel an obligation to keep people from doing things the well trained person knows is dangerous or damaging.

As someone who has been smoothing teeth for well over 25 years, let me tell you, teeth are not all the same length.  If they are... there is either something wrong (excessive nighttime grinding, etc) or the individual with said teeth has some type of denture.  Teeth are not supposed to all be the same length, that is a common misconception, but it is true.  What the human eye picks out as a truly attractive smile (proven in studies) is teeth of the proper length and shape.  Heck, if you don't believe me, go to Google Images and type in 'perfect smile'.  Look at what comes up and pay close attention to the edges.  You'll notice that in all of those gorgeous smiles the edges are not even.

The lesson here?  If you take advice from TikTok, think twice about doing it and then think twice again.  Anyone can say anything they choose online... bu that doesn't make it right.  A couple of years ago the Kylie Jenner challenge was a viral video.  Yet, many of the girls who did it, ended up bruising their faces with giant 'hickey marks' all around their mouths.

If you are unhappy with the shape of your teeth, discuss it with your dentist there are lots of options for improving your smile.  However, damaging your teeth can result in pain and expense that can be around for the rest of your life.

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