4 TikTok Dental Hacks You Should NOT Try at Home
Have you been thinking about the state of your teeth more lately? Perhaps it’s because you’ve been spending more time than you might like looking at yourself on a webcam?
The rise of videoconferencing has led to increased interest in cosmetic dentistry. Many practices have been receiving higher than expected enquiries, as people desire to make their smiles more “Zoom friendly”.
But it’s not just facing up to our imperfections on camera that’s driving demand for cosmetic dentistry. We’re also more influenced than ever by social media. Research shows that the use of social media soared during the pandemic, and this has fuelled demand for “celebrity smiles”. Among the most popular are Cristiano Ronaldo (the most followed person on Instagram, with 238m followers), Ariana Grande and Kylie Jenner.
Unfortunately, the desire for a superstar smile has led some people to try at-home fixes. During the last few months, TikTok has become a place for people to share their DIY dentistry tips, which have ranged from using a nail file to reshape teeth, to whitening teeth with hair bleach.
It’s a worrying trend… and could lead to long-term damage for your teeth. So, we wanted to let you know what you should and shouldn’t be doing in your quest for the perfect smile.
Don’t: use a nail file on your teeth
It might seem harmless using a nail file to smooth a chipped tooth but, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s very easy to make a mistake. If you remove too much enamel (that’s the hard, white protective layer), you’ll expose the yellow dentin within the teeth.
Not only will this cause your tooth to look discoloured and make it more vulnerable to staining, but it could also result in chronic sensitivity. What’s more, you might inadvertently cause changes to your bite that could cause a whole host of other problems.
Do: have professional dental contouring
Leave tooth contouring to the professionals. Your dentist will use specialist diamond filing tools to expertly smooth rough edges and reshape your teeth to bring them into alignment. They will be sure that any changes do not negatively impact the function of your teeth.
Don’t: use raw bleach for whitening
Although there are plenty of home teeth-whitening products available, the latest social media hack sees people using raw hydrogen peroxide. This is often many times stronger than the amount allowed in regulated teeth-whitening products.
Hydrogen peroxide is carcinogenic and should be handled with extreme care. It’s not something you want to self-administer in your mouth because of the risk of ingestion. What’s more, it can also cause damage to soft tissue and can result in severe gum recession.
Do: have an in-clinic whitening treatment
A reputable dentist will be able to offer an effective but gentle teeth whitening solution that will take care of your teeth. The treatment that we offer at Ocean Dental Marbella can lighten your teeth by a few shades without added heat or light, which can be drying and cause sensitivity. You can enhance results with a take-home tray that is used for the next 3 days following the in-clinic session.
Don’t: remove plaque at home
At-home plaque scrapers might seem like a good idea for keeping your teeth in good health but these tools can easily do more harm than good. Dentists go through years of training to learn how to safely scrape off plaque and tartar from your teeth.
If used improperly, dental tools can cause gum damage and recession. Tartar can also accidentally be shoved under the gumline, causing oral health problems.
Do: book a professional clean
Book in for a professional clean and your teeth will be cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler. This gently blasts away plaque and tartar using high vibrational energy, without causing any damage to your teeth or gums. Your teeth will also be polished using ‘Airflow’, a powerful combination of water, air and bicarbonate powder, that will help to remove any surface staining.
Don’t: make your own braces
It’s hard to believe, but some people have gone as far as trying to make their own braces. In an effort to close gaps in their smiles they’re using rubber bands to pull teeth closer together. It might save money but it’s a very dangerous gamble to take.
Orthodontics is a highly skilled field of dentistry, which requires 10+ years of training. It’s not just about producing the desired aesthetic result, it’s also about understanding the knock-on effect that shifting teeth will have. The condition of your gum, jaw bone, and teeth must all be considered. Moving teeth without doing this could cause disharmony in the eating system leading to painful TMJ disorders.
Do: consider invisible braces
If you need to move your teeth to fix your smile, “invisible braces” are a far better solution than rubber bands! Clear retainers like Invisalign or the Incognito system (which goes behind the teeth) are designed for maximum comfort and convenience. And for even better results, braces can be combined with veneers. At Ocean Dental Marbella, we make a comprehensive plan for your teeth using digital smile design techniques. This lets us simulate the movement of the teeth, design the correct retainers and make sure the end result both looks and functions beautifully.
Want more confidence in your smile? Don’t resort to DIY dentistry! Book an online or in-clinic consultation with Ocean Dental Marbella.