With the high cost of dental care and hassle of booking an appointment, DIY dentistry is no surprise. After all, why go through the frustration for dental work that doesn’t serve you in the long term? With DIY dentistry, you have the luxury of getting your teeth done in the comfort of your home and all for a fraction of the price of most dental practices. But while it might be tempting to rely on these at-home remedies, there’s no replacing a visit to a licensed dentist. And for a good reason, too.
From teeth whitening to teeth straightening, DIY dentistry services look to eliminate the middleman and provide dental care straight to you. It’s especially helpful for busy people who can’t squeeze in a visit to the dental office. But licensed dentists and other dental professionals are alarmed—and rightfully so—about this growing trend.
At a glance, at-home dental care has two aims:
- To bring the treatment straight to the patient;
- To cut down costs related to typical dental work.
Usually, companies who peddle DIY dentistry options have a remote team of dental professionals who create the implements and guide customers through their treatment of choice.
This approach can hit a few snags along the way. Ask any dentist about why they entered the dental industry, and they’ll probably tell you about the hands-on nature of the field. What happens when you take away this hands-on aspect? A lot of problems, as it turns out.
But how did DIY dentistry come to be? And what are its disadvantages? Let’s find out.
DIY dentistry: A product of dental innovation
In the past, we talked about how dental innovations helped move dental care—and general dentistry—to the caliber it is now. Some innovations can be systematic in approach, such as the rise of patient-based care. Others refine existing dental implements, like water picks and metal-free dental implants.
You can say that DIY dentistry is also a product of dental innovation. Whitening strips, for instance, are a commercialized version of professional whitening treatment. Albeit with a smaller dose—the peroxide gels used in your in-office whitening treatments typically use lower doses to prevent potential injuries. Carbamide peroxide is also mostly used in these teeth whitening products because they whiten stably and is less corrosive than hydrogen peroxide.
Even orthodontics is having its DIY moment. More and more companies are offering remote orthodontic solutions. You can pin this trend on the rise of Invisalign aligners. You just need an impression of your teeth to send to the company. Then, you’re given a box of aligners to use for the next few months.
Despite how straightforward it all seems, some problems come with this approach.
Unable to monitor dental work
We mentioned earlier how dentistry is a hands-on discipline. It centers on the interaction between the dentist and the patient. When taken out of the picture, what usually happens?
As you might have guessed, not a lot of good stuff. Particularly in the long term. In terms of DIY dentistry services, the effects of at-home whitening are pretty tame as compared to other options, with most of its problems centering around unequal whitening and ineffectiveness. In services like at-home orthodontics, however, it’s a whole different story. Without a dentist close-by to monitor the effects of the aligners, these services are at a massive risk of worsening the misalignment. And at worst, it can even create problems that weren’t there before.
So before you delve into DIY dentistry, you might want to consult a dental professional. After all, the cheapest options shouldn’t mean the cheapest quality.