People are sharing the tips on social media, claiming they can save you money, but dentists say they could damage your teeth. Some videos show people filing their teeth, or even filling gaps between teeth with dental cement.
“I’m screaming, I’m screaming inside,” said Dr. Huzaifa Kapadia, a dentist with more than a million followers on TikTok. “If I’m in the office, I can’t yell because there are patients around, but I do yell inside. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe they’re doing this!'” This is madness ! “
Kapadia works in Michigan, but his videos react to dental problems and hacks, showing people how to properly care for their teeth.
A quick search of DIY dental hashtags on TikTok will find videos featuring everything from whitening tricks to ways to shave your teeth, put on your own dental veneers, and even use dental cement to fill in the gaps in your teeth. Of course, there are also people who have orthodontic tips at home. Kapadia says people don’t understand how sensitive their teeth are.
“If you move the tooth too quickly, that tooth inside can die,” said Kapadia.
And as for some whitening and preservation tricks that promise to give you the perfect smile, he says they may leave you needing expensive dental surgery.
“They remove a lot of enamel when they remove it,” Kapadia said. “This is irreversible because you cannot replant the enamel.”
With the cost of dental care, Kapadia says he understands why people want to try these hacks, but says destroying your teeth can cost you more in the long run.
“Some people say, ‘This dentist is upset that he’s going to take money out of his pocket,’” Kapadia said. “Believe it or not, it’s not a big deal for us. It will not make us poor. We’re just trying to educate people about the negative effects of do-it-yourself hacks.”
So how can you improve your smile on a budget?
If you’re looking to do it at home, stick to over-the-counter products, rather than DIY solutions. You should still check with your dentist first because some over-the-counter products can still be harsh on your teeth.
If you need other dental care, there are a few ways to try and save. Kapadia suggests contacting dental schools to see what kind of care and treatments they offer, or researching community clinics that offer dental care at a lower price.
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