DIY dentistry warning: Dentists warn of online aligners and TikTok trends

Dentists have warned people against ordering retainers online (Diana Polekhina/Unsplash)
Dentists have warned people against ordering retainers online (Diana Polekhina/Unsplash)

Dentists have warned against ordering braces online after people’s teeth have been damaged by so-called DIY dentistry.

The BBC reported that dentists have treated people with teeth damaged from wearing clear braces or aligners purchased from companies online.

Traditionally, dentists will fit braces and aligners themselves after examining the patient’s mouth, teeth and gums. They consider a number of factors before fitting braces and use X-rays during the consultation.

Patients will also regularly check in with dentists while they have their braces fitted: the NHS says that patients should visit the orthodontist every four to 10 weeks.

But patients of online dentistry companies have reported a lack of examinations and contact with dentists, according to the BBC.

People looking to save money on dentistry are resorting to online dental care, while others are attempting to treat themselves at home.

In September, it was reported that Londoners and people living in the commuter belt were the least likely to have seen a dentist in the past two years.

Polling conducted for the Lib Dems in 2021 found that one in five (21 per cent) of Britons had turned to “DIY dentistry” in the past year after failing to secure an NHS appointment.

Private dental care is not an option for many as, according to the NHS, fees for private orthodontic treatment are “usually around £2,500, but can be much higher”.

TikTok users have been sharing hacks for treating their own teeth at home – including removing their braces using a spoon.

The Braces Guy, an orthodontist on TikTok with nearly five million followers, responded to a video of a woman removing her braces with a spoon and warned that her teeth may shift if she doesn’t use a retainer.

He also said that she will still have glue on her teeth that can only be removed with a dental drill.

Another TikTok video shows a woman removing her braces with “orthodontic pliers” that she bought on Amazon.

But it is not just braces that are getting the DIY treatment on TikTok.

One TikTok user posted a video of her filling in the gaps between her teeth using a “dental filling kit” and the back of earring. A dental kit to fill in teeth can be bought on Amazon for less than £20.

The risks of DIY dentistry including damage to teeth and gums, and harming overall oral health.