Recently the American Dental Association (ADA) ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal encouraging readers to avoid Do-it-Yourself (DIY) dentistry, and instead visit an ADA dentist.
Public health and safety are the number one concern.
You may have seen ads for do-it-yourself orthodontic treatment. You answer a few questions on-line, push the submit button and in a few moments, you learn if you are accepted. I personally applied and answered with as many “red flags” as the program would allow, and guess what----I was accepted!
I am a highly trained general dentist with significant orthodontic, TMJ, and occlusal training, and I would not have treated the patient I claimed to be! I would share the responsibility with a Board-Certified Orthodontist and possibly a Periodontist (gum specialist).
You see, moving teeth is much more than simply “relocating” teeth. If you move teeth in the presence of inflammation (gum disease), you will accelerate bone loss. More adults in the USA lose teeth from bone loss of gum disease than from cavities. Also, cavities, however small, should be treated before any tooth movement. What about the health of the jaw joint, TMJ? Correcting a bite with the jaw in its proper position is critical to stability, comfort and overall dental health.
In addition to orthodontics, DIY dentistry also includes veneers, bruxing and snoring devices, solutions typically executed under the care of a dentist. DIY kits often include dental impression materials and an instruction kit. I’d love to see the quality of these impressions! My highly trained, experienced dental assistants must show me all impressions for approval. Very often we must retake or refine an impression.
Some of the companies backing DIY dentistry do have the purchaser meet with a dentist once. This is no substitute for comprehensive dental care. The ADA believes that the ongoing supervision by a dentist is critical for any dental care you receive. Dental diagnosis and treatment are not DIY projects.
According to an ADA 2017 survey, 13% of member orthodontists have seen patients who tried DIY orthodontics and needed their intervention to correct problems. Some of the attempts at DIY dentistry caused irreversible damage.
“Despite the apparent cost savings advertised by these DIY products they often cost more in the long run to correct.” ADA president Joseph P Crawley