Growing up, I was taught: “Why have someone else do something for you, when you can do it yourself?” One day as I was browsing a favorite DIY site, it struck me to see if there was anything dentistry-related. I was curious, but I didn’t expect to find anything. I was quickly proven wrong when I found some instructions for – you guessed it – DIY dentistry. Some people never learned another valuable lesson: “Sometimes things are best left to the professionals.”
Some people would rather let their teeth fall out than dare to darken the doorstep of our offices, but I never suspected that people might attempt anything beyond a simple ballistic extraction. In the DIY dentistry tutorial, the author gets a lot of things right, but he gets others terribly, terribly wrong:
After reading the comments, in which a dentist gets lambasted for offering a few cautionary words, I wondered about the prevalence of DIY dentistry. Delving into the dark corners of the Internet to find an answer, I came back with a couple YouTube videos of “Bad Bob” doing an epoxy filling, a handful of forum posts, and no hard numbers on the prevalence of DIY dentistry in the United States.
However, I did find that the UK’s Which? magazine conducted an online poll in 2009 which found that 8% of the population had attempted dentistry at home.
It’s clear that we still have a long way to go in breaking down barriers to treatment and educating the public about the importance of proper oral hygiene. Though, in the meantime, it looks like a scientific study on the prevalence of DIY dentistry might get someone published in JADA!
Image credit: Omega 2, Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike (by-nc-sa) 2008
~Matt Graham, Alabama ’15