DIY Dental Hacks: The Verdict
Losing a tooth can suddenly make your life more hectic. Not wanting to deal with the costs and difficulties of going to a dentist, you may wonder why you can’t fix it yourself.
At-home fixes have become popular content on the Internet. Dental procedures aren’t new to this trend either, as various teeth whitening hacks using household materials and methods of closing gaps using rubber bands have been circulating for a while.
Many of these life hacks are actually dangerous and cause more damage to your teeth than you already had. Gluing your teeth back in using superglue is among these hacks that could cause serious damage to your teeth and by extension, your bodily health.
Whether you lose your tooth from an accident, injury, or other reasons, dentists like Dr. Ted Herrmann recommend seeing a dentist so your tooth loss can be fixed properly. This can spare you from more invasive and expensive procedures to correct unnecessary damage.
What Can Happen to Your Smile
One British woman named Angie Barlow superglued her teeth back in for over a decade due to an immense fear of the dentist. She appeared in a BBC documentary, “The Truth About Your Teeth,” a series about strange dental cases and facts.
When Angie glued her teeth back in, she wasn’t able to place them properly and ended up with a smile she was ashamed of. She felt so bad about the way her teeth looked that she would hold a hand over her mouth when she talked and turned her head away during conversations.
Angie ended up having most of her teeth pulled out and replaced with 12 dental implants, which restored her confidence and ability to be outgoing. After having her teeth fixed by a dentist, Angie said, “I feel amazing and there’s no hands over my mouth or embarrassment.”
Health Risks of Superglue
Superglue bonds very quickly, meaning it’s easier for mistakes to be made. If you place the tooth wrong it’ll be stuck there and potentially cause pain and discomfort. You might also accidentally glue your tooth to your tongue, gums, or hands in the process.
In addition to ending up with a smile you dislike, superglue can be hazardous to your health. Superglue is generally toxic, releasing a small amount of fumes with each use. Normally this is not a huge problem, but putting the glue in your mouth is an entirely different issue.
In Angie’s case, the glue caused 90% of the bone in her upper jaw to be lost because of its toxic chemicals. This bone loss affects your other teeth and can cause them to fall out too. In addition, this can cause you to have a more difficult tooth replacement process.
If you receive implants like Angie did and have bone loss, you’ll have to undergo a supplementary procedure like bone grafting or a sinus lift. Implant dentists like Dr. Kevin Owoc use these procedures to restore bone mass to make your jaw strong enough for implants.
Other Adhesive Materials and Their Issues
There are some safer materials made for dental purposes that you can buy over the counter, but they aren’t made for permanent repairs. These materials aren’t made to keep a tooth in place, so they can’t serve as a replacement for dental work.
Denture adhesives and OTC dental cement can sometimes be purchased over-the-counter, but they’re not going to keep your tooth in place for very long. The best course of action when you lose a tooth is to contact your dentist immediately so they can instruct you.
What You Should Do After Losing a Tooth
If you lose an adult tooth, Dr. Karla Bloomquist recommends preserving the tooth and keeping it safe. It may be possible for a dentist to reinsert your natural tooth if you can make an emergency appointment.
Try to insert your knocked-out tooth back into the socket, without glue, the way it was before. Storing the tooth in its natural socket is the best place for it. You can bite down on gauze to keep the tooth in place as you make your way to the dentist.
If you’re unable to insert the tooth back in the socket due to pain or difficulty, you can store the tooth between your cheek and gums, or in a small cup of whole milk or saliva. Try not to touch the roots of the tooth, and handle it only by the crown.
If you can’t make an appointment in a short enough amount of time, hold on to the tooth regardless. It can help your dentist when making a replacement tooth, such as a dental implant.
Dr. Bloomquist can also create a customized sports mouthguard for you if high-impact activities that put you at risk of losing teeth are a part of your life.
How a Dentist Can Save Your Tooth
Within a certain amount of time, usually 30 minutes to one hour, your natural tooth can be inserted back into your mouth by a dentist.
If you put the tooth back in yourself, the dentist can check to see if you put in the correct position by looking at it and taking an X-ray. If it’s not in the right place, they’ll correct it.
In the case that you couldn’t put the tooth back in but preserved it, the dentist will numb the area and position the tooth in your mouth.
Once the tooth is back in your mouth, the dentist will splint the tooth to other teeth around it to hold it in position for two weeks.
If you don’t have the tooth or it can’t be reintegrated into your mouth, your dentist will talk to you about tooth replacement options such as an implant.