Do-It-Yourself Dentistry: Never a Good Idea

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Last month, more than 30,000 dentists, hygienists, and other dental professionals descended upon Chicago for the Chicago Dental Society’s 146th annual Midwinter Meeting. You might not think anything amusing or even helpful would emerge from such a gathering. But as we reported last week in 10 Ridiculous Dentist Requests, there’s a lot we can learn from the folks who poke around in our mouths.

Another interesting headline from the conference was this winner: “Surprising Number of Patients Try Super Glue Before Visiting Dentist.”

Yes, sometimes we try to save money and only end up costing ourselves more. Continues the Chicago Dental Society in a funny-as-heck press release

“Nearly 70 percent of dentists have taken care of a patient who tried to treat their own dental problem before visiting the dentist. The most common home treatment among patients, dentists said, is Super Glue for broken dental work, like crowns and dentures. Using an emery board to file chipped teeth or overusing topical painkillers, like teething gels, to deaden pain were also common. Remarkably, several dentists had treated patients who attempted to give themselves a root canal using power tools.”

If you want to save money at the dentist, here’s some good advice from the society

  1. Play hockey, it’s safer than basketball: “More than 30 percent of dentists report that basketball was the sport that resulted in the most dental injuries for their patients. Hockey came in second, with nearly 20 percent. And more than 15 percent of dentists treat dental injuries related to baseball or softball.”
  2. Pay me now or pay me later: “Nearly 70 percent of dentists say their patients are delaying needed dental treatment – a figure that remains relatively close to last year’s 75 percent. More than 50 percent of dentists say their patients are delaying cosmetic treatments; and more than 40 percent say their patients are delaying preventative care.”
  3. Go online: “Yelp and Angie’s List report dentistry as their most searched health category… Nearly 40 percent of dentists say their practices have been reviewed online.”

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  • Anonymous

    The quote regarding basketball and hockey is complete statistical BS and merely proves the old adage about “lies, damn lies, and statistics”.

    I’m sure the absolute number of participants in basketball is much greater than it is for hockey. Plus, hockey players have face protection, basketball players do not. I’ve gotten a few elbows and balls in my face playing basketball.

    And reporting the number of dentists treating injuries, rather than the percentage of cases seen is completely useless, especially given that certain areas are sure to concentrate on specific sports, hence skewing the numbers.

  • Anonymous

    When I was traveling on my job I often used super glue to cement my dental crowns. It would usually hold for about 6 months. After the first usage, when I glued my finger to the tooth inside my mouth, I had no problems. I carried a fresh tube of super glue with me for ten years!

  • Anonymous

    While traveling on my job, I used super glue to re-cement my crowns for years without any problems other than cementing my finger to my tooth inside my mouth the first time I tried it. I carried a fresh supply of super glue for ten yeaars for this purpose.

  • Wilton Winrow

    A lot of people really end up
    paying more when they think they are saving more from the dentist. ‘Coz they
    become their own dentists and their teeth tend to be weaker and cavities get
    high risks. The latter part makes everything worse, that they end up paying
    more on serious dental procedures, than what could have been just minor, if
    brought to the dentist earlier.