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TikTok’s trend of DIY dentistry involves shaving teeth with a nail file

Hayley Simonson, Police Reporter

TikTok is known as a platform where people can share their DIY trends and hacks, and recently a controversial one resurfaced. Users have demonstrated achieving a “DIY smile” by shaving their uneven teeth down with nail files. 

Creators have claimed that this effective solution is a way to “Ball on a budget.” 

This trend has concerned dental experts, and TikTok has now put a warning on these related videos that gives notice of a “Potential Dangerous Action.” 

Username removed for privacy.

Charles A. Poblenz is a practicing doctor of medicine in dentistry in Jacksonville, FL. He explained that filing your teeth works the same as filing your nails, but your teeth will not grow back like your nails will. When someone grinds down their teeth with a nail file, they are removing the enamel from the tooth. Once enamel has been grinded away, it is gone forever.

“Don’t do it! DIY dentistry is not recommended. Leave it to a professional. If someone is doing this to save money, the damage they potentially cause could require a lot of dental treatment, and even more money, to fix,” Dr. Poblenz explained.

According to Dr. Poblenz, the effects of filing your own teeth are irreversible and potentially very detrimental to the health and longevity of the teeth. 

The enamel is there to protect the teeth. If the enamel is stripped away and the dentin, which is the inner layer of the tooth, is exposed, it can create a lot of problems. The teeth will be more likely to have pain, hypersensitivity and will be at an increased risk for decay. If someone grinds far enough, they risk exposing the nerve and blood vessels of the teeth — this would be extremely painful and would then require root canal therapy.

These DIY trends might encourage kids, who are unhappy with their teeth, to take matters into their own hands if professional procedures are already too expensive. 

Shaving down your own teeth can lead to a lot of dental treatment to fix the damage that was done. These treatments might include root canal therapy, fillings and bonding, or crowns and veneers.

“If you are worried or self-conscious about something regarding your teeth and smile, talk to your dentist and let them help you overcome those issues,” Dr. Poblenz said. “We are here to help.”


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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