Trends in the health and beauty industries come and go, and they are often made more popular through social media. While some of them are harmless, like dyeing your hair pink or making your own kombucha, others can be harmful. One of the latest trends to circulate is teeth filing. Sounds bad? That’s because it is.
What Is the Teeth Filing Trend?
This terrible trend started making the rounds on the social media platform, Tik Tok, and it’s just as bad as it sounds. Tik Tok users have been filming themselves using nail files to file down the little bumps and ridges on the bottom edges of their teeth. Other users are taking a nail file to their teeth in an attempt to level out uneven teeth.
Shuddering just thinking about sticking a nail file in your mouth? You’re not alone. Dentists and other oral health professionals have been horrified by the appearance of this risky trend. Not only is filing your own teeth just plain bad for oral hygiene, but you could also cause significant and permanent damage to your teeth.
Why Is Teeth Filing a Bad Idea?
There are a variety of problems that can come with filing your own teeth. The first thing to remember is that your permanent teeth are meant to last you a lifetime. Taking chances with your teeth is very different from taking chances with your hair or your nails. A bad haircut is no big deal. Your hair will grow out and the problem is solved. If you damage your teeth, that damage is permanent. You’ll have to see your dentist to have it repaired, and a repair is never quite as good as the original healthy tooth.
So what kind of damage could tooth filing cause? Quite a bit, it turns out. While DIY tooth filing could eliminate some bumps, those bumps are your tooth’s enamel. The enamel on your teeth is what makes them look white and lustrous, but more importantly, it protects the inner layers of your teeth. The thin top layer of enamel helps enclose your teeth’s dentin, which is responsible for communicating sensation, and the pulp, which is the living tissue that holds the tooth’s nerves. If you damage that essential protective layer of enamel, there are a variety of consequences.
What Are the Consequences of DIY Tooth Filing?
Once your enamel is gone, it’s gone forever. That means that your teeth could not only look yellower and less shiny as your dentin is revealed, but they’ll be much more vulnerable, too. When your enamel is damaged or filed off, that puts your teeth at greater risk for sensitivity, fractures, and cavities. Even thinning your enamel can cause sensitivity and make your teeth more prone to decay. However, filing your teeth with a nail file could go all the way through your enamel, revealing your dentin. When your dentin is exposed, it causes significant sensitivity, making consuming both hot and cold food and beverages downright painful. Filing deep enough could even cause nerve damage. In the end, you could end up needing fillings, crowns, veneers, and even root canals to repair the damage. Ouch.
In addition, once you’ve filled a tooth down, that tooth is now shorter than the others next to it. It might look even now, but if your teeth move around, as most teeth do over time, that tooth is permanently shorter. If you thought you were unhappy with the way your teeth looked before, having random short teeth is really going to make you unhappy. No matter what the reason for being tempted by tooth filing, the dangers just aren’t worth it. If you want help with the look of your teeth, you need a professional. The cost of a minor cosmetic fix is likely to be a lot less expensive than the cost of fixing the damage you could do with a nail file.
The Alternative to Filing Your Teeth
Some Tik Tok users who have participated in this trend now regret the decision to file their own teeth. They are reporting new problems as a result of the filing, including painful sensitivity. Over time, the problems will only get worse from there. So what’s the best way to address insecurities about uneven teeth or particularly bumpy edges?
If you are truly feeling self-conscious about uneven teeth, the bumps on the edges of your teeth, or chips in your teeth, see your dentist to talk about solutions. They can use their professional expertise to choose the best method for addressing your concerns. In some cases, your dentist can very carefully remove the smallest amounts of enamel in a procedure called enameloplasty. This can allow them to smooth unsightly bumps or shallow chips. When a dental professional performs enameloplasty with the proper dental tools, it’s a fast and safe procedure. Other problems, like deeper chips or uneven teeth, may need to be resolved with fillings or even veneers. The most important thing is that a dental professional can help you choose the right solution for your teeth and perform any dental work safely and correctly.
Teeth Filing: Don’t Do It!
Using a nail file for home tooth filing has the potential to cause a lot of damage to your teeth. In the end, getting that damage fixed is often time-consuming and expensive. Dental experts like Dr. Kami Hoss warn that participating in any kind of DIY dental work is risky at best and could be hazardous to your oral health, and even cause permanent damage.
When it comes to tooth filing, the visual improvements are minimal, while the risk of causing serious injury to your mouth is significant. It’s simply not worth the consequences. If you’re interested in cosmetic fixes for bumpy or uneven teeth, talk to your dentist about solutions. You get one set of teeth, and it’s crucial to treat them well so that they will last you your full lifetime.