We asked ourselves, “What are the craziest things people will do to themselves to avoid seeing a dentist?”, and we came up with these 10 worst at-home dentistry mistakes. Please don’t try this at home — and see your dentist!


We always recommend seeing a professional for all your dentistry and health needs, but we’ve seen that some people take matters into their own hands…

Whether it’s to supposedly save time or money, at-home dentistry can be dangerous and cause more problems than solutions.

We wanted to find the worst at-home dentistry mistakes anyone’s ever seen. We found that many people have attempted to treat dental malaise with at-home remedies and SNL’s MacGruber style stunts ranging from pulling teeth with pliers to using rubber bands as braces. What is the worst example of at-home dentistry you have seen in your career? Here’s what we found:

#9 Hey! That’s for fingers not your teeth!

One respondent had met someone who had used fingernail polish to create a couple of her missing teeth. She had bonded the acrylic over the teeth, and had to do it over and over because it would come off pretty easily from chewing or grinding. When it came off, there were just these little nubs. She probably got poisoned over time too from the acrylic!

#8 I wouldn’t use those…


One doctor had a 30-something patient who’s gum receded about 6 mm on her lower anterior linguals. There was a slight vertical groove running from above the CEJ to a few millimeters below it. She admitted to using one side of a pair of tweezers to chip off the calculus from time to time.

He told her to quit it, and explained everything that could happen. Six months later, she was back, and the groove was much worse. He said he could just see the faint pink line of the nerve. “Stop doing that!” he told her again, and showed her the pink line. She must have been in a lot of pain! Keep this kind of thing up, and you could chip or fracture your teeth, expose nerves, or choke on the tweezers!

#7: Sticky situation

One of us heard of a patient who’s crown came loose one day. He decided he’d rather not have another dental visit and so he super-glued his crown back on. After a couple months, it wore down and broke off again, and then he had this awful tasting residue on his broken tooth, and his dentist had to file it down even more, and the tooth finally split under so much misabuse, and he had to get a root canal. Go figure.

#6: True Grit

One dentist recalled he had a patient in her late 30s come in on a Tuesday with severe pain. She and her mother (and evidently some help from a whiskey bottle) had removed tooth No. 14 over the weekend like what we call the “wet way” like back in the Wild West. They worked and worked and got the whole thing out, but after a couple days, she couldn’t stand the pain any longer, and had to come in to get patched up. She certainly ended up with a dry socket, though…

#5: Krazy concoction

One of our assistants remembered someone come in with polymer clay fake teeth that were Krazy Glued onto her teeth. She said she had been doing that for a couple years! When we finally got them out and cleaned up, we found that what was left was just rotted and black, so we had to totally take them out.

#4: All-natural remedy

A colleague had a patient who was taking herbal supplements to “cure” his periodontal disease that had created huge pockets around his teeth. Even if the herbs had helped holistically or psychosomatically, they wouldn’t have taken care of the huge gaps around his teeth and the cavernous spaces between his rotted teeth and crowns.

#3: The daily grind

Another colleague in Misouri had a farmer who got new dentures. He thought it was too thick in the flange area and tried to grind it down on the grinding wheel in his shop. Needless to say, he came in with a very rough denture that we needed to smooth and polish. Luckily, he didn’t shorten it too much or grind into any teeth. He promised never to do it again.

#2: Low-cost root canal

Once upon a time, there was a patient who once took it upon himself to fix his teeth. He had straightened out a paper clip, sterilized it under fire, dipped it in whiskey and stuck it in his fistula … not once, not twice but way too many times over a two-year period. Finally, he agreed to a root canal!

#1: Big Red

The worst thing I have seen is a patient who tried to super glue a tooth back in his head – the root and all! I’ve seen all kinds of denture-related home remedies. One man was wearing a denture with an obturator after he unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide by putting a pistol in his mouth. He injured himself in the palate and broke his dentures. The dentures came loose, and instead of going to see a dentist for a refit, he decided to stick several pieces of chewed-up Big Red chewing gum up in the open cavity to keep them in. And, yes, that same Big Red gum stayed in that denture for months until he came to see us!

Have you seen something even stranger, scarier or more outrageous? Let us know in the comments below!

And check these out too:

Trucker crashes while pulling tooth

Sharon Osborne has tooth mishap

— Dr. Harold Perlaza, Sherman Oaks Dentistry