A new TikTok trend has sprouted where users film themselves shaving down their teeth with nail files in an attempt to save money on dental work. Dentists, and this editor, are extremely displeased.
On average, Americans pay anywhere from $15 to $50 per month for dental insurance. Unlike medical insurance, dental insurance cuts off coverage after you reach a certain annual limit. Dental work can be extremely expensive — a typical cleaning, which dentists recommend getting twice a year, can cost up to $288 per visit (which includes the costs of x-rays, exams and general cleaning).
That $288 is for what is deemed a “preemptive visit,” meaning dentist visits for more serious problems — such as needing Invisalign or fixing your bite or smile — can wrack up a lot more costs.
Hence, why this TikTok trend — while certainly painful to watch — sadly makes sense for people who are unhappy with their teeth but can’t afford to visit a dentist, particularly during a time when unemployment rates are double what they were in 2019.
Dr. Benjamin Winters, who goes by The Bentist on social media, posted a response to the trend on his Instagram.
“I felt it in my teeth as it was happening,” Winters says in his video reacting to the trend. “You need to know specifics before you do stuff like this!”
In the TikTok Winters watches in his clip, a girl uses a nail file to shave her teeth.
“The problem with that is that everybody has a set amount of enamel, OK, and that set amount of enamel, once you go through it, you hit your nerve and blood and pain and nastiness, it’s just terrible,” Winter explains.
Not only is it physically painful, but it permanently alters the shape of your tooth. One mistake can ruin everything and then you’ll really need to see a professional.
Quick fixes, especially for teeth, are not worth it.