FYI

Dentist blog from Delta Dental

Tag: social media

Halloween photos from Delta Dental dental offices

Delta Dental recently sent out the call for dentists’ offices to share their Halloween office decorations and costumes with us on social media. 

The results are in: You’re the best, and you love the holiday every bit as much as we do!

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Speaking of elaborate, high-stakes competitions, it’s hard not to love the way the staff at Columbia Pediatric Dentistry in Columbia, MD, went all-out with their pumpkin carving and wonderful Alice in Wonderland-themed costumes. Adorable!

And keeping with the great jack-o’-lantern theme, Twin Tiers Dental of Elmira, NY, shared these images; one with a menacing reminder to floss and another with — what else — a terrifying dentist holding an extracted tooth. Love it!

If your office is decorating or dressing up this Halloween, don’t forget to tag Delta Dental Ins on social media when you share your photos. If you tag us by the end of the day, Friday, October 29, we’ll send you a sweet surprise! 

To see more great Halloween photos from Delta Dental dentists, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn at Delta Dental Ins. 

And from everyone at Delta Dental, have a safe and happy Halloween!

Share your Halloween photos with Delta Dental for a sweet surprise

Delta Dental knows how hard you strive to be the best at what you do, and Halloween isn’t any different. Dental offices love to rock the spookiest Halloween decorations and greatest costumes!

If you’re decorating the office or dressing up for Halloween, don’t keep it under wraps this year.

Post photos of your decorations and costumes to social media and tag Delta Dental Ins. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can also directly send us your photos to smedia@delta.org.

No trick: We’ll send our favorite Halloween looks a sweet treat!

We can’t wait to see who comes up with the spookiest looks of all. Have a safe, happy and very haunted Halloween!

7 dangerous dental trends from TikTok

When it comes to bad dental advice on TikTok, the hits just keep on coming. After a much-publicized series of viral videos about do-it-yourself teeth filing, several new and equally horrifying dental trends have emerged on the social media platform.

While you might have hoped TikTokers would have learned their lesson after the tooth-filing debacle, apparently that was just the warm-up. Here are some of the newest and most widely viewed harmful dental trends on the social media platform right now.

Using household cleaning products to whiten teeth

Scrubbing teeth with an abrasive pad that contains sulfurous acid and formaldehyde might seem like an obviously bad idea, but at least one TikTok user disagrees.

In a (since deleted) video viewed more than 2.5 million times, TikTok user @theheatherdunn revealed that for the past two years, she’s used pieces of a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which the manufacturer advertises as having the “muscle to take on tough messes all around the house,” to whiten her teeth.

In the video, in which she also advised against using fluoride on teeth, Dunn said, “Yes, I am prepared for all the dentists that are going to come on here and be like, ‘Don’t do it — she’s crazy!’ I don’t care.”

Maybe you should, Heather?

Do-it-yourself orthodontics

In a video viewed 9.5 million times, a young woman wrapped her front teeth with several elastic hair ties, claiming she was going to close a gap between her front teeth in three days. She also posted a follow-up video showing off her alleged results. And just to drive the point home, she created a video mocking dentists who responded to her DIY braces videos in horror.

The dentists’ reaction was warranted. The practice shown in the video can restrict blood flow to teeth, potentially changing their color or even leading to tooth loss. The elastic bands can also lead to gum inflammation or infection.

While the TikTok videos are new, this trend has been around for quite a while, as DIY braces also became a viral phenomenon on YouTube in 2015.

Making prosthetic teeth and partial dentures with art supplies

Another cringeworthy trend involves using InstaMorph beads, made from a polyester thermoplastic that can be heated and molded into various shapes, to repair or replace teeth.

TikTok user love86emily posted a video, which has almost 47,000 likes, showing how to mold a handful of the tiny choking hazards into a “tooth.” Another user’s video showing how to repair a chipped tooth with the beads, which aren’t certified food-safe by the FDA, has received 1.7 million views.

Creating “shark teeth” for crowns

One of the most destructive TikTok trends involves people filing their teeth into narrow pegs so that they can be fitted with crowns, or in some cases, what the subjects mistakenly believe are veneers. While dentists have pointed out in replies that veneers often require little or no prep, let alone grinding your teeth into nubs, these videos continue to appear frequently on the platform.

Gluing vampire fangs to teeth

For some, Halloween means going trick or treating, dressing up in costumes, and gluing fangs to their teeth with a cyanoacrylate adhesive, otherwise known as super glue or nail adhesive. Although it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a toxic permanent adhesive is both toxic and permanent, that hasn’t deterred the many TikTok users who have used the glue to get the perfect vampire grin.

But wait, there’s more!

Users have also recently posted videos in which they apply 3% hydrogen peroxide solution directly to their teeth to whiten them. Others have promoted flossing with human hair.

The general mindset of these DIY dental fans seems to be best summed up by user claudes244: “If you’re a dentist, don’t tell me this is wrong — spare me the grief. The damage has already been done.”

How can I protect my patients?

While TikTok may be full of terrible dental tips, it’s also a platform you can use to educate and reach new patients. Many dentists and dental professionals have posted TikTok videos of their own warning against dangerous dental practices and promoting safer alternatives.

Other ideas to consider:

  • Email or text your patients, particularly the parents of teens, to alert them to these trends and warn them of the dangers.
  • Post information on your practice’s social media about the danger of these fads and alternatives.
  • Talk to your teen patients about safe ways to fix imperfect smiles, such as cleanings, orthodontics, cosmetic procedures and professional teeth whitening.
  • At the same time, be cautious about increasing awareness of these trends and consider with whom you share this information.

And finally, while some of your patients might think these DIY trends seem like a good way to save money in the short term, remind them that long-term, potentially irreparable damage to their teeth is never worth it.

Teeth filing a dangerous trend for teens

A troubling trend has emerged on social media during the coronavirus outbreak: DIY teeth filing with household items such as nail files.

In June 2020, a 19-year-old TikTok user named Mia Dio posted a video of herself filing her teeth with a nail file. The video went viral. After being watched nearly a half million times, numerous TikTok videos have been posted showing young people filing their teeth.

Wait, what? Why would anyone do this?

In the video, Dio explains that she wants to remove imperfections in her teeth, but doesn’t want to spend the money for a professional procedure, such as an enameloplasty.

“We’re ballin’ on a budget!” she said.

Later in a Washington Post interview, Dio also said that she was reluctant to visit a dental during the current coronavirus pandemic. The TikTok videos also imply some confusion about the nature of tooth enamel which, unlike nails and hair, doesn’t regenerate.

Yikes! So what can I do about this?

Many dental professionals have taken proactive steps to ensure their patients and their families don’t try this. Some have decided to fight fire with fire by posting their own TikTok videos warning people about the danger of the practice. Other steps to consider include the following:

  • Send an email to your patients that explains this trend and warns them about the dangers. This may be especially effective for the parents of teens, who may not be aware of what their children watch on social media.
  • Post information on your practice’s website, Facebook page or social media feed about the danger of this fad and safe alternatives.
  • Ask patients who visit whether they’re aware of this practice, then explain the dangers and suggest safe alternatives for imperfect smiles, such as cleanings, orthodontics, cosmetic procedures and professional teeth whitening.
  • Make it a point to talk to any teen patients about the serious risks associated with this practice. Point out low-cost options such as cleanings that might be particularly attractive to teens.
  • Explain to patients that they can safely visit the dentist during the pandemic for any procedure they might need.

However you choose to spread the word, ensure that your patients understand that filing their own teeth is a terrible idea. And that the resulting damage can take a real bite out of their wallet.

As Dio said later in the Post interview, after she saw warning videos posted by dental professionals and understood the risks, “I probably would have thought twice about it.”

Friendly reminder: Don’t forget to update your directory listing

With open enrollment just around the corner, you may see a wave of new patients, especially if you’ve joined a new dental network. But potential patients can’t come to your office for care if they don’t know that you exist. That’s where the Find a Dentist search tool comes in!

Making sure your information is up to date is easy. If you find any incorrect details you can update them in Provider Tools. Updating your listing is also simple: just fill out this form and return it to us by email or by fax.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Even if your office location hasn’t changed, you may want to update details such as hours, languages spoken by the staff and more. Make sure your information is accurate and updated so patients have an easy time finding you and choosing you for their oral care.

P.S. Don’t forget to keep your practice’s information up to date on other websites, too. Here are some links to instructions on how to do just that on some of the most popular services patients might use to find you.

Yelp

Facebook

Google

Apple

Engage your patients with Twitter

At Delta Dental, we use Twitter to raise oral health awareness in fun and entertaining ways — and you can, too! Check us out on Twitter at deltadentalins. While you’re visiting, you can sign up by clicking the link in the right-side column.

Reasons to join:

  • Tweets are good marketing tools. You want your practice stand out as modern and caring. Keep your patients engaged with educational and amusing tweets.
  • Tweets help you stay informed, too. Choose to follow accounts that interest you.

After you join:

  • Let patients know you’re on Twitter and ask them to follow you.
  • Add your Twitter account name to your appointment and business cards.
  • Follow us for retweet-able dental health tips, fun facts, photos and more. To retweet, simply click the “Retweet” icon under the tweet you want your patients/followers to get.

Read Twitter’s how-to information and security and privacy questions.

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