- TikTok users are filing their uneven teeth down with nail files as part of a new trend on the app.
- Dentists are concerned people could permanently damage their teeth by filing down their enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and even tooth death.
- "It's not the same as filing your fingernails. If you file your fingernails today, they'll grow back tomorrow," Dr. Chad Evans, a dentist, said. "Our teeth are permanent."
- Dentists with large followings on TikTok are reacting to the videos and debunking the misconception.
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DIY beauty hacks like hair dyeing, nail art, and even homemade bathroom products aren't uncommon on TikTok, but a new and disturbing body modification trend has dentists flustered.
People are grinding their uneven teeth down with nail files and uploading the videos to the app.
Dr. Chad Evans, co-founder of Texas-based Smile Magic Pediatric Dentists, told Insider he became aware of the trend after colleagues showed him the videos on TikTok. As the father to two tween girls, Evans said he's concerned.
"It's not the same as filing your fingernails. If you file your fingernails today, they'll grow back tomorrow," Evans said. "Our teeth are permanent."
If you file down the enamel in your teeth, it will never grow back, you risk tooth sensitivity, and losing your tooth
Teeth are made up of layers. The outer layer, or enamel, is the strongest and most important layer according to Evans as it protects our teeth from decay.
"The moment that you remove tooth structure, if you don't know what you're doing, you're doing irreparable damage and destruction to your teeth," Evans told Insider.
Dentists and other professionals who understand the structure and anatomy of teeth can safely file down your teeth. In some cases, professionals might even decide adding structure to your teeth with a crown or veneer might be better than grinding down the enamel in order to even them out.
But untrained eyes can grind through vital layers, causing painful tooth sensitivity and even kill the tooth.
"There was one in particular where a gal had a chipped tooth, so she filed down the front two teeth to match the length of the chip," Evans said. "Essentially, what she's doing is she's shortening the lifespan of her teeth. They are now compromised and it's just a matter of time before she starts developing serious issues."
Dentists are reacting to the videos on TikTok and firing back
As the trend picked up speed on TikTok, dental hygiene professionals with large followings on the app tried to control the damage by reacting to the videos and debunking them.
Dr. Suhail Mohiuddin, known as @dr.m_, reacted to a video of a person grinding down their teeth with a nail file and urged his viewers to ask why their teeth are uneven in the first place. Filing, even done professionally, does nothing if the original problem is not fixed.
"Ok, you file them, and they look pretty but you didn't solve the original problem, so what are you going to do in a few years when they're uneven again and your teeth are shorter?" Mohiuddin said.
"A dead tooth means extensive and expensive treatment if you want to keep it," dental hygienist Iman Zayed said in the video. "Don't consider doing this, seriously."
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