Sir, I work at a maxillofacial department where I saw a 14-year-old female patient attend our department regarding a foreign body stuck in her mouth (Fig. 1). The patient was undergoing orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances and used a thermoplastic material by the name of 'Thermomorph' to construct her own whitening tray. The tray remained in situ despite being sectioned through the midline (Fig. 2) and unfortunately ended up being removed under a general anaesthetic.
This case highlights the importance of a psychosocial history for adolescent patients considering orthodontic treatment and the concerning trend of 'do it yourself dentistry'1 where patients may be using unlicensed products without professional supervision.2 Fortunately, in this case there was no significant damage to the underlying permanent dentition or soft tissues, but it is easy to see how there could have been serious consequences or complications. I think it is important that we as a profession raise awareness amongst ourselves and the public of the risks of DIY dentistry and the benefits of seeking professional advice from a registered dental professional.
Armstrong S, del Arbol M R . The rise of DIY dentistry: Britons doing their own fillings to avoid NHS Bill. The Guardian 3 April 2015. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/03/rise-of-diy-dentistry-britons-doing-own-fillings-to-avoid-nhs-bill (accessed 18 May 2017).
British Orthodontic Society. BOS Statement: Do it yourself braces. Available at: http://www.bos.org.uk/News-and-Events/BOS-Statement-Do-it-yourself-braces (accessed 18 May 2017).
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Dental Update (2018)