DIY tooth pull gone wrong

image captured with TelScope Telehealth System


This 10-year-old girl presented to the dental office for a scheduled 6 month cleaning and check up.

During the exam, this large and painful ulcerated area was discovered, which was unknown to the mother at the time.



After questioning the child, it was learned that she attempted to apply a tooth gem to her right lateral incisor after seeing the procedure on TikTok. It is known as the TikTok DIY Tooth Gem. Tooth gems are not new. There is a resurgence in interest since they were last popular in the late 90s and early 2000s.

The ulcerated area is a very significant chemical burn from a brand of super glue, but similar damage can occur from glue used for nails. The circled area on the tooth shows enamel damage from the adhesive and removal of the tooth gem.

This image, captured using the TelScope Telehealth System by Holland Healthcare, clearly shows just a few of the many complications that can occur from DIY dentistry and trending hacks on social media, such as the DIY tooth gem:
  1. Any form of super glue or other similar bonding agents are toxic to humans, and can obviously cause direct damage to tissues
  2. Potential problems that are well documented include:
    1. Damage to enamel
    2. Tooth wear
    3. Tooth chipping, even when placed in a functional area
    4. Loss of tooth minerals with subsequent enamel discoloration
    5. Tooth decay


Parents should be aware of popular trends on social media that can be dangerous to their child’s health. Tooth gems and other attachable decorative displays such as grills (which can cause severe gum disease and bone loss) should be discouraged from the pediatric population.
Teenagers or adults who want to have tooth gems are strongly encouraged to follow informed consent of the potential complications. Then these should be applied by appropriately trained professionals utilizing materials and adhesives that are safe to the human body.
You can learn more about and find an authorized distributor for TelScope Telehealth System here.

About the Author: Dr. Richard Simpson, DMD

Dr. Richard is a board certified pediatric dentist in private practice.
His achievements include:
• Diplomate in the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
• Fellow in the American College of Dentists
• Fellow in the International College of Dentists
• Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
• Advisory Board Member of The TeleDentists
• Advisory Board Member of Holland Healthcare
Dr. Richard’s experience and active interests include telehealth, child advocacy, health disparities, policy, and advancing improved medical-dental access to care. Dr. Richard is also a veteran with 15 years of military service.

This content is for information only. This content is not for advice, diagnosis, or guarantee of outcome for patients. No patients should use the information, resources, or tools contained within to self-diagnose or self-treat any health-related conditions. 

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