The Dangers of TikTok's Teeth-Filing Trend

It's been said that "a smile is the best accessory you can wear," so it's understandable if you want yours to look great. Teeth-whitening services, Invisalign, and other cosmetic procedures are all popular tools used to enhance a smile, but there's a new beauty trend making its way around TikTok that is more dangerous than it seems. People, particularly young women, are attempting teeth filing at home in an effort to get a smooth, even, movie-star-perfect smile.

In the videos on teeth shaving, a regular nail file is taken to the ends of the front teeth and used in a sawing, back-and-forth motion to remove ridges and uneven edges. The "hack" has been performed with a variety of file types, including metal and glass. "Some people may be unhappy with the shape of their teeth, and this is where teeth filing can be a reasonably priced fix," Victoria Veytsman, DDS, celebrity cosmetic dentist and owner of Cosmetic Dental Studios, tells POPSUGAR. "One tooth may be longer than another, your teeth may be aligned in a way that you dislike, or you may have a chipped tooth."

While it may be understandable why someone might be tempted to file their teeth, Dr. Veytsman is sharing why the viral beauty "hack" can actually cause long-term damage.

The Dangers of At-Home Teeth Filing

First, it's worth noting that filing your teeth isn't a new concept — it's actually offered at many dentist offices as a professional service. Also known as enameloplasty, it can reshape your teeth and transform your smile. But as with most dental-related treatments, this isn't a matter you should take into your own hands.

"One of the concerns with filing your teeth at home is the potential damage this could cause to your enamel," Dr. Veytsman says. "Unlike other procedures or appearance transformations, filing your teeth is irreversible, enamel damage included." Your enamel is the protective coating or layer on the outside of your tooth. It doesn't regenerate, so once it's gone, it's gone for good. The problem there: enamel protects the tooth from cavities, decay, stains, and even tooth sensitivity.

Because teeth filing is permanent, you also run the risk of altering your smile and being worse off than when you started. "If you file your teeth down and dislike the results, there is nothing that you can do naturally to reverse this," Dr. Veytsman says. You'd need to seek professional help by the way of various cosmetic dental procedures.

Getting Your Teeth Filed at the Dentist

So, what can you do instead? The answer is simple: visit your dentist. Though it requires an extra trip out of the house, it's well worth it to protect your teeth and ensure they stay healthy in the long run. "These professionals understand the structure of your teeth and will know whether teeth filing is the right move for you," Dr. Veytsman says.

Reshaping teeth with enameloplasty uses a gentle buffing tool and typically takes 30 minutes or less. The cost of the procedure varies, but it can range anywhere from $50 to $300 for minor reshaping of one tooth to up to $1,500 to do multiple teeth. It's not cheap, but it is forever and teeth filing is a delicate procedure, so don't try it at home.