Peg Teeth: Something To Be Hung Up About?
Peg Teeth: Something To Be Hung Up About?
Baby boomers and most Gen-Xers grew up in an era where the fastest long-distance or international communication was an expensive phone call, telegram or telex. If you wanted to espouse your ideas to a group of people you didn’t know, aside from an ad in the Classifieds, it involved taking a fruit box or a milk crate to Sydney’s Domain. Bottled water was the stupidest thing they’d ever heard of.
Once upon a time if you read it in the paper it must be true. Google certainly changed that – and social media platforms even more-so.
Of course, there have been massive changes in communication since that time – obviously I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing right now without it. So yeah; like a trebuchet of 130kgs of live rabbits into a concentric castle, technology landed and took over.
That the world is full of idiots is far from a contemporary revelation. The difference now, it seems, is that Hanlon’s razor is regularly shaving the Peter Principle at the Dunning-Kruger club.
Idiots with influence used to predominately refer to those with political or corporate power – doing, or saying unintelligent things is no barrier to success. For more than a decade, it has extended to various participants of social media – platforms that make the entire world your stage. Aside from the mere players, there are those on the sideline hoping it’s just something they’re going through.
It’s a chicken-and-egg thing with ‘influencers’ really; all good when it’s good, but the truth is, idiocy begets idiocy. The 2020 TikTok trend of DIY teeth shaving absolutely takes the cake, and the dental damage done leaves most of it largely uneaten.
COVID-19 lockdowns were partly blamed for the bright idea of this style of home dentistry. Cheap cosmetic dentistry in countries like Thailand, Turkey and the Philippines was also a scapegoat (by the goats bleating its brilliance). With much too much time on their hands, and a whole lot of self-reflection involving only a mirror, worldwide, people were whittling their own teeth into ‘shark teeth’ or pegs, using an emery board or a metal nail file.
The idea was to ‘save some money’ before being fitted with ‘dental veneers’ from one of the cheap dentistry destinations, and it did the rounds like a two-fingered busker and a crowd of cashed-up drunks.
It followed several viral teeth whitening hacks including a homemade remedy of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and horrified dentists took to TikTok to warn against it. Aside from the utter lunacy, it’s not a necessary procedure for veneers, but rather crowns; those who did it to save some money can put it towards the dentures they’ll need in about a decade.
Unsurprisingly, incredible tooth sensitivity that hadn’t been there before was reported by many – and they’re just the ones brave enough to admit their monumentally mental dental mistake. Among the failed realisation for those who filed down any uneven tooth length, is that the original problem wasn’t solved. In a few years when they’re again uneven, their teeth are already shorter – what then?
Our qualified Melton dentists will shave the front of a tooth down by a maximum of half a millimetre, or not at all, before fitting a custom-made veneer. Crowns require around two millimetres of the tooth to be shaved, and the difference is that dentists in the UK, the US and Australia would never crown a healthy tooth – people who choose cheap international dentistry are having healthy teeth shaved to pegs for no reason at all, other than it makes the procedure require much less skill.
In fact, the process of shaving teeth down is actually a dangerous one, as it risks compromising the tooth’s nerve, which is ordinarily protected by the enamel.
How smart people do dumb things, and dumb people stick to form requires a short foray into psychology and simplifying the complex.
People are prone to numerous biases, be that subconscious or not. Everybody prefers their own tribe, their own group. There’s nothing particularly logical about that; and woven into all that is the keen awareness of social status that’s hardwired into humans. Invariably the whole thing’s quite convoluted and sometimes reality doesn’t even count. Education can help people get their facts straight, but it doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing – people to gravitate toward the information that reinforces their existing beliefs.
In fact the 2014 published study Who Knows Best? Education, Partisanship and Contested Facts evidences the reality that people don’t like to be told things they don’t want to hear. So someone intelligent, saying accurate, complicated things that contain uncomfortable facts basically appeals to no-one: bring in the dumb & dumber spouting simple things that support inherent prejudices while denying uncomfortable facts, and you’re on a winner.
Mix that with the celebrity smile culture and the obsession with form over function, beauty over brains, perfection over excellence, the mighty power of a saved dollar, and there’s the perfect storm with TikTok perfect timing.
So yes – you should be hung up on your peg teeth if you weren’t born with them.
Peg teeth, or microdontia is not a common dental condition. These cone-shaped teeth, pointy and smaller than the average is a dental anomaly of genetics. Typically it affects the maxillary lateral incisors of people with an underlying hereditary disorder, and to have a full set of peg teeth is rarer than the less than 1.9% of the global population that have it.
Certainly it can be remedied when the alteration in shape and size undermines a confident smile and the less-than-best life that can often accompany that.
Restoration will be either porcelain dental veneers or crowns, depending on your dentist’s advice. Neither involves any preparation to the natural tooth structure because no tooth material removal is required at all. The small size of peg teeth allows the missing tooth volume to be filled with no-prep porcelain restorations and no anaesthetic needed.
In the case of peg teeth as the result of inherited DNA rather than inherent DUM(b) there’s no need to be hung up. Talk with your dentist, find out your best option, and smile, smile smile. Unlike you, those TikTokkers have been pegged as out of sight and out of mind – theirs.
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