Tiktok & Instagram users have a history of promoting ill-advised dental procedures, from DIY whitening to horror show veneers. And the latest social-media fad is replacing lost crowns/inlays or even fully making your own bridges and dentures at home from heat-sensitive plastics such as Instamorph beads.

Dental treatments are tough to book right now and even if you do get an appointment it could hit your wallet pretty hard so we understand the temptation to try a cheap alternative at home is strong. To help you make an informed decision, let us break down the potential risks for you before you try anything dangerous.

Cute alpaca with funny teeth and big hair

What are Instamorph beads?

Basically, Instamorph and similar products are sold as tiny plastic beads that melt together into a kind of goo when submerged in hot water. While it’s still warm, you can mould the melted plastic into shape and once it’s cooled completely it sets hard. The product is excellent for crafting decorations, mini-tools, etc… and a lot of cosplayers and costume designers use it for making temporary costume vampire teeth or other similar props.

Is the material itself safe to use?

The plastic is non-toxic when handled so even if ingested it probably won’t poison you. On the other hand, it isn’t certified as food-grade and hasn’t been tested for bodily use so we can’t be 100% sure about that! The manufacturer says it is not for in-body use and suggests you see a doctor if you swallow any and suffer side effects.

Toxicity aside, the plastic melts when it heats up so I’d be very scared of drinking hot coffee or tea while I had it in my mouth! Even if it doesn’t melt, it stains very easily so anything you eat or drink is likely to heavily discolour it.

Why are Instamorph dentures so dangerous?

Right off the bat, anything you stick in your mouth is a potential choking hazard. The professional technicians who manufacture real dentures, retainers, crowns, etc… undergo years of training to ensure everything they make fits snugly without the risk of coming loose. Even then, the prescribing dentist has to inspect everything they make.

If all that wasn’t enough, every dental professional involved has to take out insurance and undergo annual training just in case something goes wrong. It’s a tall order to match their level of skill working on yourself with a bit of plastic you melted at home.

Other risks of homemade dentures

If the choking risk is avoided, any DIY dentures or crowns could create “food traps”. These are exactly what they sound like, areas where food gets stuck between the plastic and the other teeth or gums, this can lead to decay, bad breath and tooth loss. Longer term you could even be looking at irreversible gum recession and loss of bone as the jaw shrinks away.

Unfortunately, the Influencers pushing these products are not medically educated in the subject, so they likely have no idea what they’re letting themselves in for.

What’s the alternative?

If you’ve had a crown come loose, don’t try to fashion a replacement. Instead use an over-the-counter dental cement like our Dr Denti Refit. Refit is registered with the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and used around the world as a medically safe home treatment for lost crowns.

For replacing lost teeth on the other hand, you really do need to see a professional. Whether you go to a Dentist or a Clinical Dental Technician (Denturist), it’s just not worth the risk to cobble together your own restorations at home. Look after yourself and steer clear of the cowboy medics on social media.