Filing teeth: the Tiktok trend explained

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Many dental professionals have reacted to the Tiktiok videos related to filing teeth or teeth shaving, but none of them had positive feedback on what they have witnessed.

The results was an eye-opener for social media platforms on what not to do for a cheaper price. Little did they know, it cost them their health and dragged them to expensive treatments because of tooth loss or severe damage.

Just because you can physically do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. A dental practice is a dentist’s job for a reason. Let us see how this wrong act led these teenagers to fall for long-term problems and what is the right way to achieve the smile you wish for.

What is the filing teeth trend?

During Covid quarantine, some creator on Tiktok showed a DIY tooth filing video, she used a metal nail file for frontal teeth shaving, including the canine teeth for a more vampire alike tooth shape. All this because she could not visit her dentist.

Unfortunately, that was a viral video that made people think she had a positive outcome because of the results she had. It influenced them to make the same mistake, and not surprisingly, they regretted their decisions which led them to damage their teeth as well.

That beauty trend backfired on anyone who tried teeth shaving at home. This irreversible damage limited the simplest activities in life like eating ice cream, drinking hot or cold water, and crunching nuts. This is nuts!

Is teeth filing safe?

Is teeth filing safe? Absolutely not, you should be aware that teeth do not grow back like nails or hair, once you file a layer of enamel, there is no going back from it, and the risk to face consequences like tooth decay, disease, sensitivity, and even lopsided bites are high possibilities.

If you are unhappy with uneven teeth shape, pay a visit to a dentist for professional care and guarantee a beautiful smile painted on your face with no issues lying behind.

Safety alert 1: tooth sensitivity and inflammation

The layer of enamel is actually a protective layer, the more you file your tooth the more it reaches the sensitive layer. Put yourself in that situation, you will suffer on so many layers, you cant inhale hot or cold air without feeling tension and pain, and you limit yourself from drinking and eating many options.
Speaking of layers, it will also damage your gums.

Safety alert 2: tooth decay

Do not shave your teeth, it is a gateway to decay, which opens a road to the cavity and a possibility for you to say goodbye to your tooth.

DIY teeth shaving is a motivation for bacteria to attack the unprotected tooth, causing permanent damage.

Do not damage your healthy teeth with your own doings. The enamel layer on a tooth is stronger than any bone in the human body. Enamel layer protects the underneath layer and the dentin layer from all the trouble, which is also protecting the pulp. Let’s keep that in mind that the pulp is the most sensitive layer.

Safety alert 3: lopsided bites

Picture this, you file your teeth a bit too much, and then have a misaligned set of teeth. The consciousness in your bites every time you chew food will cause unbearable discomfort and be very hard to get along with.

If you do not seek help from your doctor, sooner or later that will get worse health-wise; jaw muscle pain, loose teeth, and last by not least, headaches.

Then why do dentists also file teeth?

Dentistry exists for your service to satisfy your needs with professional sanding tools rather than a 50-cent nail file.

Enameloplasty or tooth filing is the careful removal of the outer layer of a tooth to reshape it for numerous reasons, like correcting tooth shape, preparing the teeth for operations, or creating room in your mouth.

As a result of a dental visit rather than home dental treatment, you won’t suffer from a cracked tooth or rough surfaces of a tooth and have a perfect smile. Let a professional hand be at your service.

Reason 1: correcting tooth shape

Correcting tooth shape or odontoplasty is a dental procedure known for filing teeth in a very minimal volume of crooked or uneven teeth for better alignment.

Odontoplasty aims to increase the quality of your smile with no anesthesia needed and it is one of the cheapest cosmetic procedures.

Doctors also take an X-ray photo of your teeth to check the health of your teeth, then beautify them with a sanding instrument and finally smoothen them with a polishing tool for a sparkly smooth smile.

Reason 2: preparing the teeth for operations

Doctors tend to do procedures for your teeth and shaving your teeth is the beginning of the operation.
Various operations need shaving as pre-op, and each one of them is unique from the others, some are cosmetic and some are health benefits or both.

  • Occlusal Equilibration: Back teeth’s cusps are shaved to balance bites on each other by reducing the gaps, therefore the upper teeth sit perfectly on the lower teeth when chewing.
  • Partial Dentures: Sometimes wearing artificial teeth causes discomfort or does not fit so, they are shaved just enough to fit with the natural teeth.
  • Dental Crown: In order to place a dental crown on your damaged tooth, the real tooth must be shaved first, so the crown can fit properly.
  • Veneers: Doctors shave the teeth about 0.5 mm to attach the veneers, the natural set of teeth looks smaller than the veneers. They give only cosmetic purposes for patients to regain confidence in a wide beautiful smile.
  • BracesMisaligned and crowded teeth need braces to be shifted to better positions, and sometimes before or after the process, it’s necessary to shave bits of the teeth to even them to make them look better.

A perfect smile needs an experienced hand of an orthodontist. It’s a book of complications, and that does not include a nail file. It is the safest way to achieve your goals without putting yourself at a regretful risk.

But it can also be dangerous in the wrong hands, see our article about dangerous teeth filing for Veneers.

Reason 3: creating room in your mouth

Interproximal reduction (IPR) is enamel removal with shaving tools from teeth sides to reshape the set of teeth with better alignment.

the spacing between the teeth after shaving is a matter of millimeters or even half of it, it aims for many goals, reducing crowding, shrinking the black triangles between teeth, or for orthodontic treatments.

Dentists use Invisalign or braces to help them to slightly move to the needed position, even though the shaving is minimal, the results are beyond beneficial and transform the imperfect smile into a beautiful smile.


Garg N, Garg A. Textbook of Operative Dentistry. Boydell & Brewer Ltd; 2010. Accessed November 15, 2022.

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