Surprising Number of Patients Try Super Glue before Visiting Dentist

Topline Findings from a Survey of More than 300 Dentists

In preparation for the Chicago Dental Society's 146th annual Midwinter Meeting, which will draw more than 30,000 dental professionals to Chicago this February, society members were asked about current trends, dental care tips and more. More than 300 of the society's member dentists responded to the fall 2010 survey.

Here's what the society found:

Patients self-treat before they visit the dentist. Nearly 70 percent of dentists have taken care of a patient who tried to treat their own dental problem before visiting the dentist. The most common home treatment among patients, dentists said, is Super Glue for broken dental work, like crowns and dentures. Using an emery board to file chipped teeth or overusing topical painkillers, like teething gels, to deaden pain were also common. Remarkably, several dentists had treated patients who attempted to give themselves a root canal using power tools.

Dentists are interacting online. Nearly 20 percent of dentists now use Facebook for their practice, compared to the nearly 60 percent who use it personally. Only 6 percent of dentists use Twitter for their practice.

Women have the brighter smiles. More than 60 percent of dentists say women professionally whiten their teeth more than men.

Dentists have a sweet tooth, too. Nearly a quarter of dentists surveyed admitted that ice cream is their favorite treat. Cookies and pie came in second and third as favorite desserts. Only 6 percent of dentists claimed they don't like sweets at all.

More dental injuries from basketball than any other sport. More than 30 percent of dentists report that basketball was the sport that resulted in the most dental injuries for their patients. Hockey came in second, with nearly 20 percent. And more than 15 percent of dentists treat dental injuries related to baseball or softball.

Economic impact on dentistry remains steady. Nearly 70 percent of dentists say their patients are delaying needed dental treatment - a figure that remains relatively close to last year's 75 percent. More than 50 percent of dentists say their patients are delaying cosmetic treatments; and more than 40 percent say their patients are delaying preventative care.

Smiles are becoming "too perfect." More than half of the dentists surveyed think that smiles are getting so perfect that they look artificial.

Dentists want you to relax. More than 25 percent of dentists surveyed provide their patients with amenities such as iPods, TVs, or massage chairs to provide some comfort during their visit.

Root canals are not painful! A majority of dentists surveyed felt that the biggest dental "myth" that needs to be debunked is the level of pain experienced with a root canal. Advancements in technology have made this common dental procedure virtually pain-free.