1001 Uses For Dental Floss #36- Do-It-Yourself Surgery–Don’t!

First of all, it has to be very clear that certain acts which are carried out by a trained professional should never be done by an amateur, even if these non-specialists are very intelligent, and very dextrous. Clear? Yes? Okay, let’s go on.

There are multiple things done with floss that could be called do-it-yourself projects, and I’ve already mentioned some, but those involving health are not among them. Of course, flossing itself is a DIY act, but including that in the admonition above would be ludicrous, and that’s not what I’m talking about. So, here goes.

I came across an article in the NT News (Northern Territory, Australia) about a man who had his lip sliced open from nose to the base of his teeth by being hit in the face with a guitar (gruesome, true, but things can get pretty rough in the Outback). Arriving at a hospital emergency room in the wee hours of the morning, he was told to come back during daylight, when the staff surgeon would be available (10 hours later, according to the story). So far, sounds like Canada, or at least, Quebec.

But those Australians are a self-sufficient bunch. Having threaded meat in the bush and as a chef in the kitchen of a restaurant, he felt qualified to do the job, and sewed his lip himself, using a sewing needle and floss. Did he think the floss would be closer to sterile than sewing thread? I don’t know if he did, but wouldn’t be. Had he had enough to drink to provide local analgesia?

Not much news in The Northern territory, so this item qualified, but that’s something else. And the results of his DIY efforts? No mention, but he likely at minimum had  some scarring, if not an infection of the upper lip or face, and may even have had a failure to reattach. Definitely not a good idea. In similar circumstances, you should let the plastic surgeon do this, even if you have to wait (yes, even 10 hours!)

I’ve seen several reports of men (it always seems to be men doing this sort of thing) who used floss they tied around their teeth and tightened to produce orthodontic movements to correct crooked teeth. Could happen, I guess, if done exactly right, which in this situation is mostly a matter of luck, not skill. They all claimed success, but that would only be visible success with the front teeth, not the rear teeth. This could have resulted, because of overly heavy pressure of uneven pressure, or in a mouth where the bone around the roots was already compromised, in bone loss, tooth loss, gum infection, damage to the joints of the jaw, broken teeth, decay, and an abundance of other problems which orthodontists are trained to prevent or avoid by studying for a minimum of 12 years of university and professional education.

And then there was the instance of a couple who had a pet chicken (yes!) who was injured and needed surgery, which they performed, using dental floss. I’ll leave that for one of the next posts, so as not to upset the animal lovers in my readership this time around. So, if you have a tender heart when it comes to animals, maybe you could look away next time. That means you, Sharon.

Just keep on flossing.