For many people, going to the dentist is a dreaded task, with fears of drills, needles, and surgical masks adding to the anxiety of each visit.
But it is this universal dislike of the dentist's office that makes the dentistry Reddit subreddit that much more peculiar.
The majority of the thread includes posts from people sharing up-close photos of their mouth and teeth ailments in the hopes of second opinions or advice.
However, while odd, and a little gross, it is the more bizarre stories and helpful advice dispersed throughout the thread that offer a fascinating insight into the world of dentistry.
In one recent post, a man wanted to know if it was common for dentists to drop objects such as a crown down a patient’s throat and then ask that the patient come back when it had come out - as had happened to his girlfriend.
“They ended up telling her to go through her poop until she found it. They scheduled her appointment for next week and said to call if she found it,” the person wrote. “I guess I’m just wanting to know if this is standard practice and if there is anything else we should do given the dentist was very unsure and we have never heard of anything like this happening before.”
According to New York City cosmetic dentist Dr Zachary E Linhart, DDS, who spoke to The Independent, losing dental objects down a patient's throat does happen occasionally - but most of the time it is not serious.
“On occasion, patients may swallow dental restorations or instruments, whether in or out of the office,” he told us.
“Typically, for something like a single crown or small restoration, if the patient knows they swallowed it, we would let it go, as it will almost definitely pass just like a large seed or pit would,” he said. “If something like an endodontic file, or a bigger restoration like a bridge is swallowed, the patient should be sent to the hospital."
But, if "an object is aspirated, meaning it goes into the lung and not down the oesophagus, then the patient should be sent to the hospital immediately."
Another post provides some interesting advice for people wondering which foods have the potential to stain teeth.
Although coffee and red wine are known to cause discolouration, one dentist shared a dental rule of thumb - “The old saying is that anything that will stain a white t-shirt will stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, wine tomato, soy sauce…” he wrote.
A different post offers insight into the world of bad dentistry - and what can go wrong with dental procedures.
For one person, a “gaping hole” left on their gum led them to question whether a previous dentist “missed” a root canal.
The attached photo shows what appears to be a hole directly in what remains of a tooth - however, someone else was able to clarify that the photo actually shows a “removed filling and opening to the pulp chamber.”
According to another person, the gaping hole is actually a “typical tooth preparation for the removal of a cavity on the side of your tooth,” - which is hard to identify because “everything tooth-related tends to be bloody.”
As for whether the dentist can tell when someone “tries to cover bad teeth by brushing them like 10 minutes before coming in for an appointment,” the answer is yes - because “signs of disease such as dental decay and gum disease will still be apparent.”