Wondering how to pull your own tooth? Well, stop right there! Unless you are a kid and have a baby tooth that is begging to come out, and you're reading this article with your legal guardian, you should not pull your own tooth!
And even if it is a baby tooth, you should let it fall out on its own.
The risk of infection, not to mention the immense pain, is so high that a trip to the dentist is necessary to ensure that your other teeth and overall health remain intact. Who knows, maybe the dentist can save the tooth you think needs to be removed! So let's look at the reasons why a tooth might need removing, how to do it at home, and the reasons why you shouldn't.
Table of contents
- 1 When does a tooth need to be pulled?
- 2 Home tooth extraction
- 3 How to find a low-cost dentist near you
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 FAQ
When does a tooth need to be pulled?
Humans have two sets of teeth in their life. The first set, baby teeth, become loose naturally and usually fall out on their own. Sometimes the teeth can hang around for a few weeks before coming out and at this point, many children will try to help the process along by pushing on it with their fingers and tongue.
And according to ADA dentists, if your child is really eager to get a loose baby tooth out, you can put a tissue over it and gently squeeze. A tooth that is ready to go should pop right out.
As you can imagine, the conversation when it comes to adult teeth is quite a bit different. Adult teeth aren't meant to come out, but may need to come out if one of the following occurs:
- Teeth crowding
- Excessive tooth decay and gum disease
- Tooth infection
- Wisdom teeth removal
- Broken tooth
If you are experiencing severe pain and are considering how to pull a tooth at home, go to a dentist or the emergency room to receive an assessment and antibiotics if there are signs of infection. The bottom line is, you shouldn't pull your own adult teeth at home.
Home tooth extraction
Can I pull my own tooth out? The short answer is that you can but you really shouldn't. Having dental insurance is the primary way to keep the cost of tooth extraction down but it isn't feasible for everyone. Removing your own chompers is very difficult and can be very painful if you cannot acquire local anesthesia.
The good news is, chances are that an emergency dentist or clinic is available in your area that offers services on a sliding scale fee. Make sure to keep everything as clean as possible to avoid infection while you find a professional near you. A trip to the dentist is a much safer option than a DIY endeavor.
How to extract a tooth at home
First, you don't. You visit a qualified professional. We don't recommend you take your own teeth out, but if you must, here are a few ways it can be done.
‘String and door' approach
If your child’s tooth is about to fall out, you can try this method to entertain your child, but force won’t be needed if the tooth is truly ready.
Dentists do not recommend ripping a tooth out of a child's mouth as it can damage tissue. This method should never be used on adults. Having your tooth pulled out of your mouth via string attached to a doorknob is a lot more likely to end in severe pain, infection, and further dental damage than success.
If you want to try this method with a child's very loose tooth:
- First, you tie a string around the part you feel needs to be removed and tie the other end to a doorknob.
- Then stand as far away from the door as the string will reach and have another person slam the door closed.
If you're a child with a loose tooth then this method can work fairly well and is mostly pain-free. But if you're an adult with a damaged tooth, this method can lead to damaging neighboring teeth, the root, or the bone beneath the gums.
This method is incredibly dangerous and won't work well for anyone without a lot of luck. Basically, you grab onto the affected area with a pair of (ideally sanitized) pliers and try to yank it out. If, in theory, you were to try this approach (which you should never do) make sure you have some gauze wrapped around the plier tips so you don't crush it and end up with a worse situation.
This method can also damage surrounding teeth very easily and lead to a world of pain and other more dangerous issues if not done properly. If you are planning to have your tooth pulled by this method then go to a dentist instead.
How to pull a broken tooth at home
The simplest answer to this is DON'T. If it is broken then your oral health is already at great risk and requires a visit to the dentist. A broken tooth is considered a dental emergency. Removing one at home is especially dangerous if you don't have the proper tools. The risk of pieces breaking off and damaging the gums, the bone, or other areas is too great. If your biters are broken, go seek the help of a dentist immediately. Below is a video of how this type of extraction is done; you'll see that it isn't something easily accomplished at home.
Risks when pulling your own tooth
The biggest risk that comes along with pulling out your own teeth is infection. Even though children's teeth are okay to be pulled out (if they are very loose), it's recommended to keep hands out of the mouth as this can introduce plenty of harmful bacteria to the environment.
This is also the same for adults, keep your own hands out of your mouth! If you are going to attempt to remove a tooth without a dentist nearby, which you shouldn't, then use gloves and sanitize everything thoroughly before and after the procedure. Another risk is that you will also damage the surrounding teeth by knocking them with tools not meant for dental work, not pulling directly up, or by damaging the jawbone or roots.
How to find a low-cost dentist near you
Not everyone has the luxury of an expensive dental insurance plan, or the ability to come up with the co-pay amount of $75-$800 per extraction. If you don't know where to go and you're struggling financially to pay for the dental treatment you need, try these options:
- Visit the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website. Government websites can be difficult to navigate, but this page is a great resource for finding low-income resources near you.
- Find out if your city has a community clinic. Especially in bigger cities, there are plenty of clinics that offer affordable options for care.
- If you have medical insurance but not dental, you can go to your local hospital's ER and at least get antibiotics and checked out for infection.
- Visiting a dental school clinic is a fantastic opportunity. The students have the ability to practice their skills and you get cheap healthcare.
If you don't have dental insurance, read our article about finding a dentist with low-cost care. You can also have a look at the following table for a summary of your options and costs when it comes to tooth pulling:
We certainly do not recommend that you attempt to extract your own teeth at home. You should always seek the assistance of medical professionals. There are ways to pull your tooth yourself at home but the risks associated with these methods are far too great when compared to the safety of a community dental clinic, dental school, or another low-income dentistry option. This way you can avoid walking into a clinic with a swollen mouth and a look that says, “I pulled my own tooth!”.
Can you pull your own tooth?
Yes, but just because you can pull your own, doesn't mean that you should. The risks associated with DIY methods are not worth it. There are plenty of options to get professional help when you find yourself in a dental emergency, doing it yourself is never the best answer.
Why do I need to pull my tooth?
A tooth may need to be extracted if there is severe decay, gum disease, breakage, crowding, or infection.
Is it safe to pull your own tooth?
No! Do not attempt to remove your own teeth. Always consult a professional and seek the advice of a doctor before trying to remove a tooth. Plus it's possible that your tooth can be saved!