Many dental issues can be dealt with during normal dental office hours, but there are times when more immediate treatment is necessary. Emergency tooth extractions can be necessitated by different things, including tooth infection, decay, accidents, and sports-related injuries, among others.
Emergency tooth extraction at home means removing a tooth that is causing severe pain or discomfort in a non-traditional setting, such as at home or outside of a dental office. This may be necessary if a dental emergency arises outside of regular office hours, or if a person is unable to access dental care due to various reasons such as lockdowns, remote locations, or financial limitations.
If you want to extract a baby (primary) tooth, it really doesn’t count as an emergency because these teeth are supposed to get loose and come out eventually. However, there are a few situations when primary teeth might come out before the expected time, in which case, it might also be considered as an emergency tooth extraction.
Such dental emergencies can arise under the following circumstances:
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- A traumatic injury to your teeth, mouth, or jaw
- Severe swelling in your mouth, neck, or face
- Severe pain that cannot be managed with over-the-counter medication.
How to remove a tooth without a dentist
Ideally, you should only pull out a tooth at home if it is loose enough, and doesn’t cause much pain. This is because, unless it is an emergency, there’s a risk of causing harm when attempting to pull out a tooth using pliers or other means, especially if you cannot extract the entire tooth in one piece. There is also the risk of getting an infection if you don’t have a good aftercare plan after the extraction.
This is why dental professionals don’t recommend adults pulling out their own teeth. But in an emergency, you can attempt it using any of the following approaches:
Wiggling the tooth
Move the tooth back and forth several times while ensuring clean hands and avoiding excessive force. Additionally, you can use your tongue to wiggle the tooth until it becomes loose and falls out.
Twisting and pulling
If wiggling is ineffective, try twisting and pulling the tooth gently using a clean hand, gauze, or wet cloth for a firmer grip.
Using a toothbrush and dental floss
Brushing and flossing the tooth aggressively can also help to weaken it until it falls out. But you should be careful not to injure the soft tissues or damage surrounding teeth.
Biting on hard foods
Eating crunchy foods like apples or carrots by focusing on biting and chewing with the target tooth can also help to loosen it. If it’s painful, you can start with softer foods. But ensure that you don’t swallow the tooth. If you feel it getting too loose, spit it out onto a napkin.
String and door – risky
This is a rather common method of pulling out primary teeth that are already loose and about to fall off, though this doesn’t necessarily make it safe.
- Cut a piece of string that is approximately 18 inches long.
- Attach one end of the string to the tooth you want to extract.
- Tie the other end of the string to the inside knob of an open door.
- Step back from the door to create some tension on the string.
- Ask a family member or friend to close the door with enough force to extract the loose tooth from its socket.
Pulling out a tooth with pliers – risky
This sounds rather horrific, painful, and unhygienic, unless the tooth is loose already. Using pliers would offer better grip of the tooth to wiggle, twist, and pull until it gets loose enough to be pulled out. But if a permanent tooth is painful but not loose, it’s better to wait until you can see a dentist to see whether it can be treated and saved.
Waiting to see a dental professional
Extracting the tooth with a professional dentist is a straightforward process that can provide local anesthesia, a professional opinion on your options, treatment of any infection, access to the proper tools, and a reduced risk of post-extraction health complications.
If possible, waiting to consult with a dental professional can save you a lot of time, money, pain, and sanity by avoiding a drawn-out process of trying to fix the tooth yourself.
What to do after pulling out a tooth at home
Proper aftercare after extracting a tooth is necessary to ensure quick healing and prevent complications such as dry socket and infection, and also help you sleep better on the first night after extraction. This includes:
- Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to remove any remaining debris and to help soothe the area.
- Place a piece of gauze over the area to control any bleeding.
- Apply a cold compress to the area (on the outside of your cheek) to reduce swelling and pain.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Eat soft foods for the next few days and avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the tooth was removed.
Lastly, make an appointment with your dentist to have the extraction site examined and to discuss possible replacement options.
Risks & complications of pulling out a tooth at home
Removing a tooth at home can be risky. There is a chance that the tooth may break during the process, especially if it is decayed. In such a case, the crown may come out while the root remains in the gum. If this happens, it is important to see a dentist immediately.
Additionally, if the tooth is infected, bacteria may spread to the open wound, causing gum swelling and delaying the healing process.
Another complication that may arise after a tooth extraction is a dry socket. This happens when the blood clot falls off, leaving the wound open and the underlying bone exposed, which often results in severe pain. If the pain persists for more than three days, it is advisable to seek the help of a dentist.
There is also a chance that you will try to pull out a tooth that was actually salvageable, leaving you with additional costs of tooth replacement.
To avoid these situations, it’s important to visit a dentist before attempting to extract a tooth yourself at home. But if you go along with the extraction, a dental visit soon after will ensure that complications don’t develop.
You should never force a tooth that is not loose to come out, as this may cause severe pain, as well as permanent damage to the nerves and surrounding tissues. If you’re suffering from tooth pain, there are various home remedies you can attempt as you wait to visit your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment in a safe environment.