Losing a tooth can be a scary and painful experience for many. However, sometimes a loose or damaged tooth needs to be pulled immediately to relieve pain or prevent infection. It may seem daunting to pull your own tooth at home, but it can be done quickly and safely if you follow the proper steps.
In this comprehensive guide, we will go over everything you need to know about pulling your own teeth quickly and properly. From determining if a tooth needs to be pulled to aftercare once it’s out, we’ve got you covered. By the end, you’ll feel confident you can remove your own tooth swiftly when necessary.
When to pull a tooth yourself
The first step is determining if a tooth truly needs to be pulled at home, or if you should see a dentist. Here are some signs it may be time to remove a tooth yourself:
- The tooth is very loose and moving on its own. This likely means the root has detached from the bone and it will eventually fall out.
- You have a severe toothache or pain from an infected tooth that cannot be resolved with antibiotics or numbing medication. Pulling the tooth may relieve intense pain.
- The tooth is cracked or damaged beyond repair. If a large portion of the tooth has broken off, it usually cannot be saved.
- There is traumatic damage to the tooth, such as from a fall or accident. The tooth may be dislodged or unsalvageable.
- There is severe decay or infection under the gums. This can lead to an abscess that requires tooth removal to drain.
If the tooth is just mildly loose or you are uncertain, it’s best to see a dentist first before pulling it yourself. But in an emergency when you cannot reach professional dental care, or you know the tooth is unsaveable, you can proceed to extract it at home.
Gather the right dental tools
You will need the proper equipment to remove a tooth efficiently. Here are the must-have tools:
- Needle-nose pliers. Look for pliers with curved ends specifically designed for pulling teeth. Regular pliers may also work in a pinch.
- Antiseptic wash. Use this to rinse out your mouth after removal to prevent infection. Saline solution or salt water works.
- Gauze. Have cotton gauze pads on hand to stop bleeding by biting down after the tooth is pulled.
- Pain medication. Take an over-the-counter oral analgesic like ibuprofen or acetaminophen beforehand to ease pain.
- Ice pack. Applying an ice pack to the cheek area before pulling can help numb the area.
- Flashlight. A flashlight can help give you better visibility in the back of the mouth.
- Mirror. A small mirror lets you see better while extracting the tooth.
- Clean washcloth. Use this to wipe away blood and saliva during the process.
- Disinfectant. Use isopropyl alcohol to sterilize the pliers and wash hands beforehand.
Having all equipment ready beforehand will allow you to pull the tooth quickly once you start. Avoid makeshift tools like pliers that can fracture teeth further.
Prepare the area
Before yanking out a tooth, take steps to prepare the space:
- Brush and floss well to clear away plaque, food and bacteria. This reduces risk of infection.
- Rinse the mouth with warm salt water to promote bleeding and expose the tooth.
- Apply ice wrapped in a cloth to the cheek next to the affected tooth for 5-10 minutes. This will numb the area.
- Take any prescribed pain relievers or over-the-counter analgesics an hour beforehand to ease the process. The tooth and area should feel numb.
- Sit in a well-lit room and prop your head up on pillows to give you better access.
- Set up a rolling chair or stool to sit on so you can roll back once the tooth is removed and avoid choking on it.
- Have the extraction tools, gauze, ice pack and antiseptic wash within reach.
Following these steps helps you pull the tooth as quickly and painlessly as possible once you are ready to begin. Having someone assist you can also help speed things up.
Pulling the tooth out
Once prepped, you can move forward with removing the tooth using proper technique:
- Wash hands thoroughly and use alcohol to sterilize the pliers. This prevents transfer of bacteria during extraction.
- Open wide and insert pliers all the way over the tooth, gripping as far down on the root as possible.
- Rock tooth back and forth gently to expand the socket and loosen the tooth. Do this on both the buccal and lingual sides.
- Twist tooth clockwise and counter-clockwise while applying gentle pulling pressure at the same time. This slowly eases the tooth from the socket.
- Increase pulling pressure gradually, rocking and twisting more forcefully until the tooth releases.
- Lean head forward over sink and pull tooth straight out once loose enough. Try to avoid twisting or bending during removal.
- Quickly bite down on gauze after removal to apply pressure to stop bleeding in the socket. Hold for 30-60 minutes.
- Rinse mouth with antiseptic wash like saline solution to cleanse the area after bleeding stops.
- Place ice pack on cheek next to the empty socket to reduce swelling.
Follow this process, being careful not to put too much pressure at once, and the tooth should come out within just a few minutes once you get the feel of the technique.
Aftercare following tooth extraction
Once you’ve removed the tooth, proper aftercare is vital for swift healing:
- Control bleeding. Continue biting firmly on clean gauze over the socket for 30-60 minutes until bleeding stops.
- Minimize swelling. Alternate cold compresses with warm compresses on the face next to the extraction site for 24 hours.
- Take medications. Use over-the-counter pain relievers as needed per dosage instructions to manage pain.
- Eat soft foods. Stick to a soft food diet for 24 hours. Avoid extremely hot or cold foods.
- Practice oral hygiene. Brush and floss gently around the area starting 24 hours after. Avoid the socket or any blood clots.
- Watch for complications. Seek medical care if you have signs of infection like fever, chills or severe pain.
- Allow healing time. It takes approximately 1-2 weeks for the socket to fully heal after a simple extraction.
Following aftercare guidelines prevents complications like dry socket and allows the extraction site to heal quickly so you can get back to normal functioning.
FAQs about pulling your own teeth
For more details about safely extracting your own teeth at home, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How much will it hurt to pull my own tooth?
Using proper numbing techniques beforehand, it should not hurt much more than a professional extraction done at a dentist’s office. There may be some pain and pressure as the tooth loosens and comes out, but nothing extreme.
What if the tooth breaks or doesn’t come out cleanly?
You may need to see a dentist to remove any broken root fragments left behind if the tooth fractures. But with good technique, the tooth should come out in one piece.
When will the hole close up after a tooth extraction?
It takes approximately 1-2 weeks for the socket to fill in with new gum tissue and bone. Proper oral care during healing helps the area recover faster.
Can I pull a molar or wisdom tooth myself?
Back teeth have more anchored roots, so they are very difficult to extract yourself. It’s best to see a dentist for wisdom teeth extractions.
How can I stop the bleeding after I pull a tooth out?
Biting firmly on gauze for 30-60 minutes after extraction should allow a clot to form and stop the bleeding. Avoid disturbing the clot after.
What if I can’t get the courage to pull my own tooth?
If you cannot bring yourself to remove the tooth, it’s best to seek professional help. But follow the steps outlined and it is very manageable to do yourself.
Pulling your own teeth at home should only be done when absolutely necessary as a last resort. But if you take the proper precautions, have the right tools, and follow correct technique, a simple tooth extraction at home can be done quickly, safely, and effectively. Just be sure to see a dentist after for evaluation and follow-up care.