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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Would You Pull Out Your Own Tooth?

Dr. Vincent Wan


Tying a piece of string to a tooth and the other end to a doorknob and then slamming the door shut is a method of removing a problematic tooth often portrayed in cartoons or comedies.  This is obviously not recommended, doesn’t work and we laugh when we see it on TV.  To my surprise, some patients actually consider this method as a serious way of removing a tooth rather than seeking professional advice from the dentist.

Another surprise is that some patients are willing to put home improvement or gardening pliers to their own teeth in an effort to remove a painful tooth rather than going to the dentist.  Not only are you at risk of breaking the tooth and leaving a part of it stuck in your jaw bone, non-sterile home instruments put you at risk of serious infections.

When a dentist removes a tooth, we also don’t use brute force.  There is a lot more to removing the tooth, with various techniques to counter the number, size and angulation of the roots of the tooth which may lock into the jaw bone.  The dentist also uses local anaesthetic to numb the area first, which is something that the average household does not have access to.

If you have a painful tooth, please have it assessed and treated by a dentist.  Not as much as in major hospitals, but we do see a few cases in private practice of self treatment gone wrong.  You are spending more time and money correcting a botched tooth removal professionally if you attempt it yourself.  We have not begun to describe the pain and golf ball sized swellings that patients present with when we see them to remove the rest of the tooth they broke properly, or the amount of pus that must be drained due to the extensiveness of their infection.