If you have found this article, you are probably in serious discomfort and in this state, you’re starting to consider drastic measures. If there is no swelling or signs of an abscess, then you are not in any immediate danger. But, if you do have the signs of sepsis (blue skin mottling, raised temperature) it is time to go to call NHS 111 who will probably send you to A&E.

Do not try pulling your own teeth

Pulling your own teeth could easily result in damaging the socket and struggling to control the subsequent bleeding. Also, the nerve may become exposed during your DIY dentistry, leaving you in a worse state than the one you started in. Beyond this, traumatic extraction of a tooth would make dry socket likely unless you sutured the gum.

Before suggesting an extraction to you, a dentist will go through several diagnostic steps to try to see if the tooth is salvageable.

A ‘rotten’ decaying tooth may not have damaged the pulp or the root. If the outer tooth is affected, then only a filling would be required. Even if the cavity is deep into the tooth or beneath the tooth, a root canal filling could recover the tooth. It should be a priority to try to save the tooth rather than pulling it. But to make a full assessment, a dental X-ray would have to be performed, especially for a wisdom tooth, due to its location at the back of the mouth, to determine the course of action.

Managing the discomfort

at the dental clinic

Most local dentists will happily see you as an emergency case, especially if you are at the point where you are considering pulling your own teeth. Even in the worst-case scenario, that means you only need to manage the discomfort for the next day until your appointment.

Unless you have other medical conditions, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol at the appropriate dosages (indicated on the patient information leaflet that comes with the medication), should help and are widely available over the counter where you can ask for advice.

Clove oil is also available in most pharmacies. When applied directly to the tooth, it will act as a local numbing agent, but try to avoid contact with the gum or soft tissues, as clove oil can be very irritating to the skin.

Although you are probably struggling with eating, it is important to consume tepid beverages with the use of a straw to prevent dehydration.

It cannot be overstated that pulling your own teeth is a bad idea and is not comparable to the loss of childhood teeth. Even a wobbling ‘rotten’ tooth has a root more than twice the length of the tip, which is attached to the jawbone. DIY extraction will hurt and it will be hard for you to apply the correct forces in the right way while in pain. You could also break off the top of the tooth, especially if it has been weakened by a cavity, leaving an infected root buried in your gum. The use of non-sterile equipment could also introduce a new infection into the jawbone. A dentist is the professional who will alleviate your discomfort and do so safely.

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