Have you been discouraged by the cost of dental care? If you’ve ever gone to the dentist, you know: Dental care is not cheap. That is one of the main reasons why…

Toothache for At-Home Tooth Extraction

At-Home Tooth Extractions: Economically Smart or Dangerous?

Have you been discouraged by the cost of dental care? If you’ve ever gone to the dentist, you know: Dental care is not cheap. That is one of the main reasons why so many people don’t go to the dentist and often resort to pulling their own tooth when they have a toothache.

Even though going to the dentist is important for our health, it is still hard to justify the cost sometimes. As a result, some people turn to more unconventional dental care means for treating their dental health, like at-home tooth extractions.  If you’re at that place, understand all the facts and ask yourself this question: Is pulling your own tooth economically smart and advantageous or is it dangerous?

Can I Pull My Own Tooth?

Toothaches are irritating, especially when they refuse to go away on their own, but there is often a reason for them. This ailment can indicate infection and a need to have a tooth pulled.  Many people who can’t pay a dentist try to pull the hurting tooth at home to eliminate the problem.

The issue with DIY tooth extractions is that regardless of its affordability, pulling a tooth without the proper training and tools can be very dangerous and end up causing more pain. In addition, there is an increased risk of worsening an infection or breaking the tooth.

Dentists highly discourage pulling a tooth at home because complications are more likely to occur in doing so. These include breaking the tooth before the root, breaking a surrounding tooth, infection and abscess, which can land you in the hospital for a dental emergency where you’ll end up paying much more.

Affordable Tooth Extraction Options

If a tooth is causing you pain from infection or appears loose, a professional extraction is the wisest option for relief. There are several affordable options that will fix the problem without breaking the bank.

  • Payment plans: Many dental offices will allow payment plans, where portions of a procedure cost are paid at a time. Over the course of the plan, the full price will eventually be paid, but it allows more time to get the money.
  • Dental clinics: Many areas have local dental clinics that can offer discounted dental care to those who can’t afford to pay full price. A lot of these clinics operate on a sliding scale, where they determine the price paid by an individual’s income.
  • Discount dental plans: Discount plans are a cheap alternative to insurance. For a very low monthly price or yearly cost, you can save between 15 and 60% off tooth extractions and other dental services.

Though getting a tooth pulled can be very costly, leaving an infected tooth alone can be detrimental to your overall health. At-home tooth extraction is not recommended, as it is painful and dangerous. The best option is always to seek out a dentist and to remember that regular cleanings can prevent conditions from worsening–conditions that may lead to a tooth being extracted.

 

43 Comments
  1. Here in palm bay fl there is no help for dental and Medicare and Medicaid do not do any about dental. I know should not pull my own tooth but with very little and I do mean very little money what can i do?

    • I can definitely sympathize with this, Glenn. Did you know our plans start as low as $9.95 a month? https://www.1dental.com/careington-dental-plan/ And they offer significant discounts at the dentist, which you can often break up into a payment plan if you work that out with the dentist you see? That has helped my husband and I get the dental work we need – breaking up the cost over months at a time. I hope you’re able to get the affordable care you need!

  2. I was forced to extract my own tooth because I could not find any dentist to do it
    This happened last week. The week before that I had gone to the dentist with toothache in my back molar tooth. He took that tooth out because I asked him to because I did not want a root canal. And cannot afford that anyway.

    But when the numbing injection off the tooth next to the extracted one was loose and hurt, and the pain would not stop.
    So I went to the dentist he would not do anything. So I went to 4 other dentists but they fobbed me off said it was normal and would not fill or extract that tooth.

    So I extracted my tooth myself. I pulled with pliers and let me tell you. Pulling at tooth without any anesthetic hurts like HELL.

    I got the tooth out but it’s not the point. I should not have had to do that.
    The problem is here in the UK a lot of dentists won’t take a tooth out, even if it is hurting. The policy here is they like to do root canals and crowns instead of extractions. Which I do not want because I am afraid of the side effects of an RC and crown.

    It’s wrong what happened to me, I should not have had to take that tooth out myself. The dentists I saw should have done it but they did not and would not listen to me when I told them I was in pain and that tooth needed to come out. That’s not right.

    • Wow. I’m so sorry to hear that, Rose. I hope you are able to find a dentist who you are comfortable with and provides the care you need.

      • Thanks for your reply. I live in the UK, England. And unfortunately here,a lot of dentists won’t take a tooth out, even if you are in pain. They want to do root canals and crowns instead. This is standard practice with a lot of Dentists in the UK, even if you are in pain.
        Here it’s very difficult to find a dentist who will extract your tooth.

        As I said they like to save the tooth by doing RC or crowns. But that is not suitable for everybody. I do not want a root canal or crown because I have very sensitive teeth and gums. Also my gums are in a poor condition and that’s what I think has caused the problem in the first place. As I have lost some other teeth because of my gums.

        So I don’t want a root canal because I am frightened I might have a reaction to it and it might make my mouth worse. But I do think that dentist who took out my molar tooth might have dislodged or damaged the tooth next to it, when he extracted my other one. because before the dentist extracted my molar it was only that tooth that was hurting but the one next to it was all right.

        But after the dentist extracted it that was when the tooth next to it started hurting and was loose but was not before. And it’s not the first time I have had problems after going to that dentist for treatment. Last year I had my teeth descaled by the hygienist they under injection to numb my gums. Then a day later an ulcer appeared under my tongue and I had that ulcer for 3 months until my GP, doctor gave me something to get rid of it.

        Then 6 months before that that same dentist made another tooth come loose after I had another descaling by injection.

        So it seems that dentist did maybe mess something up. So maybe I should just not go there again.

  3. Hi all! When did teeth and eyes not become part of the body? Insurance that does not cover all of your body is ridiculous.

    • The reason medicare, Medicaid, and insurance doesn’t cover dental, hold onto your chair you will love this. The government has never upgraded dentists to be considered doctors.

  4. I recently saw a dentist in my area who’s newspaper ad touted him as the best around and showed awards he had gotten, along with a project he had started to provide free dental care for war veterans and battered women. I thought to myself, “Wow, this guy must have a lot of compassion and if he is the best, I want to go to him”. My father-in-law had agreed to help pay for the costs, since I am disabled and Medicaid only pays for 1 emergency extraction per lifetime. I have a variety of health issues, hence the disability and some of those health issues require the use of pain medications to control pain. When I went in to see this dentist, first off, he did not offer an estimate for his services. He took an x-ray and looked in my mouth at a broken tooth that had become abscessed, for about 30 seconds and then sat down to look at my file. He told me he wouldn’t give me pain medication, which was NOT the reason I was there and I told him as much. Then he told me I would have to go to be another dentist about 50 miles away to have it pulled. He gave me antibiotics in the meantime. He also told me I should go to a nearby tribal clinic, since I am Native American. I told him that, although I am Native, they are not my tribe and it’s not always a given that I can just go there. He sent me on my way, waiving the fee for the visit, although my husband had gotten his wallet out to pay for it. I can’t afford to go to an oral surgeon and especially not one 50 miles away when I have an abscessed tooth, with facial cellulitis. Not to mention that I have my doubts that it would be done on visit #1, so that would mean more than one trip for me. Anyhow, the swelling went down and 3 weeks later, a tooth on the other side of my mouth became abscessed, with facial cellulitis. This tooth was NOT broken. It could have been extracted immediately and should have been. Well, my husband called the previously mentioned dentist and he had his hygienist tell my husband that he would call me in antibiotics one more time, but that he would not see me, that I needed to go to the tribal clinic. I did a little research on that particular clinic and found that, even though they do accept people other than their tribe, in order to see them using native benefits, you have to live on or within a certain area of the reservation. I don’t. I live about 45 miles from there. And to use native benefits, I would also have to apply for IHS-Indian Health Services. My husband called that office one more time to tell them that we had the means to PAY for the dental work and that I really needed to be seen, as the 2nd round of tooth issues and cellulitis was almost more than I could handle and that dentist is just downtown from us in a small town. They never called back. I was apparently dismissed. I see several things wrong with this. First, just because I am Native does not mean I can just waltz into any clinic and get free care. If he hadn’t put forth the attitude that I should stick with my own kind, whether that be native or poor, I may have thanked him for the suggestion. Second, he never asked if we had a means of paying for the work, which we are well aware can be expensive. Meaning that he apparently assumed that we were trying to get free care from him since he does that project work. Not even close. I picked him because he was close and supposedly the best. Why wouldn’t I want the best care I could get, since I am paying for it out of pocket?? Third, the last time my husband called, the secretary told him that the dentist was in surgery at the moment. I went wait……WHAT? He does dental surgeries but told me I would have to drive 50 miles to get my broken tooth extracted? It was then my suspicions were confirmed. I had gotten the brush off. For what reason, it’s not so clear. Whether he THOUGHT I was looking to “score” some more pain medications, which I had already told him I was not there for and my face should have spoken for itself, being as the one side looked like I had been hit by a baseball bat or because he assumed we couldn’t afford it, even though he never asked or if it was a racial issue, which I would like to think is NOT the case although the other 2 are no better either. He denied me care because of an assumption. Period. So now I am seeing swelling on both sides of my gums at the SAME time. I have been trying to get in to another dentist for a couple of weeks now and no one has any openings, even for an EMERGENCY extraction due to abscess and cellulitis. I have an appointment tomorrow morning with a dentist that reviwers say is compassionate and listens to the patients. THAT is what I am looking for. Not free dental care or pain medications. COMPASSION. Imagine that…. anyhow, if he doesn’t work out, I will be pulling my own teeth, as my patients is wearing thin and to be honest, I would rather deal with the potential danger than with any more condescending or apathetic bull pucky laden attitudes from people that should concern themselves more with potential dangers of denying care then what I MIGHT be up to, given there is no basis for that crap. If I can’t get help, I’ll take my chances with yanking my own teeth. And to think I didn’t ask for meds, nor did I ever intend to and I have a way to pay in CASH for the dental work, even if it means thousands of dollars. Huh. This is what I call the opioid HYSTERIA that I have repeatedly seen cropping up in the healthcare industry. The only thing some of us face is a epidemic in denial of care, because we MIGHT be looking for a pain pill. Ironically, even if you have a known painful issue, you get denied anyway. And especially if you are “poor” and on Medicaid. If it weren’t so scary,it would just be incredibly sad. Well, here is hoping for help! If they won’t help, I’ll help myself.

    • I should also add that the first time I saw that dentist, he asked me what conditions that I had that I took pain meds for. I told him all of them that I could think of, even though I was having a difficult time even processing thought and I told him as much. That should have been a warning sign, due to the location of the infection, instead I think it’s safe to assume he thought I had just taken too much medication. As a word of advice to those in the field of health care, whether it’s dentistry or any other, my doctor and I went through a long period of time establishing trust and if my doctor deems it necessary for me to take pain medications due to my conditions AND I don’t come in and ask you for some, it’s not your place to think that you know better. If you’ve not seen my medical file and all of the symptoms, diagnoses and testing that has been done, it’s not your place to think you know better. Denial of care is more dangerous and costly than pulling one’s own tooth. Couple that with the fact that he apparently thought he had figured me out because my face was swollen with an obviously raging infection in my face, located too near my brain that it should have been ignored, yet it was and most likely because I was having a hard time thinking….that’s a recipe for disaster. As a matter of fact, I know it was the infection because the difficulty processing thought started well before I went to see him and stopped after the 3rd day of antibiotics, along with the fact that I was taking my pain medications as prescribed, I know good and well that’s what it was. Of course, he’s not going to know because he didn’t ask, nor would he have believed me if I had told him as much. I could have died or at very least ended up in the hospital on IV antibiotics all because my body has issues I can’t control or because I might not be able to afford to pay for a treatment that could have averted a crisis situation? What is this world coming to? Seriously. I don’t mean to rant but in this situation, I would feel totally justified pulling my own teeth. If I can’t get help from the people that are supposed to be able to help me because they don’t want to for whatever reason, that doesn’t leave me with much choice, so I can understand why some here would want to do their own dental work. I totally understand it. Whether it’s that it’s cost prohibitive or any other reason, sometimes it’s necessary to do what you have to do in order to care for yourself and the moral of this story is that help isn’t always there even if it should be. The visit with this dentist is not an isolated event for me. I had bowel surgery once and woke up in recovery to a doctor calling me a drug addict BECAUSE I take pain medications for PAINFUL conditions. If my doctor thought I was abusing the pain medications, I would be cut off in a hot second. This was before the prescribing guidelines even came out, too. There have been several incidents in between as well, so the reason for my posts is that I am fairly certain of what caused his attitude with me. And also to share that it’s not always so easy to just go to a dentist to get the work done. Even if you have money and aren’t on pain medication. All it takes is an assumption, to get denied care. Which I believe is wrong. As a provider that is your right, but IS it right? I digress. I just mean to say that it’s not always that simple and people will do what they have to do, even if it seems like it’s not a good idea, sometimes there isn’t a choice.

      • Hi Chronically Pained, thank you for writing to us. I’m very sorry it took us so long to publish your comments. We have a review process we go through for these and it took us some time to get through the comments we had received. We really appreciate hearing your story and we’re sorry you have had such a difficult time finding compassionate dentists willing to care for your teeth. We hope you have had more success finding a dentist near you since you last commented. If not, we’ve written a couple of posts about how to Find a Dentist You Like – maybe there are some helpful tips within those articles to help you find a caring dentist near you. We hope you are able to get the dental care you need so you will no longer be in pain. 1Dental is not a dental office, but we do have a list of dentists who provide great care for their patients at an affordable rate.

        We understand why people would resort to pulling their own teeth at home. However, due to the dangers of doing so, we wanted to write this article to make everyone aware of the risks involved. We also hope we are able to provide a solution (affordable care at dentists who care) so it doesn’t come to that for anyone.

    • cant take the pain, gum swollen up to the top gumline now… Tooth is broken/cracked and antibiotics helped but swelling and pain never truly went away…

  5. When you can NOT afford a dentist, this information is pretty useless. Of course it would be dangerous to do it yourself – who would think otherwise – but when you can NOT afford a dentist, what other option is there? I can NOT afford a dentist and am thinking about doing it myself. But right now I just don’t brush my teeth at all cause it hurts to much and am hoping some of my teeth will fall out on there own. While I’m not brushing my teeth, my good teeth are also getting bad. America NEEDS Medicare For All including dental coverage. In California there is an initiative SB562 that would provide universal healthcare, just going to wait and hope that legislation gets out of committee. Anybody in California tell Rendon to release the bill.

    • Hi Douglas, I’m sorry to hear you are experiencing such dental pain right now. :( Have you considered one of the affordable tooth extraction options we’ve listed above? We’ve heard many people tell their dental stories and share about the relief they received when they found a dental office who would break up payment for them over months at a time or the people who have discovered local dental clinics who offer free or affordable dental care for those who need it. We also offer a discount dental plan that is affordable and helps you get the dental care you need! Not only have we heard success stories from our customers, but everyone here also uses the plan and has their own story for how much they’ve been able to save using a discount dental plan and the dental treatment they’ve been able to receive that they wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.

      If you purchased a monthly plan with us, you would pay $39.95 today and then $9.95 each month following, which would give you access to our dental discounts at a dentist near you. In California, a simple tooth extraction would then drop from $250 per tooth to $73 per tooth, which some dentists will even agree to create a payment plan for you to help you pay that discounted rate off.

      I hope this information is helpful to you and that you are able to find an affordable solution to provide you the dental relief you need.

    • That’s not something we recommend. If you need affordable dental care, 1) get an affordable discount dental plan if you don’t have coverage already (great way to save money at the dentist and get the care you need), 2) find a local dental clinic who offers free or discounted dental care for its patients, 3) find a dentist who would agree to set up a payment plan so you can afford the dental treatment.

      There are a lot of affordable options to consider before pulling your own tooth! We hope one of these options works for you. The risk of making the problem worse by pulling the tooth yourself could end up costing you more time and money to seek treatment than going to get an extraction now.

  6. Medicaid in every state covers emergency or risky dental care including extractions, root canals, etc. Medicaid dental clinics also have low-cost and sliding-scale services, and many churches offer low-cost and even free services if there are dentists in their congregation. Ask around, think outside the box and seek good self-care. There is no reason for someone of low income to suffer lack of dental care, in or out of emergency situations.

  7. I have dental “insurance” I’ve been to 3 in network dentist, the last wanted 8000 dollars up front to even schedule. I only have 12 teeth left one is crack in half and it’s turned in my gum the root is poked through. I don’t have 8000 dollars. So am pretty much on my own. My plan is a claw hammer pulling upward. All I care about is staying conscious and stopping the bleeding. Can anyone guide me on those last 2

    • Wow. I’m so sorry you have been having such a rough time, Duane. Hearing of a dentist who wants all of that money upfront doesn’t sound very legitimate. I would be skeptical about that, for one. Secondly, there are dentists who are willing to work with you by coming up with a payment plan for you, or only doing the necessary work to help ease any dental pain you may be experiencing.

      I’m sure you are probably frustrated and worn out from going to so many dentists. If I could encourage you to not give up on them though and try to find a dentist near you who can help, I would highly recommend that! You could be at risk of causing more damage to your dental health by doing it yourself.

      I’m hesitant to recommend our plan because I don’t want you to feel like I’m just trying to sell you on this, but if it’s able to help you get into a dentist who can provide care for you at an affordable price, I would recommend checking out one of our dental plans: https://www.1dental.com/discount-dental-plans/

      Depending on where you live, there could also be some free dental clinics or inexpensive dental schools where you could go get care at a more affordable (or free) price.

    • There are organizations in larger cities that help homeless and low income people with medical and dental care and they charge on a sliding scale. In Chicago there’s Heartland Health. Call your city information number or the counselor of a local shelter to see if there’s something similar in your town.

  8. The dentist is closed I do have antibiotics and numbing Solutions Tylenol and ibuprofen nothing is working it hurts so bad I have never had a toothache this bad I can’t take it I think I’m going to have to pull it myself

  9. whoa but what 1 has to do,1 will DO.
    loosen up the tooth very easily by winding dental floss around the base and rock it gently,twirl it etc- it will loosen up-takes some time and of course keep it clean–when it’s loosed you’ll know and get IT OUT.–and i AM talking about permanent teeth as well.

    many out here have been through the whole experience of having them yanked out,pulled out and extracted in that dentist’s chair and will know when the tooth is loosed from the socket and able to be removed.–even with good local anaesthesia it is a distinct sensation……then sheer RELIEF as it’s OUT.
    you never yank them out and yes the alleged professionals have done this to me and most definitely to OTHERS.

  10. I am not suggesting that it is the safest answer, but I did pull one of my own teeth without complications, and I am considering doing it again.
    I was in my early teens, and in a lot of pain. My mom could not afford to take me to the dentist. After months of pain, I used some listerine first and then took a pair of pliers and pulled it myself. It hurt, and there was a lot of blood, but I used those gauze rolls that dentists use to stop the bleeding.
    It caused my mother to call a shrink, but it did work and I did not get an infection. I felt a lot better the next day.
    Now in my late 30’s I have a perfectly healthy wisdom tooth, that has pushed through evenly and it has cracked another tooth it has been pressing on.
    There is no pain in the gum or jaw(which is what is supposed to indicate infection). I would rather keep the nice healthy wisdom tooth than the one that has cracked. The cracked one is too far back to see anyway.
    I am strongly considering pulling the cracked one and seeing a dentist if I have any problems.
    Pulling one’s own tooth does involve the risk of infection, but 100 years ago it was quite common.
    I will keep you guys posted, on what I decide to do.

  11. This doesn’t help everyone. I have an 8 year old with an infection that has already eaten the tooth and is moving into the gum. My son is having fevers. I can’t get a dentist to even give him an appointment to look at it because he has autism. I have no choice but to pull it myself. I’m getting sick of these ‘specialists’ deciding that if your kid isn’t perfect then they should just sit home and die instead of them having to be bothered with them.

    • Hi Ree, I’m sorry you are having trouble finding a dentist. If there is really no dentist in your area that will accept him, you can try pulling the tooth yourself. But you should be aware of the risks associated with this act, and that doing so may make matters worse. Hope everything goes well.

    • Ree. As a fellow mother of a child with autism, I understand your struggle. I wanted to let you know that “Autism Speaks” has a list of dentists in various areas that are skilled in and comfortable with working with autistic children. We found one that was not only amazing, but willing to sedate for regular teeth cleanings as it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to do any other way.

  12. Oh great information, I like your post. with nice and Clean site.

    Allsmiles Dental Centre – our mission is to provide you and your family with the highest quality of dental care while making your dental visit as comfortable as possible.

    Thanks

  13. I didn’t know that at-home tooth extraction was a growing trend. With 20 years in an oral surgeon’s office, I can attest that do-it-yourself extractions can be very dangerous. Another growing trend, in response to a tough economy, is reduced fee dentistry. I know of several general dentists who are lowering fees and our office has also instituted a “flat fee” plan for common procedures, such as wisdom teeth removal. Patients should always discuss alternative options with their dentist before trying something risky like tooth extraction at home. Great topic!

  14. After extraction of your tooth, pain and swelling are usual. Take your pain tablets and apply cold compresses to the outside of your face at the point of swelling. Use store bought cold packs or make your own by placing ice cubes into a plastic bag and covering it around the area with a hand towel. Your advices are really useful to aware people regarding the primary treatment at home.

  15. These are valued information esp those who are on a tight budget. I would recommend option 2 and 3 as you save on the dental cost. This is instead of using a longer term to pay off the dental fee. Would also highly recommend a good electric toothbrush as an everyday dental regime.

  16. It’s actually a cool and useful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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