How to Pull a Tooth in an Emergency
While pulling a tooth might not be a nice thing to think of doing, there may be times when it needs doing in an emergency and getting to a dentist is just not possible.
In our modern society it is often that people choose not to get a bad tooth looked at but failure to remove the issue and the issue WILL become worse. It can just as easily spread to your other teeth or cause an infection that could spread to your bloodstream, neither of which is good on any day let alone in a SHTF situation.
In a SHTF situation, you will have very limited supplies so we suggest stocking up on the following items at a bare minimum:
- Dental elevator
- Gloves and face mask
- Pain reliever
If the extraction is for an “upper” tooth, the patient should be tipped at a 60 degree angle to the floor and the patient’s mouth should be at the level of the medic’s elbow. If the tooth is one of the bottom set, the patient should be sitting upright with the level of the mouth lower than the elbow.
Start off by washing your hands and then putting on a pair of gloves and a face mask. Floss the teeth and give the patient an antibacterial rinse.
The ligaments that are holding the teeth in place will need to be severed in order to loosen the tooth with a dental elevator. Go between the tooth in question and the gum on all sides and apply a small amount of pressure to get down to the root area. This should loosen the tooth and expand the bony socket.
Take forceps or tweezers and grasp the tooth as far down the root as possible. Don’t grasp the tooth at the top or you risk the tooth breaking and leaving some of it in the gum. Remember that front teeth have 1 root and you should exert pressure straight downward for uppers and straight upward for lowers after you have used your dental elevator to loosen the tooth.
A rocking motion can help to loosen teeth further for those with more than 1 root such as the molars. When extracting these teeth, do so towards the cheek to avoid damage to the other teeth.
Once the tooth has been extracted, use your other hand to support the lower jaw in the case of lower extractions. It is not uncommon for a tooth to break during extraction so if it happens, you will have to remove the remaining root. Use your elevator to further loosen the root and help push it outward. Afterwards, place a folded gauze on the bleeding socket and have the patient bite down.
Over the following couple of days you may see some swelling, pain, and even bruising. Cold packs will decrease swelling for the first 24-48 hours; afterwards, use warm compresses to help with the inevitable jaw stiffness. Also, consider antibiotics, as infection is a possible complication. Liquids and a diet of soft foods should be given to decrease trauma to the area.
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