Though maybe not for the faint of heart, there’s an important lesson to be learned from the video capturing NHL player Ryan Reaves pulling his own tooth out after a big in-game hit. We think our own Dr. Laura Geiger summed it up best with her reaction: “Gross!” As she and every other dentist will tell you, on the spot, self-performed oral care is definitely not recommended. And not just because it’s gross, but because it can cause serious damage to your mouth, potentially leading to problems that are much worse than a loose tooth. So while you’re enjoying your regular dose of hockey mayhem, try to keep in mind that most of the people on the ice aren’t certified doctors.
If you can not see the embedded video above please use the following link: Gotta See It: Reaves pulls out tooth after crushing hit
It begs the question: what should Reaves have done? And maybe more importantly, what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation, thinking that you might want to pull your own tooth? It’s a good question, and one that requires a doctor-informed answer. In Reaves’ case, the best thing to do (aside from dropping out of the game to set up an appointment with his dentist then and there) would have been pushing the tooth back into place, and replacing his mouth guard to keep it secure until he is able to see his dentist at his earliest convenience.
Some people turn to the practice of pulling their own teeth as a way to find relief from abscesses or other tooth-related pain. Sure, it’s fast and inexpensive, but without the help of anesthetic, chances are you’ll find yourself with much more physical pain than you had when you started. But to be honest, the pain will only be the beginning of your problems, as improperly pulled teeth can lead to a whole host of serious problems, including infection, bleeding, and expensive dental work. What started out as a quick fix could become a major consumer of your time, money, and peace of mind.
Dentists can help your tooth pain or tooth injuries by offering anesthetic-supported surgery to ease the pain and powerful antibiotics to fight infection. Most importantly though, dentists are the only people with the experience necessary to fully understand all the risks of tooth pulling and the appropriate procedures to follow. So, if you learn a lesson from Ryan Reaves today, it should be to stick to the game you know best, and leave dental work to the professionals.