Taking Out a Tooth
Not every painful tooth needs to come out. You must decide how serious
the problem is, and then decide if you can treat and save the tooth. Some
problems—such as root canal treatment for a tooth with an abscess, or
wiring for a loose tooth—require the skills of an experienced dental worker.
Even if you cannot treat every person, a more experienced worker can help
you by taking care of the more difficult tooth problems.
Remove a tooth only when it is necessary. Here are three reasons to take
out a tooth:
• It hurts all the time or hurts enough to wake the person at night.
• It is loose and hurts when you move it.
• It has a broken root (p. 96) or a broken top with an exposed nerve.
It is important to learn from another person, not just from a book. Find an
experienced dental worker who can show you how to take out a tooth
and who can then watch you as you try it yourself.
Before You Begin: Ask Questions!
Before you take out a tooth, you need to learn about the person’s health.
Tell the person what to expect, and then ask:
• Do you bleed a lot when your skin is cut? (If so, you may bleed a
lot when your tooth comes out.)
• Do you have swollen feet and difficulty breathing? (You may have
• Do you have any allergies? (You may be allergic to some
medicines we give when we take out a tooth.)
• Are you a diabetic? (If you have diabetes, your wound will take a
long time to heal.)
• Are you pregnant? (Some problems can be treated during
pregnancy, but sometimes it is better to wait. See pages 15–16,
77, 102, and 160.)
If the person answers “yes” to any of these questions, you must take
special precautions. See the next page.