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DIY Dentistry

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At a few points in time for anyone with a tooth, they'll get a loose tooth or a toothache. Children will begin to grow out their baby teeth. For adults, it could be factors such as age and how they take care of their teeth. This can lead to where The Tooth Hurts such as eating hard food or trying to bite things, among other things.

The practical way to end the ache is a visit to the dentist. But in factors such as that there's no dentist nearby, or that they can't afford to get a checkup, or they're just afraid of dentists, they resort on pulling the tooth out by themselves. A common technique in removing it is tying the tooth with a string to a door knob of an open door and then closing the door. Another method is using pliers (highly not recommended). Results may vary, but should the results end up in failure, it's straight to the dentist anyway.


Compare with Self-Surgery.


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  • One anti-smoking Public Service Announcement features a young man yanking out one of his own teeth with pliers to point out how smoking can damage your gums and teeth.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Oruchuban Ebichu: When Ebichu gets a cavity from drinking too many syrup packets, OL's crappy boyfriend tries to fix it by himself with an icepick, earning him a punch from Maa.

  • Dara Ó Briain has a comedy routine on the false balance in political news, likening it to a debate between "a bloke who's been a professor of dentistry for 12 years" being balanced against someone who "tries to remove his own teeth with string and a door!"
  • Vivian Stanshall (ex Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) included a tale of impromptu dentistry in his comedy album Sir Henry at Rawlinson End. The gentleman in question ties his tooth to the inner door of a cage-type lift, so that when the lift ascends it will pull his tooth out. Unfortunately it doesn't work, so in frustration he yanks open the outer door and jumps down the shaft. "Few men would have had the intelligence to do that," Stanshall observes.

    Comic Books 
  • In one short example from Archie Comics, Archie invites Dilton over to help him by slamming the door. Dilton is actually a little insulted that Archie thinks he would do something so careless to a friend, so he leaves in a huff... slamming the door attached to Archie's tooth in the process.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in a The Addams Family cartoon which had the daughter sitting on a chair with a string running from her mouth to a creepy-looking trapdoor in the floor.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 12 Monkeys: Cole believes the Mission Control in the future tracks time-travelers like him through tooth implants, so he removes his own teeth with a stolen knife. The crook who has to witness the grisly sight calls him "a fuckin' crazy dentist!" Cole later learns from another time traveler that pulling out his teeth was pointless, because the future scientists have other ways to track him, as well.
  • Wade Whitehouse, the main character from the 1997 film Affliction, suffers from a bad toothache throughout the story. He eventually reaches the point where he pulls out the tooth with pliers.
  • In Cast Away, Chuck has a toothache before he gets stuck on the island. With no way to get actual medical treatment, he's forced to knock the tooth out using an ice skate and a big rock.
  • Stu from The Hangover is missing a tooth when they wake up from the night they can't remember. At the end, it's revealed that he pulled it out himself because the others said he couldn't do it. For extra irony points, Stu is a dentist, for all the difference it makes when yanking out a tooth with pliers at a strip club while black-out drunk.
  • In Jackass 3D, Danger Ehren's crooked tooth is solved by the gang tying some floss to it, and tying the other half... to the tail of Bam Margera's Lamborghini Murcielago. The pull was so severe that according to Ehren, his face bones were fractured all the way up to nearly his eye socket.
  • A post-credits scene in Wild Things (one of several that fill in the backstory) shows Suzie using a pair of pliers to extract one of her teeth. The tooth will be left behind so she can fake her own death.

  • Older Than Radio: Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: when Aunt Polly discovers that Tom has a loose tooth, she has Tom's tooth tied to the bedpost with a silk string and uses a hot coal to scare him into jumping away, yanking the tooth out.
  • The subject of a carnival game in "The Case of the Tooth Puller" from Encyclopedia Brown Shows the Way, which involved pulling loose teeth tied to a pool cue by using it to sink a ball.
  • In one of the Henry Huggins books, Henry pulls two loose teeth (that happen to be his canines) out by tying them to his dog Ribsy's toy and having Ribsy pull them out.
  • In Amoridere's Pulling Teeth,it's mentioned the subject had do this as a punishment, where she had to pull out five of her teeth, at some point. Later, remembering this, she has a The Dog Bites Back moment where she pulls out the teeth of the ones who mandated the punishment.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Americans Elizabeth ends up cracking a molar in a fight with the FBI, but manages to escape. With the FBI keeping tabs on all dentists in the area, Phillip is eventually forced to remove to remove the tooth in their basement with a pare of pliers and no painkillers. To add insult to injury, he only gets a piece of the tooth on the first try, so has to go again. The actors are dead silent during the horrific ordeal, with the camera focused almost completely on their horrified eyes.
  • MADtv had a recurring sketch in the early days, spoofing infomercials, titled, "Incredible Findings". One of these was for "Home Dentist in a Box." It ends about how you'd expect someone removing their own tooth with pliers would end.
  • M*A*S*H has a variant in that the afflicted is a doctor himself: In the episode "The Tooth Shall Set You Free", Major Winchester has a nasty toothache that he tries to cover up (being deathly afraid of dentists) by self-medicating with codeine. Major Houlihan susses him out and takes away his medicine, at which point he goes to an herbal therapist in Uijongbu to get relief. In the end, Colonel Potter forces him to see the dentist that Hawkeye and BJ brought in to masquerade as a JAG to pull a Batman Gambit on a racist colonel. Potter threatens Winchester with "the doorknob" if Winchester doesn't comply with orders to submit to the dentist's care. He still bites him reflexively...
  • Mr. Bean: In "The Trouble With Mr. Bean", Bean accidentally renders his dentist unconscious and has to resort to filling his own cavity. He ends up putting paste on every tooth (due to misinterpreting his x-ray), resulting in him gluing his jaw shut. The dentist wakes up and Bean screams, thus ungluing his jaw.
  • In Parks and Recreation, certified Rated M for Manly Ron Swanson nonchalantly yanks out a sore tooth with pliers in the middle of a meeting, prompting horrified screams from onlookers.
    Ron: [Aside Comment] The dentist pulled the tooth out yesterday, but it's always a good idea to demonstrate to your coworkers that you are capable of withstanding a tremendous amount of pain. Plus, it's always fun to see Tom faint. [Giggles]
  • Scrubs: Played for laughs. The Janitor leads most of the hospital's support staff in confronting Kelso about wanting dental insurance. When Kelso initially refuses, everyone simultaneously pulls out a tooth with their bare hands. Kelso is unimpressed. It's then revealed that the Janitor and the rest were faking with Chiclets, except one guy who actually did rip a tooth out of his mouth. The Janitor claims he can fix it.
  • In one round of the Panel Show Would I Lie to You?, comedian Bob Mortimer claims that he practices a surprisingly advanced version of this trope with the help of a steady supply of dental cement, an Indian musical instrument, a kitchen island, and a gaming chair. Much to everyone's amazement, it turns out to be a literal case of Truth in Television.
  • The X-Files: In episode Unusual Suspects the Lone Gunmen meet a woman who tells them about a government conspiracy. They have a hard time believing her until she pulls out a molar and shows them a tracking device that had been put there during a dental procedure.

  • On the album Together at the Bluebird Cafe, Townes Van Zandt relates the story (on the track "The Interfaith Dental Clinic") of an attempt at D.I.Y Dentistry that goes hysterically wrong.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Happy Tree Friends episode, "Nuttin' but the Tooth", Nutty goes to a rather unexperienced dentist to get rid of his rotten tooth. Said dentist tries the old-fashioned method of tying one end of a string to the tooth and the other to a doorknob. This procedure ends with Nutty's whole lower jaw being ripped off, with the rotten one being one of the few teeth not to fall out.


    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role: Wildemount: In Episode 11, the Pretty Boy half-orc Fjord admits that he "used to do [his] own dental work", filing down his tusks out of Freakiness Shame. With some encouragement from his new friends, he decides to grow them out again.
  • Literally taken Up to Eleven in this video, where one kid pulled his tooth using a remote-controlled toy rocket.
  • A man in the Philippines had a giant lump in his jaw area due to pulling out his own aching teeth on numerous occasions, using rusted pliers.

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: In a "Good Idea Bad Idea" segment, Mr. Skullhead demonstrates why serving as your own dentist is a bad idea, especially if it involves drilling.
  • Arthur: In the episode "Arthur's Tooth", when he finds out that he was the only one in his class who hadn't lost a tooth yet, Arthur tries to pull his loose tooth out by doing the doorknob method, eating crunchy food, and other methods. He then goes to the dentist when all methods fail, and the dentist assures him that all baby teeth fall out naturally and the age of falling baby teeth vary from person to person. At the end of the episode, Arthur's baby teeth finally fell out when Francine threw a soccer ball at his face.
  • Detention: subverted; Eugenia P. Kisskilya tries the doorknob method, but it results in the doorknob breaking off from the door.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the Justice Friends episode "Pain in the Mouth", Krunk experiences a toothache. Valhallen suggests the simple solution of going to the dentist, but Major Glory opts to helping Krunk through other means, including getting villains to beat poor Krunk up. Eventually, Krunk decides to take Valhallen's advice, and the dentist eases his problem. Major Glory also gets forced to endure dental work.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Floss Your Ed," Ed's last baby tooth is about to fall out, and Eddy comes up with many ways to knock it out of the big lug's mouth, even teaming up with the other cul-de-sac kids. Eventually, a tooth does come out, but instead it is Eddy's. The three Eds later decide to call the Tooth Fairy by standing on a roof. However, they fall off, and Ed's and Eddy's loose teeth end up stuck on a pipe, which Ed then sucks through, gobbling up the teeth in the process.
  • In The Fairly OddParents episode "Teeth for Two", as Timmy's loosening buck teeth is literally worth a diamond, Jorgen forcefully tried to pull them out with pliers as a dowry for his fiancee, the Tooth Fairy. When she finds out, she is not happy about it as it's her job to do that, and calls off the engagement. Later, as part of his plan to entrap the Tooth Fairy to reconcile with Jorgen, Timmy has his loose buck teeth pulled out by Dr. Bender though a doorknob and a string. He remarks that it didn't hurt, before the teeth bounces back at him and hits his eye.
    Timmy: And now to Phase Two.
  • In the Mr. Bean animated series episode "Toothache", after bearing the pain from a loose tooth after eating popcorn, Bean tries to pull out his aching tooth such as the classic doorknob method. When the knob fell off, he tried by pushing a drawer out of the window with string attached in tooth. When that didn't work, he tried by tying that string to a tree and wait for a passing vehicle to come by, and nada. The tooth only came out when he ate popcorn again.
  • In the Muppet Babies (1984) episode "Dental Hyjinks", Fozzie's tooth comes loose and Nanny decides to take him to the dentist. The Babies, who've never been to the dentist and are worried about what he might do to Fozzie, decide to pull the tooth out themselves by tying it to a (toy) train.
  • On The Ren & Stimpy Show, Powdered Toast Man used the doorknob method to pull out not a tooth, but the President's caught zipper.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Suds", Patrick tries to treat SpongeBob through several ineffective methods. One of which is where Patrick pulls SpongeBob's teeth out using the doorknob method to cure his suds and asked SpongeBob if it worked. SpongeBob awkwardly replied with a missing tooth that it didn't.


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