Taking dental self-care to the extreme: 24-month incidence of dental self-extractions in the Florida Dental Care Study

Academic Article


  • Objective: A common response to health-related symptoms is to treat oneself in lieu of or prior to seeking formal health care. Among the more extreme forms of dental self-care is dental self-extraction. To our knowledge, no study of the incidence of this behavior has been conducted. The objective of this study was to determine if one form of dental self-care, dental self-extraction, is a real phenomenon, and if so, to determine its incidence. Methods: The Florida Dental Care Study is a longitudinal study of changes in oral health, whose subjects participated for an interview and clinical examination at baseline and 24 months after baseline. Results: Of the 739 persons who participated through 24 months, 176 lost one or more teeth. Of these 176 persons, 13 (7%) extracted one or more of their own teeth. The clinical status at baseline of the self-extracted teeth was consistent with the ability to self-extract. Conclusion: The phenomenon of dental self-extraction is real and is not limited to residents of developing nations or geographically isolated areas. Because of the potential for prolonged bleeding or bacterial endocarditis in certain population groups, community health clinicians and officials should be cognizant of this behavior.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gilbert GH; Duncan RP; Earls JL
  • Start Page

  • 131
  • End Page

  • 134
  • Volume

  • 58
  • Issue

  • 2