News + Issues

Cheapskates taking dentistry into their own hands


Gone are the days of how-to books and manuals. Technology has given DIY (do it yourself)-driven people the option to ditch paper resources and utilize the power of the index finger to click, scroll and select videos on  YouTube and Vimeo to learn how to accomplish certain tasks. Taking it a step further, some self-proclaimed “home-based professionals” believe they can save money here and there by doing repairs and fixes on their own instead of hiring trained professionals to solve the problem.

True to the definition of DIY, Grant Hearn took home dental care to another level in TLC’s “Extreme Cheapskates,” a show that features individuals who are simply that, cheapskates. After learning it would cost $185 to extract a problematic tooth at her dentist’s office, Grant’s wife suggested pulling her own tooth to save her money. Grant took matters into his own hands and visited YouTube and found videos on how to extract teeth. After viewing instructional videos on teeth extraction, Grant believed he was capable enough to perform oral surgery on his wife.

He fashioned a surgical suction using a plastic straw, duct tape and a vacuum. He cleaned and sterilized his own rusted extraction forceps with soda, tin foil and rubbing alcohol. His patient prep included laying down white rolled paper onto their living room recliner, strapping an ice pack to his wife’s cheek, while his wife was draped in a blue hospital gown. Grant even wore gloves for infection control. To help with pain, Grant applied benzocaine to the tooth in hopes to keep with wife from experiencing any discomfort.

The couple commences on the surgical procedure with what seems to be a homemade scalpel with homemade suction ready in hand. By doing this tooth extraction at home, the Hearn family is saving $175 as supplies and prep only cost them $10.

Though the utilization of instructional videos online can be beneficial to everyone, there are some things that should still be performed by trained professionals. Dentistry requires accredited training, completion of competencies, and the successful passing of varies licensure and board exams. It is advised that everyone seeks professional treatment for oral health care needs that are beyond brushing, flossing, rinsing, and simple primary teeth extractions.

Have you seen any interesting dental stories in the news or media? Have you heard of any strange dental care performed at home? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

~Jay Banez, Marquette ’16, electronic editor

Jay Banez

Jay Banez is one of ASDA's electronic editors. Originally from Las Vegas, Jay is a D4 at Marquette School of Dentistry. Jay is also the Media & Communications Chair for #MarquetteASDA. You can catch him walking around school occasionally with his camera in hand, posting to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. These efforts helped lead Marquette to its Ideal ASDA Chapter title at the 2014 Gold Crown Awards.

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1 Comment

  1. This has bad idea written all over it. Trying to do your own dental work can lead to a multitude of issues.

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