Pulling Your Own Tooth?

Basketball star Reggie Evans photo loose tooth that he pulls

Basketball Star Reggie Evans after he pulled his own tooth.

As a dentist, I’ve heard lots of stories from patients. And I’ve seen lots of YouTube videos where people perform dentistry on themselves. And I have, on occasion, had to treat a patient in pain in my practice in Orange, CT after they attempted dentistry on themselves. So this incident piqued my interest when one of my patients told me about it.

On April 6, 2013, Brooklyn Nets player Reggie Evans was setting up for a rebound and was headbutted by an opponent. The headbutt significantly loosened one of his front teeth. Then several seconds later, he pulled his own tooth, and placed it on the coaches table. The photo above shows Reggie shortly after he pulled the tooth when he began to bleed from the extraction site.

Within one minute of the incident, he fists bumps another player, and then jumps back in the game. Below is the YouTube video from the incident:


Athletes Behaving Badly?

No one can dispute that Reggie was demonstrating a 100% commitment to his team and to his sport (at least in this instance). But does he set a precedent that pulling a tooth or doing dentistry on yourself is “cool” given the way many look up to and emulate professional athletes?

vice grips used to pull teeth if you do it yourself

Unsterilized vice grips from my basement.

As I mentioned before, on multiple occasions, I have treated patients who thought it would be either “funny” or “cool” to pull their own teeth or do other dental procedures. They’ve told me about the vice grips or pliers they used.

In all of those instances, the patients ended up in severe pain and suffered significant complications. One patient even pushed a piece of his tooth into his sinus and required invasive sinus surgery to have it removed!

Reggie most likely sought professional dental care after this incident. We’ll never know what complications he suffered. So, in spite of the fact that Reggie looked cool pulling his own tooth, it is not recommended!

What will Reggie do next? He will most likely need a dental implant at some point to replace his missing tooth. But we also recommend that he not “behave badly” and set a dangerous example for NBA fans.


  1. NHL hockey players get hit in the mouth fairly regularly and end up spitting out their own teeth. When Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin was asked if he minded having had his front tooth knocked out, he replied, “Are you kidding? Have you seen the size of my contract?” I guess they just don’t have the fear of dentistry that I do. I wonder if he will feel the same way when he is in his 50’s and 60’s and is losing jaw bone density from losing teeth.

    • Jennifer,
      That is an excellent point you make about hockey players. They too “glorify” it the way Reggie Evans did. And just like Reggie, after the game, they get immediate expert dental/medical care, which is not visible to the viewer. The viewer can often think that they can get away with it, but then end up suffering pretty bad consequences.