Healing my cavitiesSeptember 17th, 2009 |
This post is sponsored by UnitedHealthOne Dental. *None of the advice below is to be considered expert advice. This post only relates my own experiences, results may vary and your ass could wind-up dead. Do what you gotta do.*
Like most college students I am in debt, have little income, no insurance and ineligible for any substantial medical assistance such as medicaid. I’m pretty fit health-wise and rarely get sick, so the lack of health coverage hasn’t been truly troublesome until recently. I’ve been having dental issues recently and I’m going to share the least serious of them with you.
I have four cavities, two of which were visually confirmed by a dentist, the other two I pointed out but for some reason the dentist couldn’t see them.
My cavities are at:
2-Occlusal (center of the cusps)
3-Lingual (tongue side)
2 and 31 are the most prominent (and the ones noticed by the dentist) with cavities large enough to stick a needle into. 4 is hardly noticeable but a cavity here is more aesthetically detrimental than the others. 3 might not really be a cavity, it is a slight valley reaching from the gum to the crown and looks as if etched into the tooth by a dental tool.
Upon seeing 2 and 31 the dentist wanted to schedule me for fillings. I was less than pleased to hear this for reasons that may be unexpected. First, I have more pressing dental issues, which she, not being an oral surgeon, could not perform. Any kind of dental work that didn’t address those other issues first could put me at risk. Second, fillings for cavities the size of mine boggles my mind.
I only had the cavities (at least at a size that was noticeable) for a month. They were most likely due to my heavy use of hydrogen peroxide to prevent infection from my other dental issues.
I don’t advocate using hydrogen peroxide except in extreme cases. I weakens teeth and damages gums. Use clove oil instead. A little clove oil in some cotton balls or a peeled clove placed right next to the tooth for ten to fifteen minutes will relive most of the pain and disinfect the area. In my case, I didn’t have cloves or clove oil, I used salt free garlic seasoning instead. Chewing parsley or mint afterward will rid your breath of the smell.
Anyway, dentists stance on treating cavities by filling them seems crazy to me. There has to be a better way right? Let me throw some rough numbers at you. Half of all teeth in the US has had some sort of dental work done to them, half of all fillings performed are on teeth that have already been filled before. I feel that the dental system is broken. The dental profession doesn’t treat conditions, it treats symptoms, poorly.
My plan of action was/is to disregard the medical advice and to heal my cavities rather than fill them. I don’t want to have to seek a dentist every time my tooth rots around a filling and eventually have it removed. Wait did I say “heal” my cavities? No, I said heal my cavities with no funny quotation marks. Tooth enamel doesn’t grow and basically every person and dentist in the world will tell you that you cannot recover from cavities, the only solution is to get them filled. Okay that makes sense, but then what I don’t understand is why we are being sold toothpaste that is designed to make our teeth stronger. If these toothpastes make stronger teeth by hardening weakened enamel doesn’t that mean that the toothpaste is bonding with the tooth? These tooth strengthening toothpastes work by bonding minerals in the paste and in your saliva to the tooth. Enamel is made up almost entirely of minerals.
I thought that if you repeatedly deposited and bonded minerals on non-wear surfaces of the tooth, such as cavities, those deposited will create layers that will be thicker and thicker around the cavity until they eventually join up occluding the cavity. I was right and I’m not the first person to figure this out.
In about a month I have stopped the progression of 3, stopped the progression or maybe even healed started to heal 4, reduced the size of 2 down to maybe a third, and 31 is probably completely healed. 31 is progressing faster than the rest because as it is a lower tooth it is exposed to more saliva and the toothpaste doesn’t have to fight gravity to stay on the tooth. Now granted only the outer surface is remineralized, I’ll have to rely on dentin to reinforce the inside of the tooth after it recovers.
How am I doing this? To do this you need to do a few things:
First, stop any infection, monitor for any new infection and don’t mask infections by taking high doses of pain medication. Infections are dangerous and can easily kill you or at the very least do extensive damage to the tissues in your mouth, including the supporting bone. If you have an infection you can’t get rid of in a couple hours using antiseptic seek medical attention. The pounding headache and the difficulty opening your mouth should be an easy clue this is the right course of action.
Second, you need to stop the progression of the decay. Cavities aren’t directly created by bacteria or sugars, although reducing both will make your life easier, cavities are created by the acidic waste of bacteria feeding. A proper diet by itself, with no preventive care, will bring the number of cavities in a population down to .5% instead of the +45% it is for the US. However, we are in the US and a proper diet isn’t financially feasible. Lab animals in sterile environments never get cavities even with high sugar intakes, they aren’t infected with the acid creating bacteria. Again in the real world it is impossible to rid yourself of this bacteria. Even if you completely lose it, kiss someone or share a meal and you’ll get it back quick.
As a side note, non-infants kissing may actually be beneficial as it disrupts the bacterias ecosystem. Infants don’t need the premature infestation of bacteria.
So, you can’t get rid of the bacteria or its food but you can do something about the real problem, the acid. Increase the ph of your mouth using baking soda or something. Any time your mouth is acidic there is nothing you can do to preserve your teeth.
Third, provide your teeth with nutrients. Your teeth need calcium, phosphorus and sodium. Your saliva should already have these. If you don’t produce enough saliva you’re screwed already, get chummy with a dentist. For the first three weeks I was using a fluoride toothpaste and apply with my finger to the cavities and letting it sit as long as possible never rinsing until I ate. I’ve been spitting a lot. The fluoride toothpaste was helping I guess but it was extremely slow and the remineralized area was weak and easily fell apart.
For the last week, I’ve been using a non-fluoride, novamin-based toothpaste. It has all the nutrients my teeth need and if I accidentally swallow too much the worst that can happen is some diarrhea. I am seeing dramatic results in only a few hours. My only complaint is that it is very runny and difficult to keep it applied to the upper teeth. A nightguard might help with that.
Lastly, to pull this off you will need patience. It will be weeks before even 31 is at an acceptable level and I will still be cautionary even after that.