For all too many people, a visit to the dentist is a “white knuckle” experience. Many patients mention that they hate going to the dentist but “it’s nothing personal, Doctor.” The dental experience involves a great many factors for the fearful patient. We can think of the antiseptic smell upon entering the reception room. The whine of the dental drill can really separate the men from the boys. The apprehension mounts as the patient is taken into a small treatment room, covered with a drape, and promptly laid flat. He is surrounded by uniformed people coming at him with foreign objects to violate that important psychological space, the mouth.
This fearful patient is most likely a fearful person in general. What better way to support him than with homeopathy. Gelsemium is the number one remedy for fear of the dentist. A dose taken the morning of the procedure, is sufficient to turn the dentist into a friend rather than the invader with the painful tools. Children especially (or adults acting like children) become calm and mellow, their relaxed state contributing to easy, gentle work for the dentist. But before the patient even decides to come to the dentist, he experiences dental pain.
Dental pain is, above all, an attention getter. The best-laid plans come to a sudden halt. The patient becomes remorseful and berates himself for not going to the dentist earlier, when the first slight twinge was felt. As he spends the night pacing the floor, two little words that can make a wimp out of Superman flash in and out of his mind—ROOT CANAL! This acute situation can happen to any of us, but there are certain methods to stack the cards in favor of the patient. The most obvious is to be a regular patient and have small problems taken care of before they become emergency situations, so the need for a root canal probably never arises. If you become a partner with your dentist in the total care of your mouth, most problems can be prevented or reduced to minor therapy. Treatment expenses can also be reduced to a minimum.
A root canal simply cleans and shapes the hollow center of a tooth, which is normally filled with blood, nerve and lymph tissue called the pulp. This tissue can be damaged by trauma such as a blow to the mouth, or deep decay can cause bacterial infection inside the tooth. As part of the root canal, a special filling is placed in this hollow center to prevent further infection. The best way to prevent the need for a root canal is through hygiene to protect against early caries or tooth decay. Homeopathy can help strengthen teeth to prevent decay: the tissue salt Calc. phos. 6x will strengthen teeth just as it can strengthen bones weakened by osteoporosis.
Once an infection arises, it’s too late to self-medicate to cure the infection; you will need to see your dentist for the abscess. But homeopathy can certainly help with the pain. To find the right remedy, we need the sensation (“it feels like …”) and the associated symptoms. For instance, Chamomilla is an excellent remedy for the oversensitive patient who fears pain in general and faints or screams at the thought of pain; it is especially good for children and nervous patients. The pain is pulsating, jerking or drawing and feels worse from cold, from a draft, from drinking coffee or other hot drinks, from chewing, from pressure, and from the warmth of the bed or the room. Merc. sol. or Merc. viv. is good for drawing, pressing, tearing pain, worse at night, from cold air, in bed, from damp weather, and during eating. It goes with involuntary flow of saliva and swelling of the face, abscess of the roots of the teeth, and nasal discharge. Many restless nights and vacation days have been saved by the timely application of the above remedies.
After your dentist places a filling, it’s not uncommon to have a period of great sensitivity and discomfort. Fortunately homeopathy can help the pulpal tissue return to normal health. For pain in the teeth after a filling, by far the most popular remedy is Arnica. The pain has a sensation of pulling in the teeth while eating, is worse from chewing, and a typical bruised, sore feeling, worse from being touched. Another valuable remedy is Hypericum, which has a typical drawing, electrical, tearing nerve pain, worse at night and when the person moves. Nux vomica is another valuable remedy with pain worse at night, especially around 3-4 a.m., from drinking cold drinks, and after eating. A homeopathic dentist can help make the choice for you, or you can routinely take Arnica after a tooth filling to save a lot of trouble.
A dentist skilled in homeopathy will amaze you with the results he obtains. The patient himself should always take a dose of Calendula ahead of time when extensive surgery is needed or if the patient is a slow healer. A dentist colleague of mine has told me that he can actually see the wounds granulating (starting to heal) right before his eyes when he pretreats with Calendula.
Phosphorus is ideal to prevent bleeding, especially in patients who tend to be easy bleeders (they are likely to be of the Phosphorus constitutional type as described in my August article on hypersensitive patients). Both Calendula and Phosphorus can be taken after the surgery too. Your homeopathic dentist will help you with bleeding problems, TMJ, abscesses (prevention and cure), premature tooth decay, slow dentition, etc. Be an informed patient and have the best of both worlds: homeopathy and modern dentistry!
The mercury controversy
Many countries in Europe have banned mercury fillings after clinical reports indicated that they are toxic and may lead to brain damage. But removal of the fillings is expensive, painful and time-consuming—plus the process itself can expose the patient to a dangerous level of mercury from the broken-up fillings.
Homeopathy can provide protection against mercury toxicity if you have to have your fillings removed. The toxic effects of mercury are well-known through the homeopathic provings conducted by Hahnemann, the father of homeopathy. In other words, mercury fillings are a problem for you if you have some of these symptoms:
- foul-smelling breath with metallic taste
- geographic tongue (changes on the tongue that resemble a map)
- imprints of teeth on the sides of the tongue
- recurrent canker sores or herpes sores in the mouth
- bleeding, receding gums with tendency to ulceration
- heavy salivation with intense thirst; tendency to wet the pillow at night with saliva
- abscessed teeth
- trembling tongue (the tongue quivers like a snake’s)
- recurrent pharyngitis (inflamed throat) with swollen glands
- recurrent colds, tendency to catch everything
- great sensitivity to warmth and cold, difficulty finding the right temperature
- brain fag and weak memory
- chills and fevers with night sweats
- volatile nature (mercurial, changeable, impulsive)
As always, prevention is the best treatment. If you need a new filling, ask your dentist for inorganic cement or porcelain. You will save yourself a lot of trouble!
The slow child, slow in teething
At age 12 many children have all their adult dentition (except for their third molar or wisdom teeth). However, the dentist sees many children who at age 14 or 15 have still not exfoliated all their primary or milk teeth. These children predictably had a delayed puberty and growth patterns and as babies were slow to walk and talk. Most of them belong to the homeopathic constitutional type Calcarea carbonicum (calcium carbonate or chalk, made from oyster shells). About half the babies born in the United States belong to this remedy type: they are chubby babies with a high birthweight and large heads. As children they crave ice cream, soft boiled eggs, milk, candy and pizza but feel poorly afterwards. They easily get out of breath especially going upstairs, tend to sweat profusely around the head and neck, and are often constipated, producing a copious bowel movement once every several days. Does this sound familiar for many of our children?
Supplements for dental care
Statistics show that one in four people in the U.S. will lose all their teeth to periodontal disease by age 60, and 90% will suffer from it during their lifetimes. To reverse this national disaster, Coenzyme Q10 could be a lifesaver. Millions of Japanese people take it on a daily basis to lose weight naturally, protect against a heart attack, lower high blood pressure, and above all for a dramatic effect in healing diseased and bleeding gums. There is no toxicity, and results can be seen in as little as 14 days with the recommended daily dose of 50 to 60 mg. Bleeding and weak gums can also be strengthened by the daily intake of vitamin C (up to 4000 mgs). You want healthy teeth and gums? Time to rush to your health food store and ask for these two items: they will do wonders for your smile!