Cavitations and My Dental Health
I keep trying to write a comprehensive blog post about dental health but I make them too broad and get bogged down in the details so instead I will write about my own current dental health and try to keep from getting too big.
I see a holistic dentist who understands about the importance of removing dental amalgams safely. In fact that is why I started to see him in the first place. I wanted someone who understood the risks involved in having and removing mercury from the mouth. At this point I still have most of my amalgams. I got 6 of them over 20 years ago as a teenager when I had braces. Not nearly as many as some people but still far more than zero. When my younger daughter was a infant my dentist noticed decay under one of my fillings. He felt that I really should get that one replaced. I was in pain from it but afraid of the effect on her from disrupting the mercury. I waited till she was 6 months old and then I got both of the amalgams in that quadrant of my jaw replaced. I shared in my story of my daughters experience with GAPS that she changed dramatically within 48 hours of that filling removal. (2 years on GAPS: Part 3) Getting any other fillings removed while she was nursing was out of the question. Since I firmly believe that full term nursing is best for children I have kept it in the back of my head for later on when she weans but done my best to address our health issues with that off the table.
At some point in my quest to recover my health I came across the idea that root canals can cause profound health problems. I read many stories of people recovering their health after the removal of their root canaled teeth. I felt almost disappointed that I don’t have any root canals to remove to hopefully restore my health. Then several months ago I learned about cavitations. Cavitations are what happens at the base of a root canaled tooth and causes so much trouble for so many people, but also I learned that they can happen where a tooth has been extracted. Cavitations are a hole in bone. It can happen at the place where a tooth has been extracted if the extraction did not include the ligament that holds the tooth in place. It isn’t fully understood why this happens but in some people the body does not recognize that the tooth is gone and fill in it’s empty spot with bone like it should. This can lead to an infection and osteonecrosis, aka bone death. It is common for people with this problem to not have any localized problems in their mouth or jaw but more general systemic problems that don’t point directly to the mouth.
When I first heard about cavitations I felt intuitively that this was likely something that was an issue for me. When I was a young teen I had my 4 premolars extracted to make room for my adult teeth to come in as a part of the process of getting braces. I really hated my braces and did not comply with the treatment like I should have (sorry mom and dad). Two of those spaces in my mouth never filled in with teeth. The gaps left are not big enough for a tooth but they are significant gaps. I also had my wisdom teeth extracted. Those are a very common location for cavitatioins. My gums occasionally over the years have gotten very sore and inflamed in the place where my wisdom teeth should be. I have always wondered about that but never knew what questions to even ask. Learning about cavitations made so much make sense. I went to my dentist last falland asked him if he thought it could be an issue for me. He really didn’t know but suggested I get it checked out. He just so happens to be one of the few dentists in the country with a Cavitat. This is a machine that can create an image of cavitations. Cavitations are generally invisible or very difficult to see on x-rays but this machine somehow can show all but the smallest cavitations. I really wanted to know if I had any but I didn’t have my calendar with me at the appointment and once I was home I completely forgot to call and set up an appointment for getting that imaging done.
This past winter I got sick at Christmas time. I assumed this was because I did too much. Pretty typical for a mom of young kids to get sick at the holidays. I have a suppressed immune system thanks to Lyme so I figured I had just done too much. I did not recover quickly at all and it seemed like as soon as I recovered I would get sick again. The winter of ’10-’11 I felt much better and had assumed it had something to do with the colder weather, but I got no such relief this past winter. Then about 2 months ago I went in to get my teeth cleaned. Quickly the hygenist became very concerned about the state of my teeth. She kept exclaiming about how strange it was that they were so bad. I was a couple of months overdue for a cleaning but she said that didn’t explain it at all. I have always had exemplary gum health but now it was really terrible. As she examined my mouth she said she could find a focal point to the problem. She said “it is like there is an infection right here”. She even pinpointed it to one side of one tooth. That tooth, by the way, had the gums completely receded from it and she could actually reach her instruments completely underneath it. (eeek!) My gums historically haven’t bled but at this appointment they were bleeding terribly. She took an x-ray of the tooth expecting to find an absess or some other problem but there was nothing unusual to be seen. I heard her asking the other hygenist in the office if she could see anything on my x-raw. She was just baffled as to what was going on in my mouth. She called the dentist in and he examined my teeth and gums and said that I needed to come back for a deep cleaning on 5 teeth. This did not sound fun. They would be working under the gum line and I would be numbed for it. All of this talk about a potential infection made me think cavitations. That tooth that she pinpointed the problem spot was right next to the space where my missing premolar should be. It certainly made me wonder if a cavitation could be causing this problem in my mouth (and possibly my systemic problems as well). I really regretted having not made that appointment for a cavitat image now. We talked about what might be going on in my mouth and the possibility that it was a result of a cavitations. He agreed that it was possible but we needed some proof before he could advise me on how to proceed. I made an appointment for a month (the soonest I could get in) to get the deep cleaning and to get the cavitat imaging done.
In the meantime I was determined to heal my gums if at all possible. I was both glad for the month to work with and worried about this infection getting worse. I read up on holistic ways to heal my gums and I tried several of them. I purchased a water pic and immediately began using it nightly with salt water. I also swished with and swallowed Lugol’s Iodine, coloidal silver and Defense + essential oil blend. In addition I did poultices of white oak bark, myrrh gum and goldenseal. Each of these was touted to heal gum disease in a single application. I did 3 nights of white oak bark, 2 with myrrh gum and one with goldenseal. I would sleep with the small poultice tucked into my cheek by the problem tooth. They all tasted terrible but I was desperate. I also increased my intake of Fermented Cod Liver Oil. It is known to have profound effects on tooth health. I’m not very scientific when I am working on healing. I have a tendency of throwing everything I can at the problem. I’m never really certain what worked but I get better which is the real goal.
After a month I went back to the dentist. I hadn’t had any localized pain before my previous appointment (this also amazed the hygienist) so I wasn’t sure if I had healed anything with all of my work, but I did know that my gums were no longer bleeding so I took that as a good sign. I told the hygenist how hard I had been working and asked her to look at my teeth before numbing me and beginning her deep cleaning work. She was amazed at the difference. After just one month of my own treatment my gums had healed to the point where she only had to do a deep cleaning on one tooth and for that one she couldn’t go nearly as deep as she had previously. She no longer could reach underneath it and none of the other teeth were candidates for deep cleaning at all. She also only used a topical anesthetic instead of an injection of Novocaine like we expected me to need. I was very happy at the improvement but I did not believe that I had gotten to the root of the issue. I was sure that I had a cavitation in that spot and perhaps some others and that true healing could not happen till they were addressed. I really felt like I was just holding the infection at bay and not healing it with my constant treatments.
After my tooth was deep cleaned I proceeded to the room with the cavitat. We looked at all 4 quadrants of my mouth. The woman running the machine seemed surprised at what she saw in the space where my premolar should have been and went back and redid the test there to make sure it was right. It showed a very obvious cavitation. Also two of my wisdom tooth spaces have cavitations as well. The dentist did a couple other tests that double check the findings of the cavitat before he would say it was truly a problem. Everything confirmed that these cavitations were there. He knows how lousy my health is and how much I want to get better. He was ready to schedule me for cavitation surgery the next week but I asked him about ozone therapy. I knew that many dentists use it in cavitations as a way mop up any pathogenic bacteria that may have been missed in the manual removal of it. Some also inject it into small cavitations instead of operating on them to hopefully prevent the need for surgery. It turned out that he was going to be learning how to use ozone and purchasing a machine for using it in about 10 days. He wanted me to wait till he had that machine before he did my procedure so we again had to schedule almost a month out. In the end it is pretty good timing since my procedure will be on the first Monday after all of our school year obligations are completed. That will make it much easier for me to get the rest I will need after it. But of course I had to withstand another month of feeling lousy with that hope dangled just in front of me that perhaps there is an answer for my poor health.
The surgery will take about 1.5 hours. He will numb me with an injected anesthetic and then cut open my gums down to my jaw. He will then remove all of the dead and diseased tissue and close my gums back up after injecting ozone into the area. I don’t know much more than that about the procedure. The woman who runs the cavitat machine said that it really didn’t seem to be a bad procedure and was much easier than a tooth extraction. I’m hoping she is right. It still doesn’t sound very fun. She did advise me to do one side of my mouth at a time since I will be very sore recovering but I decided that I don’t want to do this twice so I’m going to just deal with being miserable and unable to eat much but broth and custard for a few days.
As I write this I am just 4 days away from my procedure. I have a mixture of feelings about it. Nervousness and fear about the discomfort of the procedure (I get to be awake) and the recovery. But also hope that this will allow me to heal in a more profound way and again have energy to do the things I want to do. I am tired of feeling like an old lady when I am only 40. I would like to have the strength to stand when the congregation stands at church, to walk the 5 or so blocks to the park with my children instead of driving our car, and to audition for and sing in a professional choir once again. I have no way of knowing if my hopes will be fulfilled or not. I have talked to some with profound healing from this type of procedure and with others who experienced no noticeable change in their lousy health.
So please join me in praying and lifting up positive thoughts for healing.
Pray also that I will have a heart that accepts it if healing is not what this surgery will bring to me.
In either case it is the next major step in my journey toward health.
I have written about my experience with my cavitation surgery here: Cavitation Surgery: My experience and Update from 13 days post Cavitation Surgery
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