One time while traveling for business and a visit with friends, I had a flossing mishap.
I accidentally dislodged a filling.
In this article, we thought you might find it helpful to hear our thought process around the situation and how I addressed this dental difficulty while we were away from home.
Before we jump into all of that, I’ll explain the mistake that caused the problem in the first place.
(If you want to skip the full story, scroll to the end of this article to find a brief summary of the takeaway gems.)
Will here. A while back, after everything we learned during the Healthy Mouth World Summit, I decided to have some way-too-old fillings replaced. You can read more about that dental experience in our article, “Why conscious sedation may NOT be in your best interest“.
During this process, the dentist determined that a combination of inlays and onlays would be the best replacements for some of the larger fillings that had failed.
Inlays and onlays are like partial crowns, but smaller. You see, once a filling gets too big (or affects more than one surface of the tooth), it’s less likely to stay intact over time.
So, some dentists elect to install inlays instead of creating a full artificial crown that covers the whole top of the tooth. Using inlays and onlays allows them to leave more of the natural tooth structure intact.
Fast forward to our trip to the mainland–here I was flossing unconsciously and ‘snap’, the onlay (filling) broke loose.
Learn from my mistake…
Lesson #1: If you have a crown or any type of filling between teeth (where my onlay is placed): when flossing, never pull the taught floss upwards.
To avoid the mistake that I made, you have to instead do this funky ‘floss downwards and then pull out the floss from the side’ technique.
If you’d like more tips on flossing, feel free to check out our article, “How to avoid the 4 most common flossing mistakes“, and our video tutorial, “How to floss and NOT damage your gums” where I demonstrate this floss out the side technique.
If you need a little motivation to get started or keep up with flossing, you might find it interesting to watch our video, “WHY is flossing such a critically important oral hygiene habit?“, and read our article, “Does Flossing Really Lower My Risk of a Heart Attack?“.
Back to my story…
I immediately grabbed my bottle of HealThy Mouth Blend, put a couple of drops on my finger, and popped the onlay back into place.
Unfortunately, the damage was done; the filling had broken loose and was no longer cemented to the tooth.
Thankfully, it was still in one piece, so I was pretty sure a dentist could just reinstall it.
Figuring out my options…
Question 1: Get this done while on vacation or wait until we got home?
We weren’t scheduled to be back home for over a week. If I chose not to do anything until then, at every meal for the next week, the inlay might come loose. Then I would risk damaging other teeth by biting down on it.
Another risk was the possibility of accidentally swallowing it.
Plus, since the underlying tooth nerves were accustomed to being covered, anytime I ate or drank anything, there was significant nerve stimulation (which is my way of re-framing dental pain).
So, I decided to get this restoration put back into its place during the trip.
Once I made this decision, my mind shifted to question 2.
Question #2: How to find a dentist I’d trust to work in my mouth while away from home?
To make sure this was fixed in a way that would leave me feeling satisfied, we came up with three main requirements for the prospective dental team.
Requirement #1: The dentist must use ozone gas.
Given the circumstances, I knew I had to find a dentist who used ozone gas in their office.
When a dentist installs a filling, inlay, onlay or crown, there is a very real risk of them trapping ‘thug bugs’ under the surface.
These microbes thrive in low-oxygen environments (like under a filling), so it can spell trouble if the dentist doesn’t ensure that the area is really, really clean.
Also, since this filling was loose enough to pop off while I was flossing, I knew that bacteria had already gotten under it.
Some of our dentist friends have told us that it’s unfortunately very common for dentists to unwittingly leave some decayed tissue in the site under a filling. Once the thug bugs are ‘sealed in’, they continue to undermine the health of the tooth.
In our dental research over the years, we’ve found that ozone gas is the best tool for thoroughly cleansing the region.
Unlike the liquid materials that traditional dentistry tends to use to cleanse a tooth, since ozone is a gas, it can travel down into the tiny pores of our teeth.
Plus, because ozone is very active oxygen, it is THE remedy for getting rid of oxygen-averse microbes.
Requirement #2: The office must be mercury-safe.
Personally, I don’t want to step foot inside a dental office that either still uses mercury amalgam or that doesn’t take the necessary precautions when removing mercury fillings.
Like our friend and mentor Dr. David Kennedy shared with us many years ago, general dentists are not sufficiently educated about the toxicity in the industry.
So, I had to find an office where I could avoid inadvertently inhaling mercury vapor during my appointment.
Requirement #3: The dentist must have a “helper’s heart”.
We believe that we teach others how we would like to be treated by them.
Here’s how that relates to being a new patient in a dental office. We must approach these situations consciously and clearly so we can start the relationship on the right foot.
As you may guess, we have plenty of opinions about the dental industry, particularly when it comes to how we want (and don’t want) to be treated as patients.
So, we needed to find a dentist who was willing to hear our concerns, honor our requests, and potentially adjust his or her office practices to meet our needs.
Finding the right dentist…
I had heard of this cool website called OraWellness.com that shares information to help folks find a good dentist who meets the above criteria. 🙂
All jokes aside, I literally started by pulling up our article titled, “Helpful resources to find a qualified dentist to assist you“. From there, I looked up the various databases in that article.
I found one dentist in the area that was listed as mercury-safe. I called the office and found that they had no availability all week.
Second, it was time to find a dentist who used ozone.
After searching both the internet and the IAOMT database, I found a dentist (located about 1.5 hours away) who looked like the best option.
However, like so many holistic dentists, I found out that he was booked solid for the next 2 weeks. Zero chance of me getting in there.
At the encouragement of my wisest counsel, Susan, I turned to our local network. I asked a dear, wise friend in the area for the details on his dentist.
I figured maybe I could at least find someone who met my third requirement (finding a dentist with a helper’s heart).
In the meantime, Susan called a local naturopath who uses ozone. She asked them if they could recommend a dentist.
They were very kind and suggested we call the same dentist that our friend had recommended. There’s the light on the path!
It turned out that this dentist had an opening the very next morning!
Prepping for the appointment…
First off, if you’re planning to take advantage of the dentist-offered numbing agents while getting dentistry work done, be sure not to take any vitamin C that morning.
Vitamin C can make the anesthesia less effective, requiring more drugs and more time for the numbing to take effect (doubly bad). For more information on this, check out, “How to nutritionally protect yourself from x-ray damage“.
Also, if it’s your preference, it is possible to politely refuse the needle and instead ask to be given a few minutes to gather yourself. Breathing consciously can help prevent nerve sensations from getting the best of you.
Here’s an article if you’d like to explore how to use essential oils to help reduce dental pain and treatment anxiety.
I forgot to bring the homeopathic remedy hypericum with me. However, in these situations, Susan and I really like to have hypericum on hand because it helps to knock down any dental nerve hypersensitivity.
Once I arrived at the dental office…
I was relieved to discover that the office had just moved to this new location 2 days before my treatment. This meant that even if they did use mercury, at least the office wouldn’t be loaded with mercury vapor from years of improper handling of this toxin.
The second blessing was that I was their first appointment for the day and the dentist was a friendly person. He came out and greeted me, shook my hand, and asked me some general questions. He was very personable and kind, and definitely had a helper’s heart.
Quick side note: on the intake paperwork, they asked the question, “How can we help you today?” with a big blank space.
As you know, I’m not shy about using words, so I explained in detail what I wanted done. I didn’t hold back. I even ended with the statement, “… and I want you to do the work in my mouth as if I were a member of your family.”
Once in the dentist’s chair…
By this time, I already had a good feeling about the dentist.
So, when I was in the chair and the assistant was putting on the bib, I said to the team, “I’m a big fan of ‘ideal scenes’. So I’d like to share what I’d like from this visit.” I went on to again explain exactly what I wanted from the treatment.
The dentist listened patiently with a little astonishment and smile on his face. Once I was done, he said, “How did you know I use ozone?”
I explained that I didn’t and I was just expressing my desire. He was thrilled and explained that he uses ozone gas every day in his patient treatments. From there, we entered a fun, engaging dialogue on the benefits of ozone in dentistry.
He was able to pop out the onlay and clean it up. Then he ensured that no decay was left under the filling, he thoroughly cleansed everything with ozone gas, and he replaced the onlay. Other than the fun, engaging conversation, the whole procedure took maybe 15 minutes.
An important note…
I think it’s important to point out that I didn’t tell the dentist what we do for a living. I wanted to check out the dentist for myself and for our friend, so I didn’t want to be treated like a VIP.
That means that you can receive the same quality treatment from this dental team (provided that you honestly express your needs and desires).
As I was walking out, the dentist asked what I do for a living. I shared that I’m part of an online health and wellness community helping the world to navigate to greater oral health.
He asked, “OraWellness?”
It turns out that he knows an alternative practitioner who carries our products and who had shared them with him.
When I answered ‘yes’, he said, “I really like your Healthy Mouth Blend. I use it every morning. My friend Summer gave me some.”
That’s when I knew for sure that I was in the right place! We are truly blessed!
We continued our lively conversation, sharing the research that each of us is currently engaged in. It was such a precious opportunity to connect with yet another professional in the industry who really grasps the impact that our mouth has on the health of our body and whole being.
Dr. Tanner, thank you so much for your gentle nature, willingness to listen, and competence in holistic dentistry.
Also, a big thanks to Summer at Savor Your Health for sharing our products with your professional network!
After all was said and done, here are the lessons we learned from this experience:
- Floss consciously, especially while you’re away from home!
- Take a bottle of our Healthy Mouth Blend with you so you can manage any mouth stress during travel.
- Ask anyone you trust in the local area for a referral.
- Be willing to ping related resources (like naturopathic doctors in the area) to get a lead.
- Be ultra clear and write out what you want done (and don’t want done) for that treatment.
- Express your desires very clearly, politely, and resolutely, and remember that you are your own oral (and whole-body) health advocate.
If you really want to increase your ability to assess a prospective dental team, feel free to download our FREE resource guide, the OraWellness Guide to Safe Dentistry, in which we discuss:
- protocols for safe mercury amalgam filling removal
- questions about root canals and crowns
- a whole section on children’s dentistry
Download the OraWellness Guide to Safe Dentistry for free here.
If you ever need to get emergency dental work done while traveling, we hope this article helps you find and create a similar happy outcome.
Do you have a dental experience you’d like to share? What insights/lessons have you learned along your path? Please share in the comments below so we can all continue to learn from one another.
Helpful, Related Resources:
HealThy Mouth World Summit [expert interview product solution]
Why conscious sedation may NOT be in your best interest [article]
How to avoid the 4 most common flossing mistakes [article]
How to floss and NOT damage your gums [video tutorial]
WHY is flossing such a critically important oral hygiene habit? [video tutorial]
Does Flossing Really Lower My Risk of a Heart Attack? [article]
HealThy Mouth Blend [product solution]
How to safely remove ‘silver’ mercury fillings (without damaging your brain) [article]
Helpful resources to help you find a qualified dentist to to assist you [article]
IAOMT “Find a Practitioner” page [resource for finding a dentist]
7 Key Components of a ‘Dream Dentist’ [article]
How to nutritionally protect yourself from x-ray damage [article]
How to use essential oils to reduce dental appointment anxiety and pain [article]
OraWellness Guide to Safe Dentistry [FREE resource guidebook]
How to be your own oral (and whole body) health advocate [article]