Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye

It's no secret that I really, really, really dislike dentists.  A great majority of them are just downright con-artists.  Granted not ALL of them are con-artists, but I would be willing to wager a bet that the majority are, or at least half of them are.  Did I mention that I dislike them????

In my childhood I had a dreadful dentist.  When he would fill cavities it would hurt.  My mother insisted that it wasn't supposed to hurt & she told the dentist to make sure he was numbing properly before drilling.  So this sadistic pig injected the needle into my gum & wiggled it all around, then removed & repeated several times, causing even more pain than ever before, insisting that my mother insisted that he do so.  I can still remember how much he enjoyed that moment.  And I can still feel my blood pressure rise when I recall that moment. 

I think it was after that incident that we were officially done with said dentist.  He was a children's dentist & I am the youngest in my family.  I'm sure my sister & brother were old enough to go to a regular dentist at that point & possibly already had, I'm not sure.  But I do recall my mother asking her dentist if he would be willing to make an exception & take me as a patient.  And he agreed.  Now I never had any issues with that dentist.  He even repaired a filling that the evil dentist had done & had been hurting me for years.  But one time when I was an adult I went to the other dentist in his office & was told I had 2 cavities.  And he insisted I needed white fillings.  Looking back I'm not sure I'm convinced I had cavities, knowing what I know now (but didn't know back then).  More on that later.........

At some point my mother switched to another dentist.  I think it was regarding her dentist not wanting to wear gloves, or not changing into new gloves when he entered the room or something like that.  And so I went to her new dentist.  I didn't have dental insurance back then, so I had to pay cash so I didn't go very often, averaged about every 5 years or so.  I was never told that I had any cavities while going to that dentist, so I do think he's an honest dentist.  But after those last 2 cavities I went on a mission to REALLY brush my teeth well & I guess I was damaging my gums.  And this dentist could've told me that early on but instead waited many years to tell me for some reason.  That had upset me, but at least he was honest. 
It was during this time that I learned something horrible about dentists.  I had a co-worker that I was friends with.  And he had this horrendous toothache.  He knew it was a cavity.  He called his dentist only to find that his dentist was on vacation.  Since it was an emergency they referred him to another dentist.  So my friend goes to this other dentist & the dentist tells him he has TWELVE cavities.  So my friend leaves & waits, suffering all the while, for his own dentist to return from vacation.  And of course his dentist confirms that he only has ONE cavity.  Prior to this I never realized that dentists can simply lie & say you have a cavity when you actually don't.  And I came to realize it wasn't an isolated event as I listened to other people talking about their visits to dentists over the years.

When I met my husband he said he had a really great dentist & so I started going to that dentist.  And at this point in my life I finally had dental insurance.  I did have a couple of cavities while seeing this dentist, & I did have a tissue graft done for gum damage, but overall he was a very honest dentist.  None of us ever had reason to suspect him of being dishonest.  My husband knew him so well that he actually came to our wedding!!  And then at some point, after we married, we ended up with an insurance that he didn't accept & so we started venturing out into other dentists.  When we finally did get an insurance that we were sure he would accept we called, only to find that he had moved out of state! 

We've been to several dentists in these past few years & most of them have been absolutely dreadful.  One place I went to charged for a deep cleaning, but once I learned what a deep cleaning is I realized that's not at all what they did.  They also insisted that I urgently needed THREE crowns (I never returned to have crowns or anything else done)--this was at least 6 or 7 years ago & no dentists since have ever mentioned the need for ANY crowns.  They also tried to bill the insurance repeatedly, trying to receive multiple payments.  They also tried to bill us for what the insurance had already paid them for.  I'm pretty sure there was more they did wrong, but I can't remember fully.  They were by far the worst I've dealt with in my adult life.  And the guy that owns it & has his name listed on it owns a ton of offices in tons of cities around here.  I wish I knew how to report the fraud they are committing & shut him down for good.

A couple of years ago we switched once again.  This time to an office owned by a Christian dentist.  A friend of mine knows him personally.  I was skeptical but ended up being VERY pleased with this dentist office BUT then our insurance changed & they didn't accept our new insurance. 

We actually had a really hard time finding a dentist that would accept the current insurance.  But then we found one, people at hubby's work go there & are pleased.  I can't remember the details of hubby's visit but he never finished going back, he seemed skeptical that they were being honest.  I was aware that I had 2 cavities & they said I had 4.  I cannot find the other 2 that they say I have.  They also insisted on a deep cleaning & that they needed to put an antibiotic gel in my gums & that the antibiotic gel stays in your blood stream for 3 weeks.  (I have a very long history of antibiotic-overuse in my lifetime, starting in infancy & I do believe antibiotics are killing me slowly, every time I take them I end up with some horrible problem that I then have to resolve, so I was adamant about not having this done for this reason)  They did insist that my 4 cavities were very, very tiny & that I had nothing to worry about.  Of course they make the same amount of money per cavity no matter the size. I never went back to have any work done there. 

I came home irritated & disgusted & ordered this book.  I had looked at it in the past & considered buying it, but now I was really ready.  The title is slightly misleading I must admit.  It's written by a dentist & she believes that modern dentistry is taking the wrong approach at just sitting back & fixing damaged teeth but yet doing nothing to prevent the damaged teeth.  She believes that dentists should be educators.  She admits that most dentists feel that they wouldn't make as much money, but she doesn't agree & gives her reasoning for that extensively in the book.

She also mentions that in the past, in the 60s & 70s I believe she said, that dentists made more when cavities were larger.  Reflecting back on the dentist of my childhood, I had A LOT of [supposed] cavities while going to him & the fillings are HUGE.  I never once had a toothache.  There is just no way that I could've had cavities that large, if I had a cavity at all.  I do believe that at least some, possibly all, of those cavities were bogus.  But of course none of them were as large as the fillings indicate.  I now believe he made such big fillings just to get even more money.  What a total scum bag.

Anyways, back to the book.  The book goes into a lot of discussion on the whys behind her recommended protocol, & I'm not going to get into all of that here in my blog.  And she does advocate using some fluoride, sodium fluoride.  She says there are some newer forms of fluoride being used now that she does not advocate at all, she believes they are harmful health-wise.  But she does also acknowledge  that some people refuse to use fluoride & she does provide options for that.

Here is her protocol:
1) rinse with Closys--this neutralizes an acidic mouth which will harden the teeth (teeth in an acidic environment are softer) so that when you brush you don't damage them or the enamel.
2) brush--she recommends the plain old crest toothpaste, which does contain fluoride (I personally don't use fluoride--I use a toothpaste by Desert Essence with neem oil & tea tree oil)
3) rinse with Listerine--the plain old fashioned one, no fancy flavors--this kills off bad bacteria in the mouth (also rinse your tooth brush with the Listerine to kill germs)
4) rinse with a low dose sodium fluoride rinse, she recommends ACT, the plain old fashioned one, no fancy newer ones (again, I don't use fluoride & she does recommend using a xylitol rinse if you don't want to use fluoride)  I use the Spry xylitol rinse
5) consume xylitol candies & gum throughout the day (I have to admit I rarely follow this step)
* She says she doesn't feel flossing is as important as these other steps.  I've personally always been really big on flossing, but I did switch over to the water pik a couple of years ago or so & I use it almost every night (I do occasionally forget).  I LOVE my water pik & do recommend it highly.  I use it after brushing but before rinsing with Listerine & Spry because I don't want to wash out the rinses.

Ok, so it was back in March that I went to see the dentist.  I came home & ordered this book either that day or the next day.  When the book arrived I quickly bought the rinses I needed ("swishes" according to my 4 year old) & began this twice a day everyday like she recommends.  The result?  As of last week I have reversed one of my cavities.  The other cavity is still visible, but it was larger than the one I already reversed, so I'm hopeful that if I give it more time it will eventually reverse also.  The book claims that it can be done & also that it will be done faster if you choose to use fluoride, which I am not using. 

Overall I am very satisfied & recommend the book highly.  The book does give a lot more information regarding how & why the protocol works.  So if you are interested in that please do read the book.

EDITED TO ADD: we have now also reversed a cavity in our son. He had a cavity in one of his molars. My son denied any pain & since its a baby tooth I was willing to wait & see what we could do on our own. It clearly says on the listerine bottle that its for ages 12 & up so my son doesn't use listerine, but he uses the closys & then brushes (a non-fluoride gluten free kids toothpaste), & then he rinses & then uses the xylitol rinse. I am so very happy that we were able to reverse his cavity!!!

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