Just before COVID-19 started, my regular dentist, who is not a holistic dentist, diagnosed a small cavity. I asked if it was possible to try to heal it since I’ve heard that’s possible when they’re small. He totally dismissed me and got an attitude, telling me that I was eventually going to lose the tooth if I didn’t get it taken care of. Well, now I can’t even go into the office and get it done because this is apparently not an emergency but I’m thinking about revisiting my idea—that maybe I could be using my time to try to heal the cavity since I really can’t do anything else with it right now anyway. Is there a chance a holistic dentist could help with this? Or is there maybe something I could be trying at home in the meantime?
I’m sorry you had such a frustrating experience. It’s always better when dentists explain their reasonings so patients can make good decisions. Our teeth are in a constant state of flux. Minerals come and go from our teeth all the time. When the environment is acidic, they lose the minerals that keep them strong. As that environment is neutralized, they’ll pick up minerals from your saliva and become fortified again. Fluoride is helpful in this process because it serves as a gap-filler of sorts, fortifying your teeth without requiring the “perfect” environment to do so.
Demineralized Spots are “Pre-Cavities”
Decay can’t set in on a fortified tooth. It’s opportunistic. It waits for a weak or demineralized spot to appear and then takes hold in that. This in mind, you can refortify a demineralized spot and make a tooth strong again. You can’t, however, regrow enamel or tooth structure that already has decay. This is why many dentists refer to demineralized spots as “pre-cavities.” Correcting it isn’t a matter of babying the tooth. It genuinely requires altering your oral health. You need more calcium, phosphorus, or fluoride, as well as the need to nuke acidity. It’s easier said than done. Most people can’t change their oral ecology and environment on a dime like that, and oftentimes the weak spot is already past the tipping point before it’s caught. That’s why demineralized spots almost always become cavities.
A Holistic Dentist Can Try to Remineralize
If you’re feeling generally well and the tooth isn’t showing any signs of infection, this isn’t a dental emergency that requires immediate treatment and there’s no harm in at least trying to remineralize the tooth. Again, this only has the potential to help if you’ve got a demineralized spot, not a cavity. However, since you do have some time to work with it at home right now, you can focus on revamping your routine to support optimal oral health.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Brush after every meal.
- Don’t sip on beverages other than water or snack throughout the day (it can increase acidity and feed bacteria).
- Eat a healthy diet to ensure your body has the building blocks necessary for your teeth and gums.
- Use a fluoridated toothpaste and ask your dentist if additional supplements are right for you.
- Monitor the tooth. If it starts hurting or showing signs of infection, treatment shouldn’t be delayed.
You can also call a holistic dentist in your area to see if they can provide you with some tooth mousse. This has had some success in remineralizing the tooth.
This blog is sponsored by Des Moines Dentist Dr. Phelan Thomas.