When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

From L to R is our battery bank, inverter, and (for now) one charge controller for the first set of solar panels we installed. Marble the cat surveys Silver Oak as he connects things in the middle of the night.

Six weeks ago Silver Oak came down with a serious toothache that incapacitated him. That means it was really bad! He had stayed up the night before to finish connecting the newly installed solar panels. He was tired of high fuel bills to run the generator for hours every day, and the electrical work had to be done when the sun wasn’t shining on the panels. He finished at about 4:00am, and the next day his tooth attacked him.

The bad tooth was a broken-apart molar with huge fillings from his younger years. It had been sensitive for a few months and he hadn’t said anything (naughty!). It was just waiting to strike when his resistance was down from stress and lack of sleep. The infection and pain moved in with a vengeance.

We like to learn as much as possible about dealing with things like this ourselves during a time of non-crisis when there is also opportunity to go to a dentist if needed. Experience, skills, and knowledge are even more valuable than a stash of stuff, in our opinion. We recently purchased a DVD called “Alternatives to Dentists” by Doug Simons which gives many helpful instructions on how to deal with tooth issues when a dentist is not available (some of his teachings we don’t agree with but much is very helpful).

My dad helped install these peel & stick solar panels on the roof of our tiny house...more on them in another post

Using things we have on hand and previous experience, as well as Doug Simons’ teaching, we spent the next several days seeking the Lord’s wisdom for treating Silver Oak’s infection. Sometimes I’m frustrated by bloggers explaining things they have not successfully done themselves. I purposely waited this long to report what we did to verify its success.

Whenever there is a serious infection, I try to remember to fight it locally as well as internally. First we went after the local area since he was in so much pain.

He placed a whole clove between his teeth, biting it firmly with the ailing tooth till it eventually disintegrated. This has been successful in the past for toothache. It numbs pain (especially in the mucus membranes) and fights infection. This time it numbed his jaw, but the infection was too deep and severe it didn’t stop the ache.

Silver Oak brushed his teeth with a combo of baking soda and salt (2:1), followed by rinsing out his mouth with Spry. This powder cultivates an environment with the proper ph to inhibit growth of plaque-forming bacteria and is more effective than toothpaste (especially the “normal” brands with all the junk in them).  Brushing is especially important before bedtime so the mouth has a healthy environment all night long when there is less helpful saliva to fight the bad bacteria.

Prickly pear cactus growing on our homestead

We went out and found prickly pear cactus and, after scraping off the needles, I peeled the skin and placed a wedge of cactus “meat” into Silver Oak’s cheek next to the bad tooth. Within five minutes Silver Oak said he felt something drawing out of his tooth. I then crushed a clove of garlic and packed as much as I could into the broken tooth. The pain slightly subsided enough that he drifted into an exhausted sleep.

When Silver Oak awoke several hours later (remember he had gotten no sleep the night before) he felt so much better that he ate dinner with us, then brushed his teeth again. I repacked his tooth with crushed garlic and made a new cactus wedge to place inside his cheek against his tooth. He slept fine that night (with no pain killers) and felt great in the morning. I sent his teeth brushing supplies with him to work, as well as another wedge of cactus and capsules of garlic, golden seal, and vitamin C, but he felt so good all day he didn’t even use them! Very naughty!! I told him if he was my child I would…well, we won’t go into that.

Needless to say, he failed to learn from my mistake with my infected foot several months ago when I stopped treating it too soon. We had successfully fought the infection enough for it to recede, but it was still simmering in there and came back even worse than it had been before. It was so bad by the next morning he couldn’t go to work. I was worried we would have to use the dentist after all, but our ammunition was not yet used up. We had to pull out the bigger guns and be more aggressive now than ever.

Part two of this series is coming soon!

Enjoying Our Off Grid HomesteadBlessings,

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Disclaimer:  This website is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care or dental providers.  The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

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30 thoughts on “When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

  1. I had a very similar experience last week. Clove was not helping the pain at all. Spent several nights in pain and had a very hard time eating.


      • same EXACT thing .broken molar/abcessed. gargled with peroxide/salt water. then i took cotton with tea tree oil and packed it. dont know if youre supposed to do that, but ive used t.t. oil toothpaste(which i really like). it took the pain away. also i think it slowed the infection down dramatically. i was close to pulling out myself before i used that. of course its on a fri. night. but anyway, thats my emergency go to. had it pulled a week later:)


      • I’m sure the tea tree oil and peroxide/salt were effective for you. I love how God has made so many options for us to use. He makes things available for us wherever we are, if we just know how to recognize and use them. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6

        Thank you for sharing your experience!


  2. You had mentioned fillings, this concerns me if it is a silver filling which is mercury. If it is indeed mercury I highly suggest finding a holistic dentist to have it removed. My husband suffered from mercury poisoning from fillings. If you would like to know more about our journey back to health, and/or lean more about them please visit my blog post below. You may also want to look at the video section of my blog for the video that shows how these fillings need to be removed safely.



    • The fillings that Silver Oak has are indeed mercury fillings, and I was really worried when I found out he had lost one. Back when I was having lots of miscarriages I had all of my mercury fillings replaced by a dentist who was trained to do it safely, and I am well aware of the dangers of mercury poisoning from them. Some day when we have the means I hope Silver Oak will get all of his removed and replaced as well.

      Thank you for your concern and suggestions. I will look at your blog to see what you have to share.


  3. I never knew about prickly pear having that ability for healing etc….I also have not heard of Spry so I will look at your link you shared. I can’t wait to read Part 2 but sorry Silver Oak was having such a hard time. Thanks for sharing your story at “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” this month!


    • Thank you for caring, Karen. I was also not familiar with the healing properties of prickly pear until more recently. It has sure been a blessing for us, especially with it growing all over our property!


  4. I recently had a terrible toothache also. I put activated charcoal on a damp piece of gauze and then bit down on it with the infected tooth. The pain was gone in 5-10 minutes! I still felt a throb and some discomfort, but the actual pain was gone.

    Do you expect Silver Oak’s tooth to last indefinitely until it can be filled? I have been under the conventional impression that when a tooth was abscessed, it needed something done immediately..such as pulled or maybe root canal. However, as I learn more about natural healing, I’m wondering if and when it is necessary to see the dentist.


    • Using charcoal sounds like a great idea as well. Thank you for the tip!

      I don’t know whether or not this will last indefinitely for Silver Oak. We hope that if we are diligent the broken tooth will grow new enamel which will create a new barrier against infection. If that happens, as has happened for others, that will theoretically be a permanent solution. Time will tell.


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