by Leslie Fish
Being a dentist's daughter, I have some idea of little things like how fluorides work to protect teeth. Fluorine is a gas with an amazing greed for calcium. Stannous or sodium fluoride is a more manageable molecule, soluble in fluid or gel, but just as greedy for calcium. When the stuff touches the calcium in your teeth, it grabs on and holds like a bear-trap -- but it usually still has an open bond or two that's greedy for more calcium. If there are any ions of calcium in your saliva, the fluoride will grab a couple of them and likewise hold on -- thus bonding the calcium to your teeth. This is how it builds up the dentine and even enamel in your teeth. Keep that in mind.
So, a couple months ago, when I developed a rampaging toothache in one of my lower molars and couldn't get a dental appointment on my local poor-folks' health insurance in less than a week, I had a good idea of what to do. (Yes, clove oil will help kill the microbes that wreck teeth, but it doesn't do much to fill the cavity. I needed something better.) I already had some .05%-fluoride mouthwash, so I soaked the affected tooth with it several times a day. That made the pain -- therefore the infection -- back down. When I finally got to see the dentist, he noted that I had a cracked molar and needed to get the resulting cavity filled, and made another appointment for that -- another two weeks away. *Sigh*
I knew that it wasn't a good idea to leave that cavity just sitting there wide open, ready to get re-infected, so I tried something new. Instead of just waiting for calcium ions to show up in my saliva, I decided to damn-well put them there. I took some mineral-supplement pills (calcium, magnesium and zinc), ground them to powder in a mortar and pestle, then sprinkled a pinch of that powder directly on the affected tooth, and then took the fluoride mouthwash and held in in place for ten minutes at a time -- several times a day.
Well, when the two weeks rolled around and I went back to see the dentist, the first thing he did was peer into my mouth and poke at the tooth with his various tools. I knew something had changed when he yelped in surprise: "It's hard! It's hard!"
"???" I asked -- all I could say, with my mouth wide open and full of tools and fingers.
"It's hard," he explained. "There's nothing soft in there, no infection. It's solid dentine!"
I raised a hand -- the signal for him to pull his fingers out so that I could talk -- and explained about my "sedimentary calcium" treatment.
He was impressed enough that, after he finished applying the dental cement that filled what was left of the cavity and replaced the missing enamel, he offered to give me a prescription for really strong (1.1%) fluoride gel so I could continue the treatment on some of my other teeth. He also re-glued my supposedly-permanent bridge for free. I suspect that he'll be passing on my "sedimentary calcium" trick to his other patients, and maybe even other dentists.
In any case, I've had no further problems with my other teeth, and the new glue in the bridge is holding solid.
Therefore I'm passing this on to anybody else who has minimal or no dental insurance. To prevent or even cure a toothache: grind some calcium (or calcium-megnesium-zinc) pills to powder, sprinkle the powder on your teeth, then take a mouthful of high-fluoride mouthwash and hold it for a good ten minutes. Do this at least once a day to prevent cavities and toothaches, and as many times a day as needed to clean out and fill the cavities.
Whether or not this treatment will succeed in replacing the enamel, I don't know. My guess is that you'll probably need a dentist to do that. Good luck.