Opposed to SSCs & pulpotomies? I need to pick your brain for my baby!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 11-04-2009, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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DS has MAJOR decay and I need to decide what to do.

Background: I trust nature to build healthy bodies as long as we have healthy food & healthy environments. We eat whole, organic, seasonal, local food, plenty of protein with every meal, lots of fermented CLO, butter oil, grassfed raw milk, pastured eggs, yogurt & other fermented foods, & occasionally (organic) organ meats. Sweets only on special occasions.

BUT - this didn't happen till after DS's birth (he's our fourth). Before that, it was a very grain-heavy diet (all whole grains, low-sugar) & very lowfat. And throughout all four of my pregnancies & nursing (which lasts for 2+ yrs with each child), I was a major sugar addict.

Each child has had decay on top 4 front teeth start at 18mo, growing much worse through ~30months, and each child has had it worse than the previous one, and continued to have occasional cavities throughout the mouth thereafter. The older three all stopped having cavities at about the same time - when we got off the high processed grain diet & onto raw whole milk.

My baby (he's 2.5 now) has the worst. His top front teeth disappeared entirely, right up to the gumline. Now, I'm very okay with the Wait&See approach. With my 2nd, he had two abscesses that caused no pain & which contained the infection very well & drained it perfectly. Our fairly conservative, but still fairly mainstream ped dds rec'd W&S as long as he had no pain, and 2.5yrs later, the abscessed teeth fell out and were replaced with beautiful healthy adult teeth. My 3rd had four very deteriorated front teeth, two of which wouldn't hold crowns, and they have remained pain-free & w/o further deterioration for 2.5 years.

But the decay on my 4th won't stop. I thought it had, and he had no pain (except on the day after a lot of sugar, like a birthday party, then it went right away), but I noticed his breath was starting to stink - reek, actually - and the B & I molars were starting to get huge - I mean HUGE - cavities on the facial sides. Then one day I looked, and his B molar was gone, right down to the root or maybe further. . It's just not sealing up or stabilizing like the other kids.

He gets 1mL fCLO/day, with butter oil and lots of raw milk daily. I can't get him to drink bone broth regularly, although I do use it for lots of stews, etc. Occasionally he'll share an "egg drink" with me - raw milk w/ raw egg, nutmeg, & vanilla extract. I think he could probably get more of the superfoods, but it's very hard to get him to take more.

The first DDS he saw flipped out, rec'd 8 extractions (w/ baby dentures), 4 pulpotomies + stainless steel crowns, & 5 fillings, in the hospital. She was a sub. I saw our regular ped DDS today and she rec'd 4 extractions (top front four worn down to the gum & look open, although no pain, ever - one appears to have the gum boil that indicates a nicely draining abscess), 1 pulpotomy + SSC (the missing molar), & no fillings (Wait&See).

I need to know real risks. I've looked all over the internet, across the WPF website, much of the remineralization thread, through Cure Tooth Decay & Rami's website, and just need to know more info about the risks of treating & not treating. Even our no-mercury, no-standard-root-canals family DDS says something needs to be done for DS.
  • What are the real risks & alternatives to SSCs? Gold, resin? What's worse, nickel, gold, or the plastics in the resin? (If decay it really from the inside out, and I believe it is, why do crowns stop decay at all?)
  • What are the real risks & alternatives to pulpotomy? Does it have the same serious risks of bloodstream infiltration as full root canals? Can those be ameliorated by ozone treatment, like regular root canals? If there's no other option, is extraction safer, plus perhaps a spacer if it's a molar?
  • What are the real risks & alternatives to extraction? What steps best prevent cavitations from uncleaned extractions or dry socket? What are the risks to permanent tooth placement - dds says it's no risk if front teeth, major risk if molar - ? DS does eat & speak perfectly fine, even with no upper front teeth. Cosmetics are no concern; they're homeschooled.
  • What are the real alternatives to fluoride varnish? I hate fluoride; won't use it. What's better?
  • What are the real risks of leaving an actively decaying tooth in the mouth? I feel confidant about leaving a stable one, and about watching for any signs of spreading infection, but some dentists say decay can infect, or minimally, pit, the underlying permanent teeth - true? What are the chances, and can anything be done to lessen that risk?
  • What would *you* do about the four front teeth & a molar worn to the gumline w/ no sign of slowing decay anywhere in the mouth?

I'm so sorry this has turned out to be so long. I really appreciate the insight of the mamas here. I've tried to do the research on my own, but can't find enough info from anyone who understands that nutrition is at the heart of these problems & that parents *can* keep an eye out for progression even while taking a responsible W&S approach. TIA!!!
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#2 of 10 Old 11-04-2009, 09:36 PM
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Here's my take on it.

You're doing everything right. You're feeding your children a great diet, you've got good hygiene, they see a dentist regularly. But he's still having problems. Genetics are a huge component of dental issues, and if the genes are for crap teeth, then it's extra awesome and important that you've given them such good care, but chances are they're still going to have some issues.

My main concern would be pain. Abscesses hurt. No matter how you cut it, if he's dealing with exposed roots, abscesses, and infection, he's in pain. The thing about children and pain, especially gradually growing pain that is a daily factor -- they won't necessarily express it or verbalize it well, especially under the age of 7 or so, from what I've read and experienced. I have a VERY verbal, very self-aware little girl who, thanks to a crap set of genes, experienced pretty severe dental decay between the age of 3 and 4. By the time we got a new dentist (long story) and took action, she was reporting daily pain. But based on the level of decay, she had been in pain for a lot longer than she reported. She reported it AFTER surgery, once she was healed. Looking back, she was able to verbalize that she had been in pain for months, but she didn't fully realize it until it was gone. And she never abscessed.

At this point, I would seriously be looking at taking action quickly. We did make a lot of compromises in dd's dental care and treatment that went against our ideals. But having those genetics basically put her dental care into the special needs category -- you simply can't follow your ideals all the time once you move into that territory. It was very hard for me to accept. She ended up having surgery under general anesthesia in the hospital -- 4 extractions, six "baby" root canals, eight stainless steel crowns, and 7 composite fillings. We tried other options first, but with her, they simply weren't enough. Now she's on a desensitizing, fluoridated toothpaste and 0.3% stannous fluoride gel several times every day. Cleanings and x-rays every three months. And she hasn't had a cavity since her surgery. DS is still on our hippy unfluoridated regime, and that works for him. Same diet. Breastfed as long. Different set of genes.
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#3 of 10 Old 11-05-2009, 12:00 AM
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Hi mama,
Wow, it sounds like you have done so much! I have not been through ECC with my kids, and I only in recent years began to deal with cavities in myself. But I'll share what I have gathered too, in case there's anything you haven't come across yet.

The first thing I would do is see if you can get to a holistic dentist. I think they have a website with a directory.

And I remember reading about some kind of treatment that only a limited number of dentists use for cavities. maybe it was ozone? Maybe it was this:

I see a holistic dentist, and when I discovered that I had a significant cavity (really it was more like a gaping hole!) in my tooth, it was too big to be filled with a regular filling. So they used a porcelain inlay. I did a blood test that tested for my body's compatibility with all the materials, sealants, adhesives, etc., to be sure it was okay for me.

The other smaller cavities I let be, to try and heal on their own. However, I notice that I really cannot have any exceptions in my diet, or I have pain, and I know it probably completely set me back. If I ate anything like a cracker, for example, it was bad news for my teeth. You mentioned just limiting sweets, and you might have to just cut them out entirely. I have found that the almond flour baked goods don't have the same effect. I mean, I can't eat a ton of them, but they are better. (We are on the SCD, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, now.)

Also, have you read about homeopathic cell salts for teeth issues?

Oil pulling? That would probably be hard for a 2.5 yo though.

There was a mama on here whose child had very extensive ECC and was told her son needed a couple of thousand dollars worth of work in his mouth. But she called Dr. Ellie, and went the whole xylitol route, and that worked for him. He wound up not needing the work. I will search and see if I can find her username. I think it was "luv" - something.

I'm torn on that front. There are people who say that the Cure Tooth Decay route is the way to go, yet then there are others who have had amazing success with Dr. Ellie's way. Have you read her site yet? This MDC mama even called (actually I think the grandma called) and Dr. Ellie spoke to her on the phone and helped her come up with a plan.

I think you need to trust your instincts, and keep seeking out help until you find people who can help you in ways that you feel confident about, give you information that you feel makes sense to you.

Good luck!
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#4 of 10 Old 11-05-2009, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your thoughts!

Blessedly, all three of my boys have been very good at expressing when they have pain, and exactly where in their bodies, from about 2yo up. Since the dietary change, it has only been after a day of sugar or processed stuff, like Halloween) and they'll point out the exact tooth, & just as clearly let me know when the pain goes away. DC#2, with the two abscesses, hurt the day the first abscessed tooth fell out. Since an abscess is just a wall the body builds to contain an infection, I figured losing the tooth ruptured that wall, and we fought the infection, like we do any infection, with vitamin C megadosing - all pain gone in 8hrs, and he said he was back to feeling just as good as he had the day before. He really did have no pain over the 2.5yrs of the abscesses (his body did a really beautiful job of containing the infections).

So while I know the idea that infected or abscessed teeth must be taken care of immediately (lest they quickly & necessarily lead to systemic infection and/or extreme pain) is a common one, my (albeit decidedly mainstream) dentist felt differently & suggested differently, and the W&S approach wrt abscesses/contained infection has worked very well in the first two children who had seriously awful teeth. We're both comfortable with this approach to all but his most degraded teeth that show no signs of slowing decay, and even with those, her primary concern is not rampant infection, but permanent tooth placement - so I'm looking for ideas about the real risk level of possible complications to untreated decay other than systemic infection & pain.

(I forgot to mention that no one in any side of our family, from parents to aunts/uncles to grandparents or cousins, has ever had decay either this early or this severe, at any stage in life.)

On the holistic dentist front, we have a great one for our family dentist, but he doesn't treat children under 8 - nor, it seems, do any other in the whole metro Atlanta area. He uses ozone, no mercury, etc., but doesn't actually treat the wee ones. I do intend to call him to see what he uses instead of these procedures for older children, though - thanks for the reminder!

I'm not comfortable with xylitol simply b/c it's processed, artificial stuff. But if I felt I had no choice, I'd likely feel more comfortable w/ that than with crowns. ?

All your thoughts are wonderful and much appreciated!!
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#5 of 10 Old 11-28-2009, 03:56 AM
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Any chance of celiac disease? Or other major food allergy causing intestinal inflammation and resulting inability to absorb nutrients that could contribute to this?

What about a severe vitamin D deficiency? Where do you live?
Get a 25 (OH) D blood test. See Vitamin D Council website for lab rec or at home test.

I second the above poster's rec for biocompatibility testing if you can. You can get BPA free resin composites.

We have discussed probiotics on the Healing Cavities With Nutrition thread, I think L. Reuteri was one of them studied for cavity prevention? I'd be very concerned about active decay and bad odor signifying bacterial growth in the mouth with no signs of cavities arresting. This tells me that body ph driven by the mineral load is still off.

As far as I know the best information about cavitations and extractions are from Dr. Hal Huggins' books.
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#6 of 10 Old 11-28-2009, 09:19 AM
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Hugs mama! You situations sound a little like mine. I have tried eating just like you wrote and sill my dd developed small soft white spots and looked like they were trning to cavities. But I did everything right.

Here are our changes. We are seeing healing form this, the cavities are glossing over like they are healing. And we never used xylitol and wont.

We have added a big bowl of steamed greens as much as dd wants covered with butter. Eliminated allergens. I feel this is a big issue for us. Brushing with pascalite clay 2x day. FCLO is one of our allergens so we are using wheat germ oil and eating loads of Vit A rich foods and supplementing with tons of Vit D. We have cut out all red meat and most other meats, not really doing alot of bomne broth for dd now. Eating lots of cheese, and supplmenting with Garden of Lifes Raw Calcium. 1-2 capsuels per day for dd. And we have recently added cell salts daily. We are using Calc Phos 6x and Calc Fluor 6x. And did I menion loads of butter all day. And for more minerals, nettles herb infusions in place of water all day.

Hope something here can be of help to you.

Jane, I am intested in hearing more about the L. Reuteri for cavity prevention.
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#7 of 10 Old 02-10-2010, 05:24 AM
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Sorry to hijack, but I'm curious about why you're against the Stainless Steel crowns? I just found out today that (according to our ped. dentist) that's our only option, since I rejected amalgam fillings. I came here first to see if Stainless is a safe option, and this is the only thread I can find that implies they aren't. I'd love to know whatever info you have, so I can make the best decision for my DS Thanks!
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#8 of 10 Old 02-12-2010, 04:06 AM
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I'm not comfortable with xylitol simply b/c it's processed, artificial stuff. But if I felt I had no choice, I'd likely feel more comfortable w/ that than with crowns. ?


I'm the mum who did the Xylitol route with my DS. And happy I am that I did. My DS was recently evaluated for Sensory Processing Disorder [SPD], which is the reason he is so terrified of the dentist, etc..

He remains cavity-free at this time. Even though he gets stuff he shouldn't be having from his cousins or friends, etc. But we just give him some Xylitol afterwards. On top of the mouth benefits, chewing the Xylitol gum has tremendous benefits for his ears/the chewing plus the Xylitol helps prevent ear aches and infections.

Read Dr. Ellie's blog and the FAQs on her website www.zellies.com. It's worth the read.

Right now we're using Zellies Cool Fruit and Emerald Forest Licorice and Grape candies. SPRY and B-Fresh gums; SPRY "RAIN" Spray [we also use just Xylitol -water in his mouth]; and Fluoride-free Xylitol ToothBuilder toothpaste.

Not everyone tolerates a lot of Xylitol right off the bat. My DS did not, his cousins did. So we had to build up his tolerance level. Now he can safely take up to 20 grams a day with no complications.

But it is up to you...I'm just very thankful my mom did the research and we went this route because, as said before, my DS has major issues with dentists!
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#9 of 10 Old 03-04-2010, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by anjii View Post
Sorry to hijack, but I'm curious about why you're against the Stainless Steel crowns? I just found out today that (according to our ped. dentist) that's our only option, since I rejected amalgam fillings. I came here first to see if Stainless is a safe option, and this is the only thread I can find that implies they aren't. I'd love to know whatever info you have, so I can make the best decision for my DS Thanks!
I'm in the same situation.....DS (2.5) is supposed to get some stainless steel crowns as well, and the dentist couldn't/wouldn't give me an alternative. I'd be interested in more information, too.

Apart from that, we are also following a fairly healthy diet (not strictly WAP, but incorporating many things from it, plus supplementing with CLO/butter oil, calc phos, mag phos, etc.), use xylitol in all different forms, have an extensive dental hygiene routine.....but still his cavities keep progressing, just like NatrCatholicMama wrote of her son. It's very frustrating.

Oue ped dentist recommended the work done asap. I'm just not 100% comfortable with it yet and thus have been procrastinating. But we're going out of country for a month in April, and I really need to decide whether to go ahead before or whether to wait until after we get back. I'd rather wait but I'm just afraid something might happen during the trip......
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#10 of 10 Old 03-04-2010, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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An update: My LO's teeth actually *were* stable! What I thought was a severely & rapidly decayed molar was actually a new molar that was coming in, and is now in & very healthy looking. I resolved to pay a lot more attention to his teeth via lots of "I'm not going to touch, just look" peeks into his mouth.

What I've noticed is that when his diet is totally solid - no processed food, no more than one sweet/week, no more than 2 svg grains/day, no more than 1 or 2 fruits/day - his decay doesn't progress, his teeth don't hurt, his infection doesn't spread, and his mouth doesn't stink. It's quite amazing, actually - after one full day or two partial days of "feasting" (i.e., holidays or spending the night with Grandma), all the signs start slowly back in. If I let them go, they get serious (one time resulting in a swollen, red cheek which, with the confidence instilled in me from Rami's own example with his daughter, we fought back down with serious nutrition and vitamin C mega-dosing); if I get back to business on the nutrition fast, they go away with no lasting damage.

Amazing. My faith is restored, lol! The dentist's primary concern, since she knows I'm not going to let an infection go rampant, is molar issues going to the root and affecting orthodontic needs - but the new molars are beautiful and the older ones are stable. So after much, MUCH study & prayer, I'm feeling comfortable in the wait-and-see again.

Re: SSC's, despite its reputation, stainless steel leaches materials like pretty much everything, just less, perhaps. In this case, the nickel in it is the biggest area of concern.
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