Recently, I learned that my 17-year old son, Tennyson, had four impacted wisdom teeth, and my biological dentist said they needed to come out.
I trust Michelle Jorgenson, DDS (American Fork, Utah) more than any dentist I’ve ever worked with. You’ll know why, by the end of this story. (And I’ve worked with a lot of dentists.)
My goal with this story is to educate and empower you, in your own family’s dental treatment choices. Because you may be shocked at the number of toxic, chemical drugs that you’re prescribed both before and after your oral surgery!
Are they necessary?
I’m sure the problems with my mouth are due to my first 25 years of eating loads of sugar, some bad dental advice and treatment, as well as a family tendency towards bad teeth!
I’ve also written about the growing field of biological dentistry, which is sometimes called holistic dentistry.
A really good biological dentist will offer diagnostics and treatments that honor the body’s systems. This specialized dentist can eliminate heavy metals (amalgam fillings and implants) in your treatment, they can minimize radiation in scans, and they can offer alternatives to antibiotics, root canals, and other practices of modern dentistry that are proving to be harmful to your health.
But my story may help empower you to know what’s available to you, and how to avoid using devastating antibiotics, steroids, and opioids that most dentists recommend before and after your oral surgery.
My story with my current dentist, Michelle Jorgenson, starts way back. A friend in another state told her to go to GreenSmoothieGirl, and she devoured all the content on my site, and signed up for my 12 Steps to Whole Foods program.
Why? Michelle’s health was in decline, as she had gut issues and neurological symptoms common to traditional dentists, one of the sickest professions in America. Nothing in dental school educated her about the risks of the constant exposure to mercury, which is the second most toxic substance on Earth, for humans.
She began to get serious about changing her family’s diet, and she and her four children implemented all the steps in our whole-foods program, with some remarkable turnarounds in her family’s health–especially for her 4-year old adopted son.
But she also became very curious about what additional training she could receive, and what technologies and practices she could use in her practice, to not just repair damage, and improve the patient’s cosmetic issues—but also to help patients actually heal their teeth.
I’ve watched Michelle’s transformation and transition to becoming a holistic dentist, and I transferred myself and my son to her practice.
She’s a genius at Durathins (similar to veneers, but permanent and do not damage teeth, they’re beautiful), and placing zirconium implants. (No metals! Only one other dentist in Utah specializes in this.) And she’s invested in all of the best practices and technologies of the biological dentistry movement.
She’s been an absolute godsend to me and my family. But now she had to refer my son to an oral surgeon. And, when we went to him for a consult, he handed me prescriptions for steroids, antibiotics, and opioids!
Who wants to put their kid on addictive painkillers, for a possible toothache? I knew, from a consult with a traditionally trained oral surgeon, in my own dental care years before, that they typically want a patient on a course of oral antibiotics, too.
(I took the prescription, but did not fill it, before my oral surgery many years ago. There are many options for killing bacteria naturally, that do not disrupt the gut’s microbiome, where most of your immune system lives. Today’s extra-strong antibiotics kill all the healthy flora in the gut, and many people now struggle for years, after a single course of antibiotics, to overcome SIBO, intestinal distress, or even “C Diff,” a terrifyingly antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection that you become highly prone to, after wiping out all the “friendly” bacteria in the GI tract with antibiotics.)
I was shocked, however, that now these surgeons ask the patient to take steroids, which Dr. McBee prescribed for my son.
These drugs suppress the immune system, and while the patient may experience temporary relief from inflammation, the side effects of steroid use are legion.
Steroids remain in the tissues, organs, and blood for six months, and you can read hundreds of stories of consequences even more significant than whatever it is our surgeon hoped to avoid, prescribing this powerful drug, as a preventative.
You may be curious about whether I was successful in avoiding the antibiotics, the steroids, and the opioids, for my son. I’ll tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Why Do Oral Surgeons Prescribe Antibiotics and Steroids for Surgery?
Let’s talk about what oral surgeons know, and what they don’t.
I questioned the surgeon on whether these drugs were entirely necessary. He insisted they were.
However, he does not deal with the side effects of the drugs, after the patient leaves his office.
He is specialized in extracting difficult teeth, under anaesthesia, and other procedures.
He is not likely very educated about the long-term risks of the drugs themselves. With a smile, our surgeon told me that these drugs were important, and mandatory.
I have many people close to me whose lives have been devastated by opioid addiction. I know five families who have spent their net worth, even mortgaged their homes, to put family members in long-term rehab.
I have a former boyfriend, and the sons of two of my close friends, whose children have turned to heroin when they can no longer access Percocet, Lortab, or Oxycontin. All of them started with a legitimate pain issue.
One of my close friends married a man who served a prison term for holding up a Rite-Aid to get Oxycontin.
Obviously, these are worst-case scenarios, and the Lortab Dr. McBee prescribed can be a godsend in short-term issues with severe pain.
Truly, opioids can be a miracle. That’s what they’re for: crisis!
But prescription opioids are a billion-dollar industry, and that’s largely because they are one of the most addictive chemical substances ever discovered by humans.
In Utah, we have a problem with the opioid class of drugs that far surpasses the national average. And because my son really likes ibuprofen when he gets a headache, he worries me, a little! That’s where addiction starts–with a legitimate pain problem, right?
I told the surgeon I’d prefer another approach, and he suggested I fill the prescription ibuprofen, and get some over-the-counter Tylenol–and alternate the use of those two drugs after surgery.
This way, we could hope to stay ahead of the pain, while avoiding stronger painkillers.
I smiled, and nodded, took the prescriptions. And reminded myself that while the guys in white coats are our friends, I do not have a responsibility to feed my child every chemical a doctor prescribes.
Like traditional Medical Doctor training, dentistry training is underpinned and funded by the pharmaceutical industry.
Dental schools do not acknowledge the danger of mercury fillings, and other practices they’ve used for many decades—and truly, they cannot acknowledge these risks, or they’d be setting themselves up for the biggest class-action lawsuit in the history of lawsuits.
A dentist prescribing drugs for your pre- and post-operative care reminds me of this old adage:
If all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
If you want alternatives, you won’t get those from the guys coming out of dental school—but in the age of the internet, the good news is, it’s easy to educate yourself.
I’ll share with you the natural approaches to pain that were my first line of defense, after Tennyson’s surgery.
My second strategy would be the Ibuprofen/Tylenol alternating.
Don’t think that these drugs are without risk. The NSAID class of drugs (including ibuprofen, Aleve, and aspirin) cause over 100,000 emergency room visits, annually, and many deaths. And a great deal of evidence shows serious liver damage from Tylenol use.
That said, they have their place. And I would use them, if necessary. I did fill the Lortab (hydrocodone) prescription.
Are the folks in white coats your final authority, on what you will, and will not, do, regarding your health? What if you consider them consultants?
I hope you will consider educating yourself, and learning more about the compounds in nature that can achieve the same effects, without the devastating consequences. This may help you feel empowered and hopeful, going into surgery.
I talked to Dr. Michelle Jorgenson, and what happened next was pretty amazing.
Together, we collaborated to not only avoid toxic drugs—but also to work closely with the surgeon, and give Tennyson a chance at quick, complete healing, without the common risks of cavitations and “dry socket.”
How My Holistic Dentist Worked With My Surgeon—for Quick Healing Without Toxic Side Effects
What happened next might be the coolest part of this story. I contacted Michelle, interested to hear what she thought of steroids and antibiotics, preventatively, and she was frustrated, too.
She suggested that before the surgery, I stop by her office, where they would prepare, from Tennyson’s own blood, PRF, which is Platelet Rich Fibrin, as well as an ozone preparation–and she would run these over to the surgeon.
She said, “I have a fantastic homeopathic penicillin called Notasan,” and asked me to come by and get it, along with Arnica, a pain-relieving homeopathic, that day.
Michelle is great at meeting people where they are. She texted me,
“I used to prescribe antibiotics and narcotics every day. Now I’ll go months without narcotics—and maybe one antibiotic a month, for someone very sick. The need for these drugs is in the medical provider’s mind. Pretty amazing realization!”
I got Tennyson on the Notosan antibiotic right away, several days before the surgery. When I talked to Michelle’s staff later that day, they were very animated in telling me the remarkable success they’d been having, using this natural, non-toxic substance.
Without my asking, Michelle phoned the oral surgeon, and told me, “He was very open to my ideas, and will place the PRF implant and the ozone, at no charge to you. In fact, he said he wanted to learn from me.”
I texted back, “This is exciting. Think how many fewer drugs he could prescribe, if he learns this! In fact, you could do clinics in your office, and invite all the oral surgeons you know, to share how effective this has been with your patients.”
“On it!” she said back. (If I know Michelle, she will absolutely follow through with this.)
Imagine the drug toxicity that WON’T be in our groundwater, and causing long-term side effects for patients, if she can educate even a few of them!
“You are doing a great work in the world,” I told her, “and you are just warming up.”
Michelle bridges the gap very well: she speaks about the divide between traditional dentistry, and holistic dentistry, with equanimity, always remembering her own journey. This makes her credible.
And she wants to educate the patient, the parents, and the other health care providers. (Can I get a standing O, for my dentist?)
Important Holistic Interventions to Help You Heal, Without Toxic Drugs
So here’s what we did for my son, after wisdom tooth removal, with great success.
(I’m pleased to report that he sailed through recovery. No “dry socket!” The surgeon told me this risk of tooth extraction happens 10 to 50 percent of the time, with wisdom tooth removal!)
Natural Pain Relief (To Avoid Narcotics)
Inflammation is a key cause of pain, so we can’t entirely separate the pain relief part of this article, from the anti-inflammatory category. They are highly integrated parts of healing.
But I worked closely with Dr. Jorgenson to share with you what we’ve both found works the best, in my son’s care after tooth extraction—me, a lifelong researcher raising four healthy children to adulthood, and her as a researcher and clinician.
Arnica: This homeopathic is very inexpensive, and it’s one of the most popular homeopathics, because it works well again bruising, swelling, inflammation, and pain. It dissolves under the tongue, and this, plus CBD oil, helped.
CBD Oil: Awareness about this painkiller substance is exploding, though “medical marijuana” is a politically charged issue. CBD oil is the non-psychoactive, medicinal compound derived from the marijuana plant, and its side effects are mild, if there are any. I’ve secured a 10% off coupon code for GreenSmoothieGirl readers if you order here and use code “10off928” when checking out.
(THC is the more controversial substance from the marijuana plant, which does have mind-altering effects.)
Natural Antibiotics (To Avoid Drug Antibiotics)
Keeping an arsenal of highly effective anti-bacterial natural products on hand is critical. They work best when you begin using these products at the very first symptom of headache, aches, or fever.
And, when you’re sick, you don’t want to be out shopping, or waiting for your Amazon order. I keep all my natural remedies together, in a basket.
Medicine has never found a drug that kills viral organisms, but the plant world has many remedies that work.
This video tells the story of when my college-senior daughter became very sick, during the school year—so sick that I had to send her to Instacare. I knew the M.D. would prescribe her an antibiotic, without testing her for bacterial infections. (I was right.)
In the short video that has had 2 million views and tens of thousands of shares, I tell the story of how I worked with her doctor, kept her off antibiotics, and got her well. (I have not given any of my children an antibiotic, in 24 years.)
I also share some of my “classic, stand-by” natural remedies, in that video.
After my older daughter’s health scare, while she was away at college in 2015, now I make sure she has her supplements with her, away from home.
One of the best things you can give your adult children living away from home is a care package from you, with some of these anti-microbial, immune-supportive supplements.
These additional supplements are powerful for post-surgery healing, specifically. In each case, follow the directions on the bottle.
Notasan: This prescription that you can get from Dr. Jorgenson’s office (Total Care Dental in American Fork, Utah) is a highly effective homeopathic pennicillin that Michelle’s staff told me they have phenomenal results with. Today’s antibiotics have far worse consequences than the old penicillin and erythromycin, and many people who take them end up with resulting long-term diagnoses like C Diff and SIBO, which affects their digestion and immune function, potentially, for years.
As Medicine creates stronger drugs in the wake of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, we reap the consequences, when we take them. Modern antibiotics like Vancomycin and the Z-Pak make you highly vulnerable to the next virus or infection that comes along.
The nice thing about a homeopathic is that there is no toxicity or fallout for your health.
MunityBoost: Barlow Herbals has an amazing liquid tincture using lomatium, an herb that really works. I’d heard many of my health and wellness practitioner colleagues rave about this product, so I bought two bottles, part of my new arsenal!
On Guard: It’s a handful of the best essential oils for viruses and bacteria, and you can just put a drop on the back of your hand, and lick it off, every two hours. It’s made by doTERRA, and other brands have similar blends. If you can find a similar blend, using organic oils, let me know!
I’ve knocked down and cold or virus dozens of times, with this stuff, and usually you can get it on Amazon, or from your local rep.
Oregano Oil: Buy it organic at a natural products store or online. It can burn your stomach, and it tastes absolutely dreadful. So, put no more than 2 drops in a capsule, and follow it with food. It’s incredibly powerful, killing aberrant cells like bacteria and virus.
Vitamin C: Always have it on hand. It mobilizes your immune system so effectively, that even standard-of-care Medicine has to acknowledge its efficacy and many insurance plans now pay for IV Vitamin C, in cancer treatment. It’s easy to take 500 mg, twice a day. I like this organic brand, on Amazon.
Spry Oral Rinse: Erythritol has been shown in clinical studies to decrease pathogenic organisms in the mouth, which is one of the dirtiest places in the human body. I asked my son to gently rinse, a couple of times a day, after surgery. You can get this at your local natural products store, or on Amazon.
Natural Anti-Inflammatories (To Avoid Steroids)
As we prepared for surgery, I shared this photo on my personal page on Facebook—and hundreds of people commented. Some of them shared devastating effects of taking steroids, which are now prescribed at an alarming rate for virtually everything auto-immune and even pre-surgical.
While doctors are happy to prescribe you an antibiotic after your immune system is on its knees from steroid use, it’s not my family’s first line of defense, or even our second!
BCQ: Dr. Jorgenson recommended this product to me for anti-bruising, anti-inflammatory, and anti-pain, post surgery. It contains Boswellia, from frankincense; Curcumin from turmeric; Quercetin, a potent flavonoid; and Bromelain, a healing enzyme from pineapple.
All of these help rebuild connective tissue, and each of them had come up, in my research on care after tooth extraction, supporting strong gut health and immune function–so I was excited to get it, all in one supplement.
Vitamin D + K2: In rebuilding tissue and bone, nothing is more important than Vitamin D, which is more a hormone than a vitamin, and Vitamin K works synergistically with it. The vast majority of North Americans and Europeans are deficient in Vitamin D, and that’s never more problematic than when you are trying to heal from tooth extraction.
Avoiding Dry Socket and Cavitations
Cavitations (an infected hole in your jawbone) and the painful “dry socket” phenomenon common to tooth extraction don’t often happen, when your biological dentist uses a preparation of your own blood, PRF, or Platelet Rich Fibrin.
Most traditional dentists will not know what you’re talking about, if you ask them about PRF. My oral surgeon didn’t, though he wanted to learn about it, when my biological dentist called him.
A holistic dentist trained in the PRF procedure will draw a small vial of your blood, pre-surgery. When implanted in the hole caused by the extraction, the three-dimensional network of your own fibrin forms a scaffolding at the wound site, that facilitates the bone filling in.
Without it, the bone has to grow up, from the bottom, and the sides, which is much slower and less predictable.
This is important, since cavitations form in 80 percent of wisdom teeth sites, according to Dr. Jorgenson’s research.
That’s because the bone caps the hole, but doesn’t fill in. And “dry socket” occurs when the blood clot formed in the empty space becomes dislodged, exposing nerves and bone to air and bacteria.
“These create a cavity, with lots of harmful microbes that move in and have a party,” says Dr. Jorgenson.
The cavitation lines up with the heart and stomach meridian, so the effect of a cavitation can be systemic, not just limited to the site of the oral surgery.
My dentist also prepared ozone for my son, and the oral surgeon placed the ozone, post-surgery, as well as the PRF, to give Tennyson an excellent chance at ideal healing, after the procedure.
Ozone, or O3, is oxygen with an extra molecule, and it’s what lightning creates, in the sky, to clean the atmosphere. It is used in many medical and industrial uses, as well, and in oral surgery and other dental treatments, it can kill harmful microbes without toxic effects.
The Results Are In!
Did We Avoid Steroids, Antibiotics, and Narcotics?
I’m pleased to report that Tennyson healed well, without developing the common syndromes of “dry socket” or cavitations.
I’m also pleased to say that we did not use the drug antibiotic. Our natural remedies I’ve reported in this post, worked beautifully.
Finally, I did not fill the steroid prescription, and I’m glad, because my son had a long winter ahead of him, with arduous baseball practices for his senior year and hopefully a third state championship to pitch—so he needs his immune function.
However, I’m disappointed to report, we did need the painkillers. On Day 2, the CBD and arnica weren’t easing the pain enough, and I alternated Lortab (the opioid) and ibuprofen. We used the narcotic for only 24 hours.
I still consider the whole plan to be a huge success. I hope you’ve learned a bit about what is available in the world of biological dentistry, natural anti-inflammatories, natural antibiotics, and natural painkillers, and I hope it serves you, in your desire to be healthy!
Disclosure: This post may contain Affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.