Avoid the Ache, Hasten the Healing
“My dog is scheduled for dentistry next week. What can I do to help him through this with natural medicine? Oh, and I know they’ll want him on post-op antibiotics – are those truly necessary?”
Inspired by a live "Drs. Hours" chat I held for Dogs Naturally, this post will help you be prepared when your dog, cat, horse or YOU need to get dental work done.
Dentistry is, of course, best avoided by raising a Vital Animal. I’ll review prevention with you in a bit.
For now, imagine you find yourself with a tooth or two that need to come out. Maybe in you, maybe in your animal.
My Mouth, My Remedies
As a dedicated homeopath, I use homeopathy not only for my animal patients, but for my own health challenges as well.
In acute situations, I’ll reach for appropriate acute remedies, just like you can learn to do when you join our monthly membership group, Vital Animal Alpha.
After years of trying to prescribe for my own chronic disease without lasting success, I’ve turned that over to a colleague I’ve hired.
And you should do the same for chronic conditions, whether in your own being or your animal’s.
For acute problems, dentistry and surgery among them, DIY homeopathy is smart medicine and often brings remarkable results.
A few years back, having finally decided it made sense to get my mercury amalgam fillings removed, I found myself in my holistic dentist’s chair, about to get drilled upon.
I came prepared however, with two high potency remedies in my pocket: hypericum 10M and arnica 10M.
Here’s what happened.
“Are you ready to start, Dr. Cole?”
“Give me a second, I’d like to try this without drugs, if you don’t mind.”
Open minded affirmative. (That’s why I chose Griffin Cole years ago to be my dentist.)
I dropped several drops of hypericum 10M into my mouth, kept the bottle by my side, and said, “Okay, go for it.”
Having been hooked up to a sophisticated suction system that would keep the mercury contained, away from me, Dr. Cole, and the environment, I settled back and gave entry to the drill.
I heard the creepy whining drill sound, felt a bit of downward pressure but, one filling after another, I felt zero pain.
This was the exact opposite of what I felt when I was so young and had these fillings put in!
Nerve pain is one of the worst kinds, and hypericum completely kept me from it. It's a remedy well known for nerve injury.
In total, half a dozen amalgam fillings were drilled out, and half a dozen resulting holes were filled with a porcelain composite resin.
That resin hardened up, each filling was ground a bit to get my bite just right, and I walked out of the office freed of half of my mercury load and free of drugs of any kind.
I never even used the arnica I had brought just in case hypericum wasn’t going to cut it.
I repeated this protocol a month later, and was mercury free.
In each session, I might have repeated the hypericum mid-way through, but it was not for feeling any zingy pain. More just a sense that I wanted to be sure not to feel it!
Caution: Pre-Op Remedies May Be Dangerous
As I've taught my Alpha students, I discourage the use of pre-op remedies (usually arnica) in the animals getting ready for surgery. It doesn’t happen in every case, but there have been a number of reports of horrible difficulty maintaining a state of anesthesia in those animals who received arnica before surgery.
How’s that look?
OMG, he’s moving! He’s got to be feeling this! Turn up the gas, STAT!”
Hypericum may well have similar cautions, especially if the time between dosing and actual physical insult is longer than a minute.
I felt justified taking it right before my drilling for two reasons:
- I was having no drugs of any kind, so there was no risk of failed anesthesia.
- I had virtually no lag time between dose and drilling.
So, if your pet is having surgery, dental or otherwise, it’s best to wait for post-op to begin remedies. That can be immediately after tooth extraction, if your vet is open minded.
You could send a remedy dropper bottle along and ask a vet tech to give a 1/4 dropperful immediately on waking up.
The Remedy for All Trauma
As is widely known, Arnica montana is the classic remedy that, of all the remedies in homeopathy, likely has a one-to-one correlation between disease label and remedy.
In this case, trauma = arnica.
Hypericum may be a close second, as in nerve pain = hypericum, but few other remedies are this specific in comparison.
For example, apis, a remedy made from bees, has applicability in many chronic conditions, including chronic diarrhea, constipation, bladder disease, vomiting, and throat problems.
Oh, and it may help in stings, but only if they fit the apis symptom picture of shiny swellings that are often red.
It's definitely a great remedy for the acute swelling and hives that look similar to bee stings.
Arnica could apply to extensive dental extraction surgery, certainly. Talk about trauma, right?
Let’s look at a sensible protocol to use both of these remedies to hasten healing after tooth extractions.
A Post-op Dental Protocol
A good place to start with remedies after tooth extraction is this.
- Arnica immediately post extraction
Give a dose of 200C hourly for the first three hours. Then, follow with…
- Hypericum. If you have a 30C, give it every four hours the first day, three times the second day, twice the third day post dental, and then as needed if you see a painful mouth returning.
What would a painful mouth returning look like in your animal?
- Hungry, racing to eat as usual, but stopping either before biting in, or dropping food out of the (sore) mouth.
- Less likely, pawing at the mouth.
If you had a bleeding socket left behind that just doesn’t seem to stop, a third valuable remedy is
A 30C could be given immediately after tooth extraction and repeated every 15 minutes till the bleeding stopped. It could be repeated later if the bleeding resumed, but just give the minimum number of doses that stop the seeping.
If you have a 200C, one dose may well be sufficient to arrest the hemorrhage.
- If calendula doesn't stop the bleeding, Phosphorus 30C can be tried next
How to Administer Remedies to Animals
Here's a simple trick I teach my students if they have an acute situation that may demand remedy repetition.
It's making a water remedy. Here’s how you do that.
- Pellets: if your remedy comes from the store, it’s often in big fat BB-sized #35 pellets. Take three and crush them in a folded 3x5 card by rolling over them with a bottle or glass bottom. Now you have powder.
- Granules: If I’ve sent a remedy, or you have my 50 remedy kit, you’ll have tiny little mustard seed sized granules, called #10 pellets. Use 5–15 of those.
- Pure water: your water should be a pure source, free of chlorine and fluoride, like reverse osmosis- and/or carbon-filtered water, or distilled or spring water. [A sweet countertop model that needs no installation is here (<--click that link to see more or just click the image below right.)]
Pour a 1/2 cup of this pure water into a glass, add your remedy, stir it vigorously for 30 seconds before each dose, and get started. A dose is a dribble from a spoon or 1 cc in a syringe, squirted into the mouth.
You now have a big bunch of doses, but won't need them all. If you'd like to save the solution for later, fill a 1 oz. dropper bottle with some of this solution and add a dropperful of brandy.
Why This Works
Remember, all homeopathic remedies have been tested on humans (a sweet irony when we use them on our animals, eh?).
The materia medica confirms the following about hypericum’s particular usefulness in the nerve rich areas:
- Injuries to nerves, esp. of fingers, toes, and nails. “Attended by great pain.”
- Crushed fingers, esp. tips.
- Excessive painfulness is a guiding symptom to its use.
- Relieves pain after operations.
- Pain in coccyx (the tail bone, rich in nerves).
- Injuries to dental nerves.
- The Arnica of the nerves.
As hypericum has repeatedly shown success in all manner of nerve-rich injuries, it stands to reason that it would help the pain after tooth extraction or drilling.
Arnica also has both a long history of helping traumatic injury, and calendula has repeatedly shown benefit in bleeding wounds.
But, He Needs Antibiotics, Right?
Ah, no, he doesn't actually.
An oft-made recommendation with a good twenty year history based on hearsay is this: we need to give your dog antibiotics if we are doing dental work on her.
The reasoning sounds logical enough: there are lots of bacteria in the mouth. We’re going to open up the blood supply with our procedure (pulling a tooth, maybe even cleaning could cause some bleeding). Those pesky little buggers will get picked up by the blood, travel throughout the body, and land (horrors!) on the heart valves, causing all sorts of bad, bad problems!
Prevalent for years, most vets believe this idea and so routinely give antibiotics to every dental patient, or at least those getting extractions. And, as you likely know, the antibiotics kill good and bad bacteria indiscriminately.
Loss of the good flora impairs the immune system, digestion, vitamin elaboration in the gut, etc. etc. Not to mention their use adds to the likelihood of creating more superbugs.
I routinely tell my clients to avoid these killer drugs, and, if they really feel strongly that infection is a worry, to use Transfer Factor for a few days before and after surgery or dentistry.
And here’s the proof, from the conventional dental world, no less.
"The long held belief that oral infections (particularly endodontically treated teeth) result in systemic illness or cause disease processes in distant locations, does not have scientific merit(4). This concept often drives recommendations for systemic AMD (anti-microbial drug, aka antibiotic) use. Therefore, most prophylactic AMD use in dentistry has no scientific basis." [From two board certified veterinary dentists.]
Holistic Prevention: Keep Those Teeth Healthy!
You might think this is where I’ll tell you to brush your animal’s teeth every day.
I think that’s a huge, unnecessary waste of time.
- Read up instead on feeding raw bones. You’ll see how much sense it makes.
- Diet, not surprisingly, makes a big difference in tooth health.
Are you feeding your inner carnivore a bunch of starch-laden kibble? Stop that, if you want strong, white teeth.
Want easy, home delivered raw food? Here’s a great source for you.
- Vaccinations are detrimental to teeth. This is especially notable in FORLS, where cats lose teeth due to their own cells dissolving them. Hmmm, that sounds a lot like immune confusion to me.
Biggest cause of immune confusion?
You guessed it: vaccinations.
One more reason to really think hard about revaccinating or perhaps, vaccinating at all (aside from that rabies vaccination, right?).
The Hand You're Dealt
- Inherited chronic disease plays a role in how healthy an animal’s teeth are going to be as well.
It’s pretty rare, but I’ll occasionally see a scenario like this: a dog or cat is fed a balanced, raw food diet, given raw bones regularly, minimal early life vaccines, and their teeth still look grungy.
That’s when my suspicions wake up: “Oh, something from the ancestors here…”
While it might seem that you’d have little to no say over inherited chronic disease, you actually have quite a bit of help to offer. Epigenetics speaks to this.
And, deeper yet, homeopathy does. If you’ve done all the right things in natural rearing and still see lingering symptoms that tell you a low, smoldering of chronic disease is present, hire a veterinary homeopath to get it cured.
It’ll take time, close attention to symptoms, and patience, but I know of nothing better to really extinguish the chronic stuff for good than classical homeopathy from someone professionally trained in it.
Discover Acute Veterinary Homeopathy
If you want to start by learning how to prescribe for the acute things life throws you, join our monthly membership training in animal homeopathy, Vital Animal Alpha.
You’ll get helpful know-how from our library of recorded lessons and join a supportive group that's online learning with me. We have a live monthly Q/A meeting to help you lose any confusion before it grows.
Learning acute homeopathy will save you money and heartache and risks that the ER serves up in plentiful supply.
And you know homeopathy is multi-species medicine, don’t you? So, everything you learn for your dog can apply to your cat, horse, iguana, or yourself! The remedies are "species agnostic" (the same remedy will work for a person or a horse, if it's prescribed properly).
When we have something so safe and so readily available to help these potentially painful operations to go smoothly and heal rapidly, it’d be a shame to not use homeopathy.
Tell us in the comments if you’ve tried homeopathic remedies in dental (or other surgical) procedures, and how your animals fared.