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Author Topic: The Caveman Dentist  (Read 21854 times)

Offline Matt Emery

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The Caveman Dentist
« on: September 08, 2008, 08:02:03 AM »
How would a caveman remedy a toothache?

Perhaps a tooth extraction was performed by hammering the tooth out, with the aid of a wooden chisel and a rock mallet. For pain relief, I've heard of Kava (a tranquiliser) and Clove Leaf Oil (an anaesthetic) being used, as well as some mystical options such as boiling worms and hanging a frog around one's jaw. Whilst brushing likely involved the use of chewed twigs and fingers.

Does anyone have some tips and tricks on how to remedy a toothache; caveman style?

"Be true to your biology"

Offline Elysium

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Re: The Caveman Dentist
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2008, 03:32:12 PM »
I read an account, supposedly true, of a fellow who did the whole go live in the wild on his own thing. He took some basic tools with him and built his own cabin etc.

Anyway at some point he developed a problem with a tooth (a molar). He tried to use some pliers to pull the tooth. Instead he crushed the tooth. Next step he cut his own gum to enable him to get the remnants of the tooth out. His description was pretty graphic and involved some passing out, blood and much pain I recall.


Would a caveman have gotten a toothache?? I guess trauma would have damaged some teeth.

Weston Price in describing the eskimo details how their teeth were very worn down from how they used them in their day to day life, yet still had no decay etc.
Regards,
Craig Miles

Offline BigKhanz

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Re: The Caveman Dentist
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2008, 04:45:08 PM »
I've mentioned the Eskimo's lack of tooth problems before in another thread and how it's interesting how they have almost now problems yet have a diet that has almost no vegetables, fruits, or plant products whatsoever. They get all the nutrients they need by eating the organs of the animals they hunt.

And as to the guy taking out his own tooth, there was a scene in the movie Castaway that dealt with just that scenario. Tom Hanks had to knock out his own tooth and passed out.
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: The Caveman Dentist
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2008, 11:31:20 AM »
And as to the guy taking out his own tooth, there was a scene in the movie Castaway that dealt with just that scenario. Tom Hanks had to knock out his own tooth and passed out.

Yeah, that scene at once haunts and inspires me - I generally always remember it when I have a toothache too  :-X
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Elysium

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Re: The Caveman Dentist
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2008, 06:13:38 PM »
I found that story I was talking about...
Quote
I recently purchased a copy of The Log Cabin by Len McDougall (wilderness intructor with Timberwolf Wilderness Adventures in Michigan and author of several books on tracking and the outdoors) from Amazon (yes - I don't get all my books gratis) and came across a passage that had me thinking on dental care and preparedness. Just to set the scene: In the Spring of 2001, Len packed a grubstake and a couple of loads of handtools, and went deep into the North Woods. Using only the materials available on site and what he could carry in on foot, he pitched a tent to tide him over until the roof was up. Then he cut a few trees, built his own cabin, dug his own well, and lived a year in splendid isolation before returning to the hubbub and pleasures of Petoskey, Michigan.

"Then one day I was crunching a mouthful of honey-roasted peanuts when the rearmost bottom molar on my left side just spilt in two. This really sucked, because I knew what was coming. The journalist in me understood that dental problems were a part of the homesteader's life that had to be dealt with without outside help, while insufficient funds in my savings account prohibited going to a dentist in any case.
After four days the broken molar had begun to ache from its roots. The pain was tolerable with an assist from ibuprofen at bedtime, but then the gum began to swell. I continued to chew with the broken tooth, hoping to loosen it from it's moorings, and kept it brushed clean, but after a week my entire jaw became swollen from an infection at the molar's roots.
******
Most critical, I figured, was preventing the abscess from being a closed infection. If pressure was allowed to build under the molar, the trapped sepsis might be forced into my bloodstream, where it would likely cause a systemic reaction with a debilitating and potentially fatal fever. If thathappened, death would come slowly and almost certainly.
First I decided to localise the infection. I soaked a washcloth in boiling hot water, placed it into a zipper-lock bag, and wrapped them both inside a dry towel. Then I held the makeshift heat pack against my jaw, directly on top of the abscessed molar, where it created an artificial fever to bring the poison to a head at the gum, thus preventing the infection from getting into my bloodstream.
When the applied heat had caused a blister of sorts on the outside of my gum, making the skin there taut like the skin of a balloon, I took a large gauage carpet needle from my sewing kit. With an index finger crooked into the side of my mouth to expose the gum, I felt around for the lost swollen spot with the middle finger of my other hand, which held the needle pinched between thumb and forefinger. I didn't bother to sterilise the needle because it couldn't have carried anything worse than the germs that were already there. Regrettably, I didn't have a mirror either, because that might have made the operation less hit-and-miss than it was.
Predictably, the most swollen spot was directly over a root, very close to my jawbone. That was good. I steeled myself for the pain, then shoved the carpet needle directly into that spot, perpendicular to the gum. Tears came to my eyes as I drove the needle inward until I felt the tip scrape solidly against a root. I wiggled the needle in a circular motion and felt the electric shock of a pus sack bursting from around its still living nerve, followed by an immediate relief as pressure was released from the sensitive area.
With thumb and forefinger, I squeezed the infected gum around the hole I'd lanced. I wiped away a copious amount of yellowish pus with tissue paper, reducing the size of the swelling considerably as I did so. When the tissue came away bloody, I figured the infection had been purged - for now at least. I hadn't solved the problem, but by lancing the gum I'd insured that the molar wouldn't become more than a painful distraction.
Now came the hard part. The abscess had killed the tooth, and the socket would keep infecting, trying to push it upward, as long as the molar was left in place. I had no choice but to pull it.
Oral surgery wasn't one of the contingencies I'd prepared for, so I didn't have much in the way of dental tools. I took the big linesman's pliers from my tool bag and wiped them clean with alcohol pads. I snapped the disinfected open and closed a few times; I doubted a dentist would approve, but it would have to do.
By feel alone I managed to get the pliers jaws locked around the molar. Tooth material is hard, and the pliers slipped a couple of times before I got a grip strong enough to twist against. When I did get a solid lock, I rocked the molar back and forth with the steel jaws. The pain was almost blinding as I heard the cracking sounds of flesh tearing away from tooth. My vision narrowed to a black tunnel and bright spots danced in front of me as I channeled the energy of this powerful stimulus to rock the molar even harder.
It came free with a cracking sound, and I was holding the dead tooth before me, still gripped in the pliers jaws. The good news was that I'd extracted the roots completely on one side. The bad news was that the other two roots had broken off below the gum line. I rinsed my mouth with salt water and spat blood until the hemorrhaging stopped. With my tongue I could feel the remainder of the tooth still embedded just below the gum, where I couldn't get at it with tools.
******
With some trepidation of the unknown, I honed my Spyderco folding knife to shaving sharpness and prepared to prepare oral surgery on myself. I laid the tip against the outer gum, directly over where the dead root lay trapped, and pushed the cutting edge inward through the soft tissue until it stopped against the harder root. I could only imagine what was happening as I operated by feel alone, but I felt the gum seperate from around the embedded root. I used the knife to pry tissue away from tooth until the root lay exposed.
Then I went to work with the big linesman's pliers. Blood was flowing, causing me to spit bright red from time to time as I felt around for a gripw ith the pliers, but my endorphins were apparently working because the pain was negligible. When I felt the jaws close securely onto the broken root, I gripped the pliers handles firmly and twisted hard. A bright spot of pain formed in front of my vision as the root rocked free of my jaw, finally coming free in the jaws of my pliers.
Like an iceberg, the extracted root was larger than it had seemed from the surface, measuring roughly half an inch square by a quarter inch thick. I rinsed my mouth with salt water to help stop the bleeding, glad to have the irritating chunk of bone removed, but a little concerned that the incision I'd made to get at it might not heal properly.
******
As it turned out, I needn't have worried. The incision and empty socked healed quickly and without secondary infection. I kept the damaged gum brushed regularly to keep out food particles and to toughen it, and in two weeks it was healed enough to chew on that side."


Regards,
Craig Miles

Offline Asaahi

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Re: The Caveman Dentist
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2008, 02:36:34 PM »
Hey guys. Being from Pakistan, which is both third world and old school, my parents usually always had some natural remedy for every common ailment I had.

So for teeth problems like aches, bacteria, or cavities that are developing, a great fix is cinnamon sticks. Not the candy :P Try to get it from a farmers market or someplace like that because the packaged  stuff is no good. So next, you take one stick and boil it in 3/4 a cup of water, stirring and smashing it the whole time, till you get all the oils out. Let the mixture cool just a little, then take all the liquid in your mouth and swish around (YES THIS BURNS LIKE ALL HELL, HANG IN THERE). Do this for a week before you go to bed, after you brush, and don't rinse your mouth too much or you lose all the oils.

This should fix ya up. Though if you still have pain, clove oil will definitely get rid of that. I don't like getting rid of pain though, it's like your ignoring your bodies messages.
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Offline BigKhanz

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Re: The Caveman Dentist
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2008, 06:34:23 PM »
I'll 2nd both the cinnamon sticks and the clove oil. Both were used when I was growing up
Guys like me aren't born this way, actually we're not born at all. We're hatched from vulture eggs left in the sun, then raised by Wolves...

Offline abdominator

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Re: The Caveman Dentist
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2009, 10:47:53 AM »
ya"ll haven't seen plaque coming out of your teeth till you have brushed with organic coconut oil. enough said.


ojsmoothy

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Re: The Caveman Dentist
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2010, 07:06:16 PM »
I've read up on a practice called "Natural Hygiene" (google it for better info) and they practice water only fasting to cure the body of ailments. Supposedly there are instances where someone with a cavity or infected tooth goes on a water fast for a week and the infected tooth actually just falls out. In theory by not eating anything your body can devote all its energy into healing/rejecting the infected area.