Want to hear a story? Make yourself a tea, get comfy and if you have the time and inclination, I'll tell you a tale of vulnerability that involves my personal health and fertility struggles, how I learned the hard way to do my own research and speak up for myself - not always an easy thing to do when you have a medical professional telling you their opinion - and how it all comes back to a common procedure with little appreciated, but potentially serious, health consequences.
It all started ten years ago in 2008 when a holistic dentist that I liked and trusted convinced me that I needed to have my wisdom teeth extracted. An x-ray revealed that there could be impaction (the threat of a wisdom tooth growing into another healthy tooth beside it) further complicated by the root growing "dangerously close to a nerve." To appeal to my vanity and practical side, I was told I might benefit from less crowding in my bottom row and easier flossing (completely empty promises, by the way). At the time, I thought the dentist had my best interests in mind, but I now suspect there may have been an exchange of money between himself and the maxillofacial oral surgeon. Who knows? All I know is that I was being steered in a certain direction and because I liked and trusted my dentist, I gave my agency away.
A date was set, my mom came from about three hours away to drive me after the surgery and otherwise look after me while I recovered from having all four wisdom teeth out at once. I was put under general anesthetic and whatever they did to my mouth while I was unconscious was brutal. Nothing I've yet to experience compares to the pain I felt when I woke up from having my wisdom teeth extracted.
It took me months to recover and there was infection (smelly and painful), but I didn’t realize this was unusual. I had taken my antibiotics properly. I had followed the instructions I had been given. Finally the bone and gum reformed over the unhealthy tissue sites and I assumed this nightmare was finally over.
Over the course of the next year following the surgery, no amount of self-care seemed to be effective as my vibrant health and good nature diminished. I became increasingly fatigued, anxious, ill-tempered and weepy. My husband didn't know what to do with me. He would take us out to a restaurant so I wouldn't need to prepare dinner and I'd end up bursting into tears over seemingly nothing. He felt embarrassed, like people in the restaurant were judging him with accusing eyes for making me cry, which wasn't the case. It was also a vulnerable time - we were trying to conceive our first baby and I could not become pregnant. No miscarriages, just two long years of infertility. Friends and family members advised that we just had to "stop thinking about it", as if somehow the stress of thinking about it was keeping me from becoming pregnant(!) I began gaining weight no matter how healthy I ate or how much I exercised. Finally, my confidence was eroded and I went from a very competent paralegal and assistant to our law firm's managing partner to my questioning my capabilities. Plus, I needed to sleep sixteen hours a day. With my husband's blessing, I quit my job and joked that I became "a lady who lunched." By the way, I 've noticed that I often use humor to cover up deep despair. When I would see a doctor, they told me I was just getting old... I was thirty. I did a lot of reading and began to suspect PCOS. Then I went to see a new doctor. He looked at my slender frame and wasn't sure about PCOS, but he ran the blood tests anyway and a thyroid panel. Sure enough I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and PCOS. I was devastated, but now at least I had a tangible diagnoses to work with.
This doctor put me on Synthroid and metformin (a diabetes drug that gets used off label for PCOS) and within six months, I was pregnant with our first child! We named her Vita, which means life in Latin because of how long we waited for this precious life to come to us. I will write about her birth story (and all my babies' birth stories) another day.
Emerson was born in 2014 without any fertility complications but, by then I had switched to a more wholesome diet and was actively managing my condition. I didn’t make the connection to my teeth until 2016 when I was listening to a health podcast and a guest was talking about how previously infected tooth extraction sites can slowly seep toxic bacteria into your blood stream and inexplicably cause sickness, even cancer. I curiously palpated the bottom of my jaw and could feel holes where my teeth were formerly and thought, “Oh boy, I might have this problem; cavitations.” The podcast interviewee said that sometimes you could have ozone injected into the old extraction site and sometimes that might be enough for it to rectify itself. That’s how I found a wonderful, extremely ethical, natural doctor that my family and I continue to see to this day having become friends with him and his family. He detected cervical cancer - again, I was devastated. I had lost my father to cancer when I was little more than a child myself. Like hell that I would let that happen to my girls, especially while they were so young. I was willing to do anything and everything it took so I faithfully began following my doctor's very strict protocol. I didn't share what was happening to me health-wise with many family or friends outside my immediate circle, so when they saw me taking such extreme measures, they were rightly quite confused. It wasn't that I was trying to hide it. It's hard for me to explain even now, but I intuitively sensed that other people projecting their grief onto me, pitying me, identifying me as a cancer victim and writing me off as dead for not choosing conventional therapy could impact me negatively. I felt like there was a fork in the road; I could either gather my inner strength and throw everything I had at overcoming this obstacle or I could let other people's well-intentioned sympathy pull me under into an abyss that I might never recover from. I chose very carefully who I shared this with because I knew strong reactions and opinions, though meant out of love, would harm me or divert my precious energy. Looking back, I made the right choice and the results soon spoke for themselves; I lost my spare tire, I felt vibrant and energized again, my hair became shiny and full, my skin glowed.
My natural doctor said that I would continue to struggle with health issues until I got my wisdom teeth extraction sites remediated, so I did my research and found a very good dentist located a few hours away that also used ozone therapy and plasma rich protein (a living substance made from my own blood with incredible healing properties) and excitedly booked my cavitation surgery for October 18, 2016. I found out I was pregnant with surprise twins on October 14, 2016. Of course the dental office didn’t want to do surgery on a pregnant mom and with good reason, but if it was not for their voice of caution, I would have done it. Now that I've experienced the pain and invasiveness of this surgery, I can fully appreciate why they would not want a pregnant mom to go through this - there would be risk of exposure to extremely toxic bacteria and pain relief options are so limited while childbearing.
The new surgery date was October 29th, 2018. The dentist had to incise my gums, pry open and drill through the bone plate where my wisdom teeth once were and scrape out necrosis: disgusting decayed bone and flesh. And I could even smell it as I lay there topically frozen, fighting back my fear and anxiety, but also grateful to be conscious unlike the last time. The infection and bacteria were in there all this time, never allowing me to be my healthiest, to shine my brightest. In the top right side was a pocket the size of four garden peas (that's huge, by the way) and the bottom right was apparently smaller, but full of an oily, black foul-smelling substance.
To make the plasma rich protein, the dentist had a local phlebologist come to the office and draw four vials of my blood, then they separated it by spinning it in a centrifuge until it formed this clot out of the plasma and living white blood cells. He inserted that preformed clot back into the newly cleaned holes for optimal healing and sutured them shut. X-rays for the left side seemed to indicate no problem there. Woot! No additional surgery required!
Now just think for a moment of all the people you know with unexplained health issues: cancer, arthritis, MS, chronic fatigue, infertility and repeating miscarriages. I’m not suggesting that cavitations are the sole cause of everyone's health problems and that I've now solved the problems of the world here, but I do think this is fairly common and nobody even knows about it. Even most dentists don’t know about it which is why I traveled several hundred kilometers to a very specialized dentist that has this knowledge and an appreciation for how sick it can make a person.
Dr. Weston A. Price did work in this area. He would extract teeth from unhealthy patients and implant them under the skin of rabbits and in no time at all those rabbits would have the very same disease as the human that the teeth came from – ulcerative colitis, arthritis, you name it, the rabbit version developed.
The irony is that, apart from this iatrogenic issue, I've actually never even had a cavity in all my life. When I tell people about my recent dental surgery, they assume that I have poor teeth, maybe poor nutrition or poor dental hygiene - no!! I have always had strong, beautiful, healthy teeth and I continue to be proud of this. This could all have been avoided, saving me from a lot of pain, leaving more money in my family's pocket. If you are looking for more information on this topic, I recommend the book "Uninformed Consent: The Hidden Dangers in Dental Care" by the late Hal Huggins and Levy Thomas.
As I shift my focus to recovering from my surgery, I’m taking extra Vitamin K2, Vitamin D3 & Vitamin A, I'm drinking mineral rich herbal infusions of organic nettles, alfalfa and horsetail, I'm making and applying clay poultices to my cheek to draw out the inflammation, I'm basking in red light therapy to rejuvenate my mitochondria, I'm resting as much as my kids will let me and, yes, I’m taking ibuprofen (two a day) for this very short, painful period of time because I 've noticed that every time I take one, the swelling comes down more and more.
And finally, I am not a doctor nor do I play one on the internet. None of what I've written here is meant to be construed as medical advice. I write purely from the perspective of a simple lay person that has done a certain amount of reading about a certain topic and has had this bad experience that has touched so many different aspects of my life. And if reading about my bad experience can save you or your family from going through the same pain and illness, I'd write it for you again and again, my friend.