I had to go the dentist to check out what to do for 2 cracked fillings. This always makes me nervous, since my teeth and gums are very sensitive, even when merely having my teeth cleaned.
Bad news. Not only were my fillings cracked, but also the dentist informed me that decay had developed underneath. The answer may be appear very simple: get a shot of novocaine, or use nitrous oxide/laughing gas, and get the teeth fixed. However, over the last ten years, I have not had any drugs in my body of any kind, so what choices do I have now? I began to ask myself, “Can I do this without any anesthetic?” I wasn’t sure. I tried convincing myself that this is an invasive, minor surgical procedure and therefore have the right to use novocaine IN THIS SITUATION, just to be somewhat comfortable. But my own mind wouldn’t let me get off that easily. I had a homebirth with no drugs and intervention. Surely, I could have 2 little teeth drilled if I could get a 7 pound 6 ounce baby out of my body. The debate in my mind lasted for three months as I investigated what dentist to use, what techniques were important, what substances should be used in the filling, what supplements and herbs should be used before, during and after treatment to help with detoxifying and strengthening my body.
I finally decided to go with my local dentist. Even though he is not really “holistic”, he has always been totally respectful to myself and my family with our alternative choices. No x-rays? OK. No Fluoride? OK. He respects our differences of opinion. The main deciding factor was that my 8-year-old son was totally at ease in his office and loves going to the dentist.
I knew that I could trust this dentist and he had agreed to do the filling with no novocaine and using a non-mercury based filling without hesitation. The next decision I had to make was what supplementation I should use. I began taking garlic and vitamin C regularly for two weeks before my scheduled appointment. I am not a big user of supplements so I try to stick to the basics only. I went to our local health food store, Natural Marketplace, and spoke to David, the owner, who I also trusted. He told me his wife had also done the same type of procedure and used clove oil on her gums to naturally anesthetize the area, and used Bach’s ‘Rescue Remedy’ cream on the outside of her jaws on her face before and after the drilling. He also gave other suggestions (which I did not need to use), but included arnica cream to rub onto to one’s face to prevent swelling, soreness, and any black and blue marks (none of which I experienced). David also stated that their were homeopathic remedies that could be used if one experienced any toxic side effects due to the release of mercury gases form my old fillings (i.e. fatigue, moodiness, depression, etc.). Luckily, none of those effects came my way.
I began to use specific visualization techniques such as ‘seeing’ how I would look in the dentist chair, while he was drilling my teeth, in a state of calmness and experiencing no pain or discomfort. I then visualized how I would feel after the drilling. I would feel energetic, excited and empowered. I also used repeated positive affirmations (i.e. “Anything is possible, no matter what!). I incorporated these two techniques with my daily workout routine when my energy level was very high and my heartbeat was up. In this way, I anchored the positive thoughts and visualized them over and over again in this intense state. This is one way of outsmarting your brain, which, during both intense exercise and significant fear or pain, raises your heart rate. By creating a raised heart rate and linking to it a positive visual and auditory affirmation, I built something in my mind to turn to that was anchored in there.
On the day of the procedure, I took garlic, vitamin c, and started with Echinacea tincture. I went in feeling a bit nervous, but continually kept repeating positive affirmations and visualizing my end result. I used rescue cream on my face and put clove oil tincture on my gums. The dentist went very slow with the drill and used lots of water to decrease the amount of friction and heat on my teeth. He also used hand tools as much as possible to decrease the use of the drill. He explained exactly what he was doing at each step and gave me a mirror to watch. I also squeezed a pressure point (the skin between my thumb and forefinger) to help reduce pain centers.
I couldn’t believe it only took 30 minutes. The dentist had scheduled in one hour of his time so he would not be rushed. I walked out feeling exhilarated. I accomplished something everyone told me was not possible. Where did the notion in my head start to define pain to a filling when I never experienced it before? As a matter of fact, is the pain we feel after going to the dentist from the novocaine shot and its after effects? I never even thought of that before.
I believe this is the same for birthing. I was able to have a healthy and happy homebirth because I refused intervention into my innate expression of life. My hope is to help other’s use these techniques to understand how to live life to the fullest.
Dr. Lisa Rubin, Ph.D. is a holistic counselor who focuses on motivation and transformation. Her private practice is in East Cobb on the corner of Johnson Ferry and Paper Mill. She has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and is the Director of the Student Success Center at Life University. She also runs educational workshops throughout the community.