Dental Care in a Collapse Situation
Your medical supplies should vary depending on how long you anticipate being the sole medical resource for your family or survival group. If you expect to be power-down for a few days or a few weeks, you probably won’t need a lot of dental equipment. If there is a true collapse situation, however, that equipment will be very important to have on hand. If you’ve ever had a bad toothache, you know how it can cause your work efficiency to deteriorate.
The basis of modern dentistry is to save every tooth if at all possible. In the old days (not biblical times, I mean 50 years ago), the main treatment for a diseased tooth was extraction. If we find ourselves in a collapse situation, that’s how it will be in the future. If you try to put off extracting a tooth because it “isn’t that bad yet”, it will likely get worse. It could cause an infection that could spread to your bloodstream (called sepsis) and cause major damage. The important thing to know is that 90% of all dental emergencies can be treated by extracting the tooth. To see what’s involved in extracting a tooth in an austere environment, go to this very interesting youtube video:
This video shows a dental extraction carried out with a swiss army knife and a dental extraction forceps at the base camp at Mount Everest.
A Dental Kit and Crisis Medicine
What needs to be in the group medic’s dental kit? Gloves are one item that you should have in quantity. Don’t ever stick your hands in someone’s mouth without gloves. What they say about human bites isn’t too far from the truth. Instead of latex, buy nitrile gloves, as they will not irritate someone who has an allergy to latex. Other items that are useful to the survival dentist are:
Dental floss, Toothbrushes
Dental pick and mirror
Dental or orthodontic wax for braces (even a candle will do in a pinch)
Cotton pellets, Q tips, gauze sponges
Temporary filling material like Tempanol, Cavit or Den-temp
Oil of cloves (Eugenol), a natural anesthetic
Extraction forceps. These are like pliers with curved ends that come in upper/lower version
Elevators, one small, one medium. these are thin but solid chisel like instruments that help with extractions (some parts of a Swiss army knife might work in a pinch).
Rubber Bite Block to prevent from getting bitten (large pink erasers will do fine)
Pain medication and antibiotics or oil of oregano, a natural antibacterial
You can make your own temporary dental cement by mixing a drop of Oil of Cloves (Eugenol) and some Zinc Oxide powder. 4 fluid ounces of Eugenol and a pound of Zinc Oxide powder will cost you about $20 total and will be enough to replace fillings or fasten loose crowns for an entire community. With the commercial products like Tempanol or Cavit, you get enough for a few uses for not much less money than getting much larger quantities of Eugenol and Zinc Oxide.
Here’s a good YouTube video on mixing the cement:
During the Vietnam war, medical personnel reported that there were as many people presenting for dental problems as presented with medical problems. You can expect the same thing to happen in your survival community if the you-know-what hits the fan. True medical preparedness means you’re ready for dental as well as medical issues.