Update, July 2021: This post was written four years ago. Find out what happened! Read Swishing with salt water reduces gum disease.
I went to the dentist yesterday for an exam and cleaning, five months after my previous visit. The best news is that the pockets that had deepened from using the Waterpik on too high a setting and too much angle have returned to 2s, 3s, and a couple of 4s.
Since that appointment, I returned to flossing and using dental picks, as described in a previous post, Rebuilding tooth enamel after drinking water with lemon. I continued to gently brush my gumlines at a 90 degree angle.
That did the job, except for one tooth. The back part of my upper right back molar has pockets measuring 7 and 8 mm (3 or lower is healthy). It was painful when the hygienist was probing with her tool. On earlier visits it’s been 4 or 5 mm deep, concerning but not dire.
Now it’s dire.
I’ve never had any pockets this deep, and of course they want me to see a periodontist. (Beyond that, the hygienist didn’t have much scraping to do, so my plaque levels are down.)
That appointment is two weeks away. It’s a free consultation in which the periodontist will examine the tooth and tell me my options along with prices. I’m sure one option will be extracting the tooth. Another will be periodontal treatment, which I imagine consists of getting way up in there and scraping out the infected tissues. That sounds painful, costly, and with no way to know whether it will recur. There could be other treatment options too.
Before I left, they took a couple of x-rays of the tooth. It has an old mercury filling in it, probably from when I was in my teens, that looks solid with no decay underneath. (I’ve had some mercury replaced but not all.) The tooth appears to be healthy, so there should be no need for a crown or a root canal. It is not loose.
Neither extraction nor periodontal treatment sounds like something I want to have happen, so I’m researching what I can do. It’s a good tooth with bad pockets on the back side, and I’d like to save it if I can.
The question is, Can I make a difference in two weeks?
Consulting with Dr. Google on “healing gum pockets” led me to Dr. Mercola’s articles. He is clear that a healthy diet supports good dental health, so I’m making sure I’m eating healthily and getting enough of vitamins K2 and D3, minerals calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, and curcumin (turmeric) to support the bone health and reduce the gum inflammation.
He mentions several practices designed to reduce the bad bacteria causing the gum/bone infection:
- Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water several times a day, pulling excess fluid out of the tissue and killing bacteria. I can easily anchor this new habit, attaching it to something I already do (using the bathroom). I’m using Himalayan salt or Real salt for the trace minerals and lack of additives.
- Using warm salt water with an irrigating device. I can use my WaterPik on my gum lines, with extra attention to those pockets with the special tip.
- Irrigating with sanguineria extract from the bloodroot plant. I have not heard of this before. I found a study showing it is effective for gingivitis (but not plaque), and coincidentally the study was two weeks long! I want to get some.
Finding sanguineria extract is something else. The Herb Bar, also in Austin, carries the actual bloodroot herb and cautions that it is strong and can result in poisoning if used improperly. I could consult with an herbalist, but that would take time.
I found a recipe online from a cavity-prone family that makes their own sanguineria mouthwash, but it takes two weeks to make, using bloodroot, vodka, myrrh (a mouth healing herb), and mint for flavor. They sell the herbs as well; add your own vodka. (Interesting story that Viadent mouthwash used to contain sanguineria, but after Colgate bought the company, it no longer did.)
And then of course, there’s Amazon. Based on positive customer reviews (61% gave 5 stars) and shipping time, I’m ordering this one, a bloodroot extract from Eclectic Institute.
Amazon cross-sells (“Frequently Bought Together”), and I was curious about a product Amazon linked with this one, Christopher’s Herbal Tooth and Gum Powder.
I read the reviews — again, 61% were 5 stars, which I interpret that to mean it may not work for everyone, but when it does, it works well.
Some reviewers packed it around a tooth with deep pockets and slept that way with good results. I want to try that. Others brush with it or dip their toothpaste-laden toothbrush in it.
Intriguingly, this Christopher’s brand, formulated by a doctor, has several other remedies for infection, facial beauty, tissue and bone, and many more issues. This is my first encounter.
I shall see how effective these two remedies (along with diet and hygiene) are for healing my deep pocket and restoring lost bone, and will report back after my periodontal visit on Feb. 2.
October 22, 2018: Update on my deep dental pocket. Nothing I tried was able to return the pocket to normal, although I was able to keep it from progressing for a couple of years through diet and supplementation. I was considering going to Mexico for periodontal work.
When I visited my dentist last week, my hygienist suggested laser treatment, which she’s been training in. The laser light goes under the gums and gets rid of any diseased tissue while stimulating the body to make fresh new tissue. It was not painful. I didn’t need or receive any anesthetic or topical analgesic. The two spots in my mouth where she worked were a bit achy and tender for a couple of days. I didn’t take any OTC pain relievers.
You have to use special precautions for no longer than a week after treatment, like not swishing hard, brushing the gums, eating crunchy foods. It feels pretty good right now, and the cost was under $200 for two teeth.
December 4, 2020 update. Well, the laser treatment didn’t heal the pocket. Everything I tried slowed the progression down. To prevent further bone loss, I had the tooth pulled in November 2019. It’s healed up nicely, and my other pockets have gotten smaller.
My new hygienist suggested that rinsing my mouth for one minute with warm salt water after brushing would also reduce pockets by killing bacteria. So I’m doing that. See link at top of this post.
Hi there sorry for my intrusion but for my own health sake I’m curious how your appointment went and if it’s shown any signs of healing
Hi, Cleo. Thanks for asking. I’ve been meaning to post about this and hadn’t gotten to it yet.
I had to postpone my appointment due to a schedule conflict. When I saw the periodontist a month after originally scheduled, he recommended treatment that would cost over $1,000, and it was up to me to find out if my insurance covered some of the materials to be used. There seemed to be no choice about the periodontist treating 3 adjacent teeth, when I only had one that was affected. The x-ray showed a bit of cloudiness around the roots of the tooth. Since there’s no pain and the tooth is not loose, I have continued self-treatment.
The most effective thing I have found so far is ozonated coconut oil, which I apply to the gumline with my finger, and then use a dental tool (sold at pharmacies) to poke it up under my gumline. I’ve been using it daily for about a month.
It seems to slowly be healing the pocket, which becomes smaller and shallower. I’m committed to using this daily until I run out of the small $7 jar I bought at a local compounding pharmacy. Then I will reassess!
I’m interested in your 2wk results after going back to the dentist
Hi, Debi. The dental pocket has stabilized at about 7 mm since that time. I have not had periodontal work. I switched to a biological dentist, who used ozonated oxygen to treat the inflammation. She told me that pocket probably got inflamed due to long-ago wisdom tooth extraction where extra gum tissue was not removed, allowing food to get trapped.
I also switched to an integrative medical doctor, who recommended using Dr. Ellie’s system for oral health (https://drellie.com/my-system/).
I also did genetic testing, discovered I have an MTHFR mutation that can make inflammation chronic. My new doctor recommended micronutrient testing, and I have recently changed my diet and started supplementing to make up for nutritional deficiencies. I’ve just been doing this for a few weeks, but already the pocket feels like it is less inflamed.
Where in the world did you go to get laser treatment for $200 for 2 teeth? I went to a periodontist a few days ago and he quoted me $900 but my insurance would pay 40% bringing the cost to around $735 for one tooth that has a 6 mm pocket.
My dental hygienist had just gotten training in using a laser, and she practiced on me.
I know you’re very much into making your own natural products, but I’d like to share something that cures my periodontal disease. It’s called Therasol. I buy the concentrated bottle because it works out more economical for me. It’s not your typical mouthwash, not burning like alcohol. It has transformed my mouth into a different mouth. I don’t sell it, I don’t profit in any way from telling anyone this, I only speak from the heart of a girl who was panicking over gum disease. You might want to try it.
Karen, wow. Just now reading your full commment. Not sure what happened that I didn’t see it before. Anyway, what a journey. It sounds like there is a correlation between stretching the hip and back spasms. You may need to strengthen first, and then stretch. The Piriformis connects the sacrum and femur, so it does cross the SI joint. When I had SI joint issues, I felt it in the actual SI joint, not in the back. Now…some people call that the back, because it IS in the back part of the torso, but I think of the back as being where the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae are, and the SI joint is part of the pelvis. I feel like the second PT is onto something good. If the belt helps you feel more stable, then maybe keep wearing it? Bone broth is great!
What kind of laser was that your hygenist used for your deep pocket?
I don’t know.