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First off, I am NOT a dentist or any other certified medical professional aside from a first responder. That being said....


I'm a big believer in the "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" school of thought. I'm also very sensitive to dental pain. I've endured some pretty intense physical pain with little more than a grimace, but a tooth ache turns me into a 6'2" baby. The idea of dealing with cavities, abscesses or any other dental issues in the PAW, remedied with crude moonshine and some archaic tool makes me want to just have them all pulled out now and get implants.

Embarrassingly enough, I went for years without visiting the dentist. Partly due to cost, but mostly due to the ...general discomfort. Recently, I was regaling in a story with some friends that by the end of the tale, I was cleaning a pretty deep puncture wound and stitching myself up with fishing line and an upholstery needle. After basking in my moment of manly supremacy for a few seconds, one of the group just haaaaaad to add his two cents by saying "Don't get too high and mighty there Rambo. You wont even go to the damned dentist because you're afraid of a little drilling." Of course everyone laughed but it really gave me a proverbial “boot in the arse” to apply the “do what you need to do, not what you want to do” attitude that I (try to) use in the rest of my life, to my Achilles heel.

After spending about 20 hours in the dentist chair over several visits, my teeth are as good as new. Minus one extraction. All four of my wisdom teeth broke through years ago and never really caused me any pain (until recently) so they left them alone. In 24 hours, one of my wisdom teeth went from no pain at all, to debilitating agony and the surrounding gum being swollen with infection (abscess). While I will be in the dentist chair early in the morning, this experience made me think about how situations like this will be when there is no dentist.

We can do everything possible to our teeth in anticipation for the PAW, up to and including having all of them extracted and implants put in as a fore mentioned. However, future generations post PAW as well as those of us that have pre-existing dental issues that were not as prepared will have to receive some sort of care.

Wisdom teeth specifically are an issue that affect even those of us with perfect dental health and to compound the problem, they grow in at different times for different people and can’t usually be extracted as easily as other teeth. From what I’ve read, wisdom teeth are meant to “replenish” the teeth that we’ve lost. Until the last century, it was normal for people to lose teeth, especially molars throughout life. So really, better oral hygiene has caused wisdom teeth to be a relatively new problem in that we no longer have the “extra room” in our mouths.

The only viable solution that I can see is the same as most other dental issues will be dealt with... extraction. Given the issues that come with removing wisdom teeth (Impaction, the roots being wrapped around the jaw bone, etc.) the best solution that I can come up with is to extract the molar in front of the wisdom tooth (known as “second molars”). Thereby allowing the wisdom tooth room to grow. In addition, the “second molar” will be an easier extraction.


Abscess


Impaction of wisdom teeth.

I've seen several "Dental Survival Kits" on the web but most consisted of little more than cotton pellets, tweezers, a dental mirror and some Motrin.

http://www.ssrsi.org/911/Medical/dentist.htm
This site had more information on the subject than I've found anywhere else. Including dental manuals.

I guess that the point to this rant is to remind everyone of the often over looked prep area of dentistry.
 
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