No one sane likes going to the dentist; it is something we do because we have to do so and often because we have no other choice.
In a survival situation, though, dental health is critical; here is what you must have as a minimum, particularly if you are preparing for a large-scale meltdown as it pertains to the services we have grown accustomed!
The Survival Dental Kit
We’ve researched dental items that should be in the dental kit of those that would be medically responsible in a long-term survival community. After consulting with a number of preparedness-minded dentists, we have put together what we believe will be a reasonable kit that can handle a number of dental issues.
Items that would be practical for the survival “dentist” include:
• Dental floss, dental picks, toothbrushes, toothpaste or baking soda.
• Dental or orthodontic wax as used for braces. Wax can be used to splint a loose tooth to its neighbors.
• A Rubber bite block to keep the mouth open. This provides good visualization and protection from getting bitten. A large eraser would serve the purpose.
• Cotton pellets, Cotton rolls, Q tips, gauze sponges (cut into small squares).
• Compressed air cans or a bulb syringe for drying up saliva on teeth.
• Commercial temporary filling material, such as Tempanol, Cavit, or Den-temp.
• Oil of cloves (eugenol), a natural anesthetic. Often found in commercial preparations such as:
Red Cross Toothache Medicine (85% eugenol)
Dent’s Toothache Drops (benzocaine in combo with eugenol)
• other oral analgesics like Hurricaine or Orajel (Benzocaine)
• Zinc oxide powder; when mixed with 2 drops of clove oil, it will harden into temporary filling cement.
• A bulb syringe to blow air and dry teeth for better visualization, and as a diagnostic tool to elicit discomfort in damaged teeth. A can of compressed air may be an alternative.
• An irrigation syringe to flush areas upon which work is being done
• Scalpel #15 or #10 to incise and drain abscesses
• Dental probes, also called “explorers”.
• Dental tweezers
• Dental mirrors
• Dental scrapers/scalers to remove plaque and probe questionable areas.
• Spoon excavators. These instruments have a flat circular tip that is used to “excavate” decayed material from demineralized areas of a tooth. A powered dental drill would be a much better choice, but not likely to be an option off the grid.
• Elevators. These are thin but solid chisel-like instruments that help with extractions by separating ligaments that hold teeth in their sockets. #301 or #12B are good choices. In a pinch, some parts of a Swiss army knife might work.
• Blood-clotting Agents: There are a number of products, such as Act-Cel, that help control bleeding in the mouth after extractions or other procedures. It comes a fabric square that can be cut to size and placed directly on the bleeding socket or gum.
• Pain medication and antibiotics. Medications in the Penicillin family are preferred if not allergic. For those allergic to Penicillin, Erythromycin can be used. For tooth abscesses, Clindamycin is a good choice.
There are two areas that we left out because of their technical nature – Extraction Forceps and Sutures.
We left them out because if you are preparing your dental survival kit, you really should consult a dental professional and get their opinion on what is best to have in stock as well as how to use it. There are a number of forceps, for example, that all have a different role and you really should understand each role before choosing what to keep in stock.
To learn more about dental health, including some suggested home remedies for dental pain, check out Backdoor Survival.