Peter Varley BDSc, FDSRCS, DFHom(Dent.), and Richard
Fischer DDS, FAGD. (profile)
Homeopathy is a medical system that enjoys
a long and rich heritage of scientific literature and a world-wide reputation
for safe and effective therapeutics. Although its basic tenets go back
to Paracelsus and Hippocrates, it was codified into a systematic medical
science in 1789 by Dr Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. Hahnemann had
his primary text, called 'The Organon', published in 1810 and he based
this science on three fundamental principles.
Principles of Homeopathy
Law of Similars
The first principle of homeopathy is the
Law of Similars. Homeopathy is 'a natural pharmaceutical science in which
the practitioner seeks to find a substance that would cause, in overdose,
symptoms similar to those a sick person is experiencing. When the match
is made, that substance is given in very small, safe doses, often with
This law is also used in allopathic medicine.
Immunizations are based on the Law of Similars. Modern pharmacology has
rephrased this principle into the Arndt-Schulz Law, 'Every drug has a stimulating
effect in small doses, while larger doses inhibit, and much larger doses
It must be recognized that symptoms are,
in reality, manifestations of the organism's attempt to heal itself - to
regain homeostasis. When a person has a systemic infection, he will develop
a fever. The fever is not the disease, but the body's attempt to rid itself
of the infection. The homeopathic approach is to respect the body's attempts
to heal itself and gently support the fever.
The second principle is the minimum dose.
Medicines given in material doses carry with them adverse side effects.
Hahnemann, in order to minimize these undesirable effects, serially diluted
the medicine to determine the minimum dose which would work. These dilutions
are called potencies.
The last tenet of classical homeopathy
is the use of the single remedy. The actions of medicines are tested on
healthy human subjects one medicine at a time. These tests are called 'provings'.
Vitality of the Patient
The first factor to consider when prescribing
is the vitality of the patient. In general, the higher their vitality,
the higher the potency you can use. Most of the remedies for acute situations
in a dental office would be used anywhere from 6C to 200C.
Emotional vs Physical
The second factor to consider is whether
the symptoms are more emotionally or physically based. When more emotionally
based (an anxiety state for example), they reflect a higher plane of pathology.
Homeopaths rank the emotional and spiritual levels at the highest plane
of pathology. Below that is the mental, and then below that the physical.
The higher the plane of pathology, the higher the potency you may use.
Acute Vs Chronic State
The third factor to consider in potency
selection is the acuteness of the problem. Usually acute ailments with
intense symptoms warrant higher potencies.
The fourth factor is your own certainty
that you have the right remedy. The more certain you are, the higher the
potency you might use.
Frequency of Repetition
The more acute the condition, the more
frequently you may need to repeat the remedy.
Specific Conditions in Dental Practice
Below are some of the acute or specific
conditions that occur in the dental surgery and how homeopathy may be used
to treat them.
The anxiety remedy used most frequently
is Aconite. This kind of fear is exhibited by sudden panic, dry mouth;
the fidgety type of patient.
Anxiety with the Gelsemium patient is the
one that is drowsy, weak-kneed and trembling. They are usually a bit nauseous
or have a nervous diarrhea. This is the kind of fear you may have experienced
walking into a final exam, when you are feeling unprepared.
For blunt trauma, bruises and soft tissue
injuries - the primary remedy is Arnica. Most people who have used homeopathy
probably started with Arnica. Arnica is for a tooth extraction, a crown
preparation, haematomas, adjusting orthodontic wires, a blow to the jaw
- anything of that nature. It has been said that if homeopathy had nothing
but Arnica to offer the world, it would be a priceless medical art. Arnica
helps with the pain, swelling and bleeding due to any bruising types of
injuries. Arnica also works on an emotional level. So if there is 'mental
trauma' following a long and stressful dental appointment Arnica is wonderful
in helping the patient cope with that.
Hypericum is specifically for trauma to
nerves; such as a deep filling that is close to the pulp, after root-canal
therapy, for fractured incisors where you have a near exposure or exposure
of the nerve, for paraesthesias following a mandibular third molar extraction.
Hypericum is called the 'Arnica for the nerves'. Any time you have a nerve
injury, Hypericum is the first remedy you think about.
It is used for muscle pains and muscle
spasms. The key notes with Mag phos are better from warmth, worse from
cold, and better from pressure. A patient who has an acute TMJ flare-up
and wants warmth, and holds their hand over the masseter muscle to provide
some relief; needs Mag phos. This type of muscle spasm may result from
an injury (such as an injection), or simply may result from having a patient
hold their mouth open during a prolonged dental visit.
If Hypericum is the 'Arnica of the nerves'
then Ruta is the 'Arnica of the bones'. For any kind of periosteal injuries
or bone surgery, contusions, apicectomies or when you are lifting a flap
in periodontal surgery. Another indication for Ruta would be when orthodontic
patients get their braces tightened or their spacers put in. The soreness
resulting from spreading of the teeth usually responds to Arnica, but when
Arnica does not work, Ruta usually will.
Ruta is also a good remedy following endodontic
therapy where the file is overextended through the periodontal ligament
into the alveolar bone. Ruta is the first remedy to think of for dry sockets.
Sometimes a dry socket may initially call for Belladonna, if it has that
acute, throbbing type of pain. However Ruta is usually the remedy that
is going to help bring the healing to completion.
With any of these pain remedies a dose
every half hour to an hour is recommended initially. That may be every
fifteen minutes for some people, it may be three times a day for someone
else, depending on their tolerance and the level of pain.
When we think of the great bleeding remedies,
Phosphorus is certainly the most impressive; not only because it works
so well, but because the bleeding with a phosphorous patient is so very
red. This is indicated for bright red (arterial) blood flow.
child is fractious and whining, wishing to be carried or petted, consider
Chamomilla. Where there is excessive salivation or halitosis, consider
Certain constitutional types are more prone
to outbreaks of oral ulceration. Nat mur, for example, will often discourage
those kinds of people from taking too much salt in the diet.
Propolis tincture applied topically to
the ulcerated tissues, takes the pain away within seconds. This can also
be used as a mouthwash if the ulcers are at the back of the tongue or throat,
where you can not otherwise reach.
treatment of the predisposition to cold sores, constitutional therapy is
indicated. The key remedies to be considered are Nat mur, Sepia and Sulphur.
Long term zinc (15-30mg daily) and vitamin C (1-2g daily) supplementation
may also be helpful.
Belladonna is a remedy for the acute endodontic
abscess, if the symptoms fit. Where there is intense throbbing pain which
comes on rather rapidly and is aggravated by any kind of pressure or movement,
Hepar sulph is for the chronic periapical
abscess, where there may still be a little cold sensitivity in the tooth
(or the patient may be chilly in general). With Hepar sulph, potency selection
for endodontic lesions may be particularly critical. Low potencies (6C
or below) tend to promote the abscess to point and drain, higher potencies
(30C or above) tend to suppress and shrink the abscess.
Silica is useful in the management of the
draining periapical abscess. It helps support the drainage of these abscesses,
typically when there is a sinus draining into the buccally sulcus. It also
helps the body throw off foreign bodies.
prevention of bacterial endocarditis when appropriate antibiotics are unavailable,
or where the patient refuses to take them, consider Pyrogen 30 twice
daily, for one day prior to and seven days after the procedure.
Chronic Dental Prescribing
Myofascial Pain Dysfunction
condition occurs when a person may not respond to conventional treatment.
The stress levels will not allow the patient to relax. This results in
aching of the muscles or damage to the related jaw joints. Addressing the
stress levels through constitutional prescribing will improve the patient's
response to conventional treatment.
suffering acute stress or depression following a major life event such
as bereavement, divorce or redundancy may benefit from a constitutional
assessment. Disorders of the joint cause such profound and diverse sequelae
in the patient's overall health, they serve as a good vehicle to illustrate
the indivisibility of oral and systematic health. The various signs and
symptoms of TMJ disorders fully permeate one fourth of the pages of Kent's
Repertory. They include headaches, earaches, grinding and popping noises
in the joint,
vertigo, pains in the neck, shoulders, and back, indigestion, poor balance,
unstable posture and many others.
with unexplained advanced periodontal disease, who does not respond to
conventional treatment, may be suffering from mild immune deficiency. A
detailed history is taken to discover which remedy applies to their phenotype.
The aim of this remedy is to give their whole body a 'kick-start' to revitalise
their immune response.
to the conventional therapies of Oral Hygiene Instruction, scaling, root
planing and periodontal surgery, different constitutional remedies may
be used for different patients with the same advanced periodontal disease.
A few of these include:
weak, pale blonde with acne and catarrh - Hepar sulph.
intransigent brunette - Thuja
pale, retiring, hard-working waif - Silica
pale, blue-eyed, shy blonde - Pulsatilla
tall, fiery red-head - Phosphorus
impulsive, irritable worrier - Argent Nit
of nutrient supplements and general dietary advice is another area that
the homeopathic dentist would be considering to support these patients.
presents a brief overview of the role of homeopathy in dentistry as it
relates to acute and chronic prescribing. Correct homeopathic prescribing
for dental maladies will frequently provoke salutary systemic effects.
This is simply a reflection of the natural law of cure and illustrates
the fact that the dental apparatus is an indivisible component of the integrated
whole person. It cannot be otherwise; and for this we should all be grateful
- doctor and patient alike.
C B. A Textbook of Dental Homeopathy Saffron Walden: The C W Daniel
Company Ltd, 1995.
British Homeopathic Dental Association
2b Franklin Road
Watford. Herts. WD1 1QD
Tel: 01923 233336
Fax: 01923 233336
Faculty of Homeopathy
2 Powis Place
Great Ormond Street
London WC1N 3HT
Tel: 0171 837 9469
Fax: 0171 278 7900
Courses are held in London and Glasgow.
The Foundation Course, Parts 1-5. A five
day introductory course for Doctors, Veterinary Surgeons, Dentists, Pharmacists,
Nurses, Midwives, Podiatrists and Para-medical disciplines.
The Intermediate Course - Parts 6-10. A
five day course for Doctors, Dentists and Vetinary Surgeons. Three days
are Multi-disciplinary and, for dentists, 2 days specialise in Dental Homeopathy
This course is in preparation for the Diploma in Dental Homeopathy Examination
held once a year by the Faculty. Details can be obtained from the Faculty
of Homeopathy (address above).
Richard Fischer DDS, FAGD.
Richard is in general dental practice near
Washington DC. His practice has developed a holistic approach to dentistry
over many years, with an emphasis on homeopathy He has lectured throughout
the United States and internationally. He has appeared on National Radio
many times and published a wealth of papers on dental homeopathy In 1984
Richard was appointed Vice President of the National Board of Homeopathy
in Dentistry as well as Course Director of Dental Seminars for the centre.
In 1994 he addressed the British Homeopathic Dental Association's Annual
Conference in London.