Regularly check your supplies before SHTF. Do you have enough food and water for your whole family? What about medical supplies for different minor emergencies?
Prepare a survival dental kit so you can take care of your oral health after disaster strikes. (h/t to Survivopedia.com)
Learning the basics of oral care means you can maintain your teeth and gum health after SHTF. While you probably won’t reach the same level of expertise as your dentist, reading up on common dental emergencies and how to address them ensures that you at least know how to use your supplies if someone in the family has a dental emergency.
What to include in your survival dental kit
Improvised tools and instruments
- Bandana – Use a cravat or bandana to immobilize a patient’s jaw and hold a hot or cold compress in place.
- Cookie tin or first aid kit – Use a cookie tin or first aid kit to store all your tools and instruments.
- Dental floss – Dental floss is strong enough to be used to extract teeth. Tie a slip knot, place it around the tooth and tie the other end to a doorknob then shut the door with a bit of force.
- Dental mirror – If you don’t have a dental mirror, make one using a small 3/4-inch or two-cm piece of glass. Grind down the sharp edges of the mirror on any rock with quartz, then glue it to a tongue depressor or stick. Form a shallow bend on the stick before using.
- Lockpicks – A clean set of lockpicks are the right size and shape for a set of makeshift dental instruments. If your lockpick kit includes double or single ball picks, heat, bend and grind them into useful tools like a cement spatula, dental probe, filling tool, or spoon excavator.
- Medical cotton – Medical cotton is available in different forms.
- Potassium permanganate – This potent chemical is a versatile tool. When diluted in water until it turns bright pink, potassium permanganate is used as an oral antiseptic to prevent infection. Use a slightly more concentrated red solution and dab it on canker sores.
- Sewing or suture needle – Bend a sewing or suture needle into a hook and tie it onto a short handle made of wood or plastic if you need a dental pick.
- Toothbrush – Make a toothbrush from any fibrous, non-toxic twig. Carve a toothpick on one end and chew the other into a brush.
- Toothpaste – If you run out of toothpaste, use charcoal or ash made from a non-toxic species of wood, salt and baking soda.
- Wax – Use clean candle wax to secure a broken tooth or have a loose filling that’s exposing a nerve to air. Heat the wax until you can mold it, roll a small piece into a little ball, then gently tamp it into place with a piece of wood carved for the purpose. Use wax to temporarily stop the pain caused by an exposed nerve or prevent a broken tooth from cutting your mouth, lips, or tongue.
You need a dental first aid guide in your survival dental kit. Study it and learn how to use your tools before you need them. (Related: Health is wealth: 4 Medical preps you need to get ready before SHTF.)
Get a guide with detailed information on how to treat different dental injuries and emergencies.
- 20-gauge ligature wire – To wire teeth together and hold them in place as you stop bleeding from fractures of the jaw between the teeth.
- Blood kit and dental sponges – A blood kit and dental sponges will help prevent infections if someone needs emergency dental treatment in a post-SHTF world. First, stop all bleeding needs, sanitize the patient’s mouth and quickly locate the injury. Use dental sponges to clean up and absorb blood or to aid in clotting blood.
- Benzocaine, clove oil and instant cold packs – These items will help relieve pain due to toothaches or inflammation.
- Brush – For cleaning instruments before sterilization.
- Concentrated benzalkonium chloride solution – A topical antiseptic also used to clean dental instruments.
- Cotton gauze – You’ll need cotton gauze to make dressings. When moistened with water, cotton gauze can keep permanent teeth for replacement when knocked out.
- Dental gauze rolls – Use dental gauze rolls to make dressings and stop heavy bleeding or to dry teeth before a filling. Change the cotton when it becomes wet.
- Disposable needles (27-gauge) – For injections.
- Hydrogen peroxide – Used as an antiseptic.
- Pressure cooker – For sterilizing your instruments and gauze. Make sure your instruments are completely dry after boiling and never store them wet. Sterilize with heat when your instruments touch blood. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, use alcohol or bleach solution to sterilize your instruments.
- Salt – To make a warm saltwater rinse when treating gum disease.
- Sharpening stone – To sharpen your instruments.
- A smooth piece of glass – For mixing fillings.
- Wooden tongue depressors – To retract and protect the tongue, cheeks and gums while cleaning a patient’s teeth.
- Zinc oxide powder – This powder is mixed with clove oil to make temporary fillings for cavities. Practice mixing cement ahead of time. Teeth with temporary fillings are weak, so tell the patient to avoid exerting too much pressure on them while chewing.
Take care of your oral health and prepare a survival dental kit so you can take care of any dental emergencies when SHTF.