Natural and Supernatural Dentistry
As a full-time missionary, my needs are often met through non-monetary means such as hospitality offers and people giving me things without asking for them. On rare occasions I have sought assistance from (mostly Christian) organizations. In November 2011, a filling came out while staying with friends in Minneapolis. Soon I heard about a ministry in St. Paul called the Union Gospel Mission, which provides free dental care for people considered “low income.” My first checkup there revealed other cavities in my mouth. I had those filled as well.
Since then I’ve returned to the Union Gospel Mission after two more fillings came out. The most recent happened just over a year ago. It was discovered the cavity in that tooth had grown to where another filling could not be put in permanently. The dentist advised me to either get a root canal (which I would have to pay for) or have the tooth extracted. Apart from the expense, I didn’t want a root canal after reading negative reports from people who had gotten one. I also wasn’t fond of having my tooth pulled.
While researching alternative forms of dental care, I learned about oil pulling. Swishing a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in my mouth every day for 20 minutes can remove toxins and even reverse tooth decay. I went through a couple jars of coconut oil without any noticeable problems with my tooth. I figured it was healed.
Then last Monday while chewing on a piece of licorice, I suddenly felt a throbbing sensation in my tooth that became very uncomfortable. For the next couple days I hardly slept at all. I called the Union Gospel Mission to schedule an extraction. The soonest they could get me in was the following Monday.
In the meantime, I continued oil pulling and tried other natural remedies while praying for my tooth to be healed. God had done a miracle in my mouth before. In 1999 during a church service in Oklahoma, all my amalgam fillings suddenly turned into a whitish-gold color. I’ve also met people who experienced supernatural dentistry such as gold fillings and new teeth manifesting. However, my jaw started swelling and I decided to take immediate action. An abscessed tooth left untreated can cause serious health problems...even death!
On Friday morning I walked into another clinic that provides discounted dental care on a sliding fee scale. The receptionist told me an X-ray plus an extraction would require a payment that day of around $200, which I didn’t have on me. Another customer who overheard my conversation mentioned a local government agency that could help me receive free health care right away. I didn’t have peace about pursuing that.
Instead I went to a coffee shop until I knew what to do next. From there I emailed a friend who works in the medical field. The night before when I asked for her prayers, she offered to search for another place where I could possibly get my tooth pulled at no cost. To my surprise, my friend replied to my latest email urging me to go back to that dental clinic and offered to pay the bill with her credit card.
After X-rays were taken, the dentist warned excruciating pain might result if I got an extraction before taking antibiotics for a few days. I decided to go ahead with the extraction and silently asked the Holy Spirit to be my anesthesia but still had a novocaine injection. The extraction wasn’t painful at all. The dentist then removed the pus built up in my jaw and prescribed penicillin to eliminate any remaining infection. At the time of this writing, the swelling has almost totally disappeared.
While it’s God’s best for us to walk in divine health, sometimes He will guide us to see a physician. Many well-known evangelists labelled as “faith healers” also endorse natural medicine. Benny Hinn occasionally has doctors as guests on his TV program “This Is Your Day.” During one episode, Benny made a statement I’ve never forgotten: “Do what you can in the natural and God will move in the supernatural.”
Tooth problems can be painful but they don’t compare to the everlasting torment people will experience if they die without knowing the Great Physician.
“And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” - Matthew 25:30