I Didn't Have Any Dental Care for 19 Years. What Do You Think Happened?


I Went 19 Years Without Dental Care.

7 min read

What do you think happened?


The Backstory

The year was 1984. It was my 2nd year at the USC School of Dentistry in Los Angeles, CA. The head of the endodontic (root canal) department taught us that after performing a root canal on a tooth, the tooth must be crowned within 90 days. Otherwise, it will become a fulminating, decaying, infectious mess and it will need to be extracted.

Fast forward to1987, a year and a half after graduating from dental school. It was a lovely, cold, Sunday winter evening in Laguna Niguel, California where it actually gets cold enough to make your ears hurt and your nose run. (By the way, if your nose runs and your feet smell, you are made upside-down.) Anyway, I was going for a walk with my little toddler daughter. After about 20 minutes, we were going uphill and I had to carry her. Within a few minutes of huffing and puffing cold air, my upper right first molar began to throb.

“This is weird,” I thought. “I’ve never had a toothache. So this is what it probably feels like.”

I was able to manage the discomfort by keeping my tooth warm, and by the time we got home, my tooth was okay. But on Wednesday around 11 am, my tooth began to really hurt and nothing would help it.

I went to my endodontic specialist during my lunchtime, and she found that a large silver filling had ultimately cracked my tooth right into the nerve. She speed-root-canaled my tooth during lunchtime, and I was back at work in time for my next patient at 1 pm.

I didn’t have any pain at all, except that night around 9 pm there was one instant blazing jolt of pure exploding neutron star energy from my tooth that knocked me down for a second. And that was it. No more pain ever since.

Over the next few weeks, I was thinking of having my tooth crowned, but I kept putting it off. Either my dentist colleague was too busy to do my crown, or I was too busy to let him do it.

Before I knew it, 90 days had passed. Except for the small endodontic access hole from which most of the temporary filling had washed out, my tooth was fine.

I thought, “Hmmmm…. no fulminating decayed mess yet. Let’s see how long this plays out...”

The years went by…

Over the years life happened. Divorce. Multiple jobs. I was even a personal fitness trainer on weekends for about a year. As a result, it was never convenient to fix my tooth. So, I kept replacing the temporary filling material, and it kept dissolving out. Little pieces of the tooth chipped away too. After a while, I got tired of constantly stuffing temporary material into it, so I started putting permanent cement into the hole. But even that tended to wash out, although more slowly. Thus, my tooth existed more often with an open hole than a filled hole.


I started working on the Camp Pendleton, CA Marine Base. Still no fulminating decayed mess 15 years after the root canal. I hadn’t had any dental care either since 1987. Not even a cleaning.

My feeling was, and still is, “Except for an emergency or accident, why would I need a dentist — I know how to avoid decay and gum disease. My upper right molar seems fine. And I can check myself for oral cancer.” So I didn't bother to see any dentist or hygienist.

One important thing I had been doing since about 1989, was to chew xylitol gum every day. A dentist should have fresh breath, right? Well, I had developed the habit of chewing a quarter-piece of xylitol gum and conveniently stuffing the piece into the access hole in my tooth. There it would hide discreetly for several hours, freshening breath and tasting good. Every few hours I would chew another 1/4 piece and stuff it into the hole. I never got caught chewing gum in the Marine Base dental office, yet I always used xylitol gum every day.

Xylitol is well known for its anti-caries and tooth-friendly qualities. I began thinking that maybe my xylitol gum-stuffing had been the secret factor preventing the fulminating mess that was supposed to have happened to my tooth for the past 15 years.

Oh yeah, and another thing — I’ve been flossing toothpaste between my teeth since I was about age 10. I didn’t do it all the time as a kid, but after I learned about oral health in dental school, I realized I should have done it every day. So, since 1982, it’s been about twice a day, nearly every day.


I planned to re-marry in 2006. To look good for my wedding photos, I finally decided to get my tooth crowned and my teeth cleaned. It was just a simple cleaning. The hygienist said she didn’t see any stains or tartar on my wisdom teeth, even after 19 years with no dental cleanings at all. My crown went well, and it was nice not to have to keep stuffing my tooth with gum.

 intraoral tooth photo

Intraoral photo of tooth #3

 radiograph of tooth #3

Tooth #3 radiograph 2003

 tooth models before crowning

Tooth #3 models just before doing a crown


That’s just the beginning of the story. What came a couple of years later is something really amazing. I will write about that for my next post.


I just want to say that most of what is taught or known about dental health and dental care is pretty much bass-ackwards.

And just like the Squatty Potty claims we’ve been pooping all wrong — we’ve been doing oral hygiene all wrong. In fact, I call dental floss dental buttwipe.

 Floss is dental buttwipe

What kept me from having a rotten tooth, extraction, and bridge or implant is the fact that I simply followed a daily program of excellent dental fitness.

Not oral hygiene. Dental Fitness.

I don’t believe in oral hygiene. In fact, oral hygiene is actually dangerous, and that will be yet another story…

Dental fitness is the application of scientific principles of exercise physiology and fitness concepts to oral health. It includes:

  • Education, · Motivation, · Supplementation, · Nutrition, · Personal Training, · Exercises, · Professional care.


Dental Fitness components

 Dental fitness components

The RENUzORAL Method

The RENUzORAL Method

During the years from 1987 through 2006, I developed the main concepts of dental fitness. I practice what I preach. I’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s really super easy to have excellent oral health by following a dental fitness program, not an oral hygiene program.

In fact, if oral hygiene actually worked, about 80% of most common dental problems wouldn’t even happen.

Think about this a moment — dentists make most of their income from only two diseases — dental caries and gum disease. Both diseases are 80% preventable with minimal effort.

Some people say, “Well, of course you have good teeth — you’re a dentist.”

Heck, I wasn’t born a dentist. I simply learned it. And I’m no genius. I’m just a guy who learned that tooth decay is a transmissible microbial infection. Tooth decay is not caused by sugar or sweets. My daily use of xylitol-sweetened gum is proof of that too. All it takes is 7 to 10 grams per day of xylitol to virtually eradicate dental caries microbes.

Yet I did something a bit different. Even though I chewed only a 1/4 piece of gum several times a day, it rarely ever became 7 to 10 grams. I reasoned that the secret was keeping the gum in my tooth most of the time every day. Although I had no actual laboratory proof, I believed that a constant, long term exposure to even a small amount of xylitol was more important than a quick burst of a large, but quickly dissipating amount several times per day. It wasn’t until around 2010 to 2014 that an actual proof would be made — and that’s for the next story, which is really interesting, so stay tuned….

While you’re waiting, you could check out this: https://www.renuzoral.com.

And try out my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEqD4gk-zk-WCvUyWnx3ljg/

Best regards,

Dr. Steve


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