Gum Surgery and Vegan Ethics

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Gum Surgery and Vegan Ethics

Postby jamesndawson » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:52 pm

I was advised to have gum surgery in 2006.

So far, though I've been having regular cleanings, at which I'm usually told my condition is very stable, I've sort of dragged my feet, avoided the issue, and not gone through with it. I've heard horror stories, extremely satisfied stories, and okay stories about it. I've heard it's very painful for many months. When I finally decided to go ahead with it and set a date, my periodontist said he'd first have to examine me, though I don't understand why, because he'd already done this. He told me afterward that the surgery would be "helpful". I inferred from this, and his general tone, that he didn't think it was as necessary as he did before. But I don't know for sure. It sort of fell through the cracks again.

The other dentist I've been seeing, whom my periodontist referred me to, and who's done a lot of work on me, highly encouraged me to have this surgery, saying my thin and receded gums caused my teeth to loosen from chewing. So it's not just cosmetic.

What bothered me was his almost offhand remark about "spraying a little bone" in my areas of loss. Now, I had read of the use of "pig bone" in dental procedures, but I never quite understood how it was used. Now I did, and from an ethical vegan perspective, it worried me.

I take insanely good care of my teeth, but I now and then get quite bad infections in a few of my more problematical ones. I just nursed one back to pretty good health with a lot of grapefruit seed extract, in tablets and mouthwash. For some reason, I'd been neglecting my GFSE for a while. I guess I didn't realize how much it had been keeping things under control. Anyway, I've got to constantly keep on my toes, and I sometimes worry that my super-good care may not be quite enough. By the way, I can chew quite well, and rarely have pain. What I experience is a "sensation" that I know indicates that a tooth is infected, and it's more worrisome than painful, because it means bacteria, and bacteria means bone loss. Here's a Yahoo forum I own. I write a "blog" called My Periodontitis Diary:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/periodontitis/

At age 50, I wouldn't really care that much about getting dentures if I really needed to in 5 or 10 years. Whatever looks you ever had will have fled with your youth by that time, so vanity's not an issue. Do I really NEED surgery? Since I've moved from CA to WA, I'm going to have to find a new periodontist for cleanings, and I may be confronted with the same scare stories and pressures. Can I continue to treat, and have treated, my periodontitis CONSERVATIVELY? I've made huge improvements in it this far, but again, is that enough, and is it SUSTAINABLE?

How many of you have been confronted with challenges to your vegan ethics from your dental (and for that matter, medical) needs. How have you dealt with them?

Here is one vegan's story about her compromise in getting a tooth implant that contained bovine collagen. She seems to take it with some philosophical humor, but my impression is that she may be "laughing in the dark".

http://lagusta.wordpress.com/2008/07/17 ... mpromises/

I've tried doing searches on "vegan dentistry" and "vegan dentists", and was hoping there'd be a Wikipedia article on it, but what I have found so far is pretty tangential and unclear. I've found addresses for vegan dentists, but they're sparse, hard to get to, and probably way out of my price range.

Please let me know your thoughts on all this. Thanks.
James
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Postby KaliBaby » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:06 am

eeeeeeekkkkk!!!! I'll have to ask my dentist what he uses for cavity fillings!!!
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Postby Andrewc » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:14 am

Living a 100% vegan lifestyle is impossible as it is. Rejecting medications and medical procedures which wouldn't be considered vegan would be more of a symbolic gesture and puritanical. I think being a healthy vegan is much better than being a dead/unhealthy vegan.
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Postby thestoatyone » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:00 am

I agree. I'd have thought synthetic fillers would have been just as good and cheaper though?
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Postby Dave Noisy » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:46 am

[quote="Andrewc"]Living a 100% vegan lifestyle is impossible as it is.

I don't know if i agree with this entirely.

Veganism is an ethic, not a lifestyle, to begin with.. So you can indeed maintain 100% that animals are not ours to exploit, and maintain your life as much as practically possible.

There are non-vegan things in our daily life, like tires and streets. I don't think i'm any less of a vegan for using these things. (And frankly would think someone who did was kinda loopy.)

If a procedure is essential, and absolutely no other alternatives exist, let alone practical options, then i think you need to do what you need to.

For reference's sake:

[quote][T]he word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.


It sounds to me like you're still very much a vegan.
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Postby Andrewc » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:57 am

[quote="Dave Noisy"][quote="Andrewc"]Living a 100% vegan lifestyle is impossible as it is.

I don't know if i agree with this entirely.

Veganism is an ethic, not a lifestyle, to begin with.. So you can indeed maintain 100% that animals are not ours to exploit, and maintain your life as much as practically possible.

There are non-vegan things in our daily life, like tires and streets. I don't think i'm any less of a vegan for using these things. (And frankly would think someone who did was kinda loopy.)

If a procedure is essential, and absolutely no other alternatives exist, let alone practical options, then i think you need to do what you need to.

For reference's sake:

[quote][T]he word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.


It sounds to me like you're still very much a vegan.


Perhaps my wording was not spot on, but the jumble going through my head marries up with your statement.
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Postby thestoatyone » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:31 am

All agreed I reckon, individuals have little (sensible) choice but to just go with it. To me this is something that the vegan society and their overseas affiliates could do with helping resolve, campaigning for research into alternatives etc...

For the rest of us we have little choice but to grin and bear it.











Sorry :oops:
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Postby KaliBaby » Tue Jul 21, 2009 4:56 pm

[quote="thestoatyone"]For the rest of us we have little choice but to grin and bear it.

........

Sorry :oops:


you dork face :roll:
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Postby jamesndawson » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:23 pm

Thanks everybody for the words of support. I hope I can find alternatives, but I guess if I have absolutely HAVE to have this poor animal's body parts, maybe I can live with myself. Let's hope in time ethical alternatives will be easily available.
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Postby Arbela » Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:11 am

Like others have said, you have to take care of yourself. If there are no other alternatives, then don't beat yourself up over it. You need your teeth!

I hope your issue gets resolved one way or another, and that you recover well.
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Postby VeganEssentials » Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:55 am

[quote="Arbela"]Like others have said, you have to take care of yourself. If there are no other alternatives, then don't beat yourself up over it.


One more to follow this same notion. I don't like getting animal-tested crap shot into my eyeball every few months, but it's that or go blind in a few years vs. saving my vision. Refusing treatment doesn't magically resurrect the animals that died in testing nor does it help my vision loss, so I do what I have to do. Some things in life just suck no matter how you look at them, and sometimes you have to make your peace with it.
http://www.veganessentials.com

And also...

http://www.vegancats.com

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Postby chromatin64 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:32 pm

[quote="VeganEssentials"][quote="Arbela"]Like others have said, you have to take care of yourself. If there are no other alternatives, then don't beat yourself up over it.


One more to follow this same notion. I don't like getting animal-tested crap shot into my eyeball every few months, but it's that or go blind in a few years vs. saving my vision. Refusing treatment doesn't magically resurrect the animals that died in testing nor does it help my vision loss, so I do what I have to do. Some things in life just suck no matter how you look at them, and sometimes you have to make your peace with it.


Wise words.

In the course of my day job, I have to order tests that use animal derived agents. Every time I order such a test, the animal welfare thoughts go through my head. But I guess even vegans would rather have their cancer correctly diagnosed and staged than the alternative.

There are interesting corollaries with religions and things like porcine insulin and gelatin use in X-ray films too (not such an issue in these days of hi-tech imaging).
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Postby Ava Odoéména » Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:22 am

Hello James,

my husband had/has Periodontitis to the point that some of teetsh started shaking. We were still under 30 then. He was also advised surgery but in a second opionion he was told that surgery is the last measure these days and they haven't found any pockets under the teeth, which was his luck I guess. He's got a series of very thourough professional cleanings and instrucitons of how to keep the condition stable. It reverted and the situation is stable now, the gum stopped receding and the teeth stopped shaking. If you have to go through with the surgery, wouldn't it be possible to just take some bone from your hip with minimal invasive surgery?

Oh BTW, one thing you surely should have checked is your Vitamin D status, which is called 25(OH)D. Often a failing immune response is the result of a chronically low level of Vitamin D. Recent scientific findings indicate that Vitamin D does much more than just calcium balance, and that in absence of daily full body exposre to sunlight, 5,000 up to 10,000 IU of Vitamin D are needed to sustain healthy levels. Do you have the feeling for example your problems get worse in winter? Regardless of conscious fluctuations, I'd really have my Vitamin D status checked if I was you and then if low supplement aggressively to get it up into the good range again.
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Postby Ava Odoéména » Wed Sep 02, 2009 2:36 am

BTW that phrase with "the vegan lifestyle can not be done a 100%" really irritates me, I could anally obsess over it for hours, because it mindlessly mixes in ethical dilemma with veganism. Yes, veganism can of course be done 100%, the existence of ethical dilemmas does in no way compare to conducting or condoning avoidable violence.

In order to support veganism and allow for it to spread, we are encouraged to participate in society - contrary to living a stoneage vegan life - and this presence in and with society unavoidably will create ethical dilemmas.

However the nature of _ethical dilemma_ means one has not broken with the ethical standard.
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Re: Gum Surgery and Vegan Ethics

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