Medical knowledge and equipment is an essential component of personal preparedness. You want to know the basics of first aid and have the essential equipment needed to care for someone in your circle should they need it. Unless you’re a medical professional, however, there is a cost-benefit analysis that you need to do when considering how much time, energy, and money you should put into medical training.
by Derrick James, SHTF blog founder and blogger at Prepper Press
Medical Training – How Much is Enough?
For example, it is entirely worthwhile and appropriate to take a basic first aid course that teaches you, among other things, how to stop a bleed, give someone CPR, etc. These are skills good to know for everyday purposes, let alone after a SHTF scenario. The cost-to-benefit ratio of classes like that are a no-brainer.
However, what about more in-depth classes. For example, as part of medical preparedness, do you take disaster life support training? Classes of this nature will, of course, give you way better capacity to respond to a crisis. That is a lot more time and money, however.
At some point, you have to make a decision on what is appropriate for you and your situation. If you’re fortunate enough to be part of a tight group of preppers, it might make sense to have one person take such trainings and become the team’s medic. In other cases, it just make more sense to have the resources on hand in case you need to use/consult them after an event.
Dental care, to me, falls into this latter group. I don’t think it makes sense to go taking classes on dental care in case of a SHTF event. (Are classes like that even offered?) What would make more sense, is having the resources available should the need arise. Resources, like a few basic dental tools and the book Where There Is No Dentist.
Dental Care Resources for Preppers
Dental care is a subject that few preppers plan for short of maybe storing a few extra tubes of toothpaste. Most preppers I have spoken with on medical care will buy high end medical kits, tourniquets, etc. That is often where they stop, however. The idea of extending that to buy a set of basic dental tools never crosses their mind, even if the set costs less than a tourniquet!
This is, in my view, is a mistake. Dental pain is brutal. If the grid goes down and you or someone in your group begins suffering from tooth decay or a cracked tooth, you will quickly find how debilitating the pain can be, and how everything comes to a halt until the pain goes away. Those everyday cures for an aching tooth will only go so far before something more drastic has to be done.
Do you know how to remove a tooth if you had to? People did it on each other all the time back in the early days. It’s not hard, but I suspect the idea of trying to remove a tooth without knowing the basics would be a very intimidating idea. Could you do it? Would you make the situation worse by trying?
Where There Is No Dentist – The Paperback Book
Many preppers know about the book Where There Is No Doctor. Fewer know that the publisher, Hesperian Health Guides, also published a counterpart, Where There Is No Dentist. They describe their book this way:
Community health workers, educators and individuals from around the world use Where There Is No Dentist to help people care for their teeth and gums. From preventing and treating common dental problems to making low-cost equipment, this title covers essential topics in oral health and hygiene. The 2018 edition includes a current, revised resource section, new recommendations regarding mercury fillings, and an up-to-date medications guide.
The paperback version of this book (best for grid-down security) costs under $20. The book is broken into two parts. Part One is Learning and Teaching about Teeth and Gums. Part Two is devoted to Treating Dental Problems.
The book includes many various illustrations to help the reader understand and follow the directions given. For example, following is a sample page describing how to scale teeth.
Most of the dental care covered in the book is written in such a way that someone with little-to-no formal dental care training can follow along. This is particularly true if you also have access to the basic dental tools needed; and in some cases, pain killers.
I’m a firm believer in having an inventory of prepper books in paperback (grid-down) format. To that end, even if you never need it (and hopefully you don’t), the price is low enough that you can rest a bit easier knowing that if you did need to reference it, you have a copy.
For those of you that don’t want to spend the money and are comfortable with owning a digital copy…
Where There Is No Dentist – Download the PDF
Hesperian Health Guides has been kind enough to remove copyright restrictions on the digital distribution of the book. Thus, even if you don’t buy the paperback copy, or in addition to the paperback (“two is one and one is none”), you can still have a copy saved on a computer, laptop, tablet, etc. Here you go:
Download the book from that link. Then send this article to your friends so they too can download it. After all, they might some day need it to perform work on you!
Additional Medical Books for Preppers
Want to expand on your library of medical books for your survival stash? Here are a few other recommended titles to get you started:
- Department of the Army’s First Aid Manual
- Wilderness Medicine Beyond First Aid
- Emergency War Surgery
- Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Wound Treatment
- Davis’s Drug Guide for Nurses
- and – don’t forget the pets – U.S. Army’s Guide to Veterinary Care of Military Working Dogs
Is there anything we are missing in the list? Have you had experience dealing with dental problems? Let us know in the comments section.