Case Quizes Clinical Cases

Revisiting: Elaine Has Yet Another Dental Disturbance!

Snoopy with a toothache

Another dental abscess with homeopathy to the rescue; did you guess the right remedy? Scroll down to see the answer.

Hi Mom!

Oh look! It’s little Shana!

It’s time for the quiz again, Mom. I can’t believe this year is half over.

Half over???? It was half over months ago!

Don’t look now, but I want to talk about…


James Taylor. How did you know what I was going to say?

Because, you don’t have that many interests!

I happen to have plenty of interests! Now, as I was saying….I know we have to get to the Quiz, but, James Taylor’s album, “New Moon Shine”, turned 26 years old last month.

No one cares, Shana!

Please do the dishes or something while I find my favorite song.

I will happily do the dishes! (Geez, when’s the last time I said that?)

We used to have the cassette tape of “New Moon Shine” and I’m kind of attached to it.

Fortunately, we lost it!

Anyway, this is one of my favorite songs from that album “I’ve Got to Stop Thinkin’ ‘Bout That”.

I don’t like it!

Mom! You’re supposed to be finding something to do!  And now, here is the one and only James Taylor!


Also this month a biopic called “Goodbye Christopher Robin” was made about Pooh creator, A.A Milne.

We should try to see it.

Where’s it playing?

The Ritz-5.

Oh, well that’s different.  Never mind!  Are you done with your announcements?

Real quick, I have a death to announce.  A musician named Laudir De Oliveira.

What kind of name is that?

It’s Brazilian!


He died last month of a heart attack.  He was the percussionist in Chicago.

I looked him up on the internet and it seems he played percussion on Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright”.

That’s a very percussion-y song!  I think we should play it, it’s really good!

You have Laudir to thank for that!  My favorite show, “House”, used it in season 1, episode 11.

How is it you grew up to be the world’s largest repository of nonessential facts?

He was also a session player on the Jacksons’ “Destiny” album.

How do you know all these things???  Before we start the quiz, I have another death to announce.  Jimmy Beaumont, lead singer of The Skyliners, died at 76.

We’ll hear their million-seller from 1959 in a minute; but right now, it’s time for…


The Hpathy Quiz!!!!!

Well Shana, it’s me in the quiz again! As you probably know, I had another one of my “Tooth Emergencies” that I’ve been keeping a record of in these pages for God only knows how long–10 years maybe? It was very unexpected — a gum abscess (I say “gum” because that’s where I saw it, I’m not a dentist so I can’t be anymore specific than that. The affected area was the bottom front teeth, left side, causing a kind of numbness-like pain in the teeth, but very painful and extending to the jaw below. There wasn’t much else to go on! I noticed no sensitivity to hot and cold, but definitely worse on touch, biting down, chewing and I really just felt like my only hope was to have the whole lot of them pulled out and start all over from scratch! I felt like the situation was out of control and nothing could be done about it! So, yeah, that was the case! But as soon as I took ___________LM/1, which I took frequently because of the severity, like maybe every hour or so, I started noticing a shift, like I was maybe really onto something! And here I am roughly 3 days later and 95% better! I can totally eat again! Homeopathy rocks! And you know, I’m one of the few homeopaths who even reports on dental cases! Seriously, how often do you read a dental case in the Hpathy ezine, or anywhere else? But what is worse than a toothache? We have to know how to treat these things or heaven help us! What do you think the remedy was? Write to me at [email protected] and let me know. The answer will be in next month’s ezine.

Now, as promised, live from 1974, a rather imperfect, but still great, video of the Skyliners with their 1959 classic, “Since I Don’t Have You”:




Mercurius viv.




Hecla Lava



Alright, who wants to come up and hopefully give me the right answer?  Oh wow, a new contestant!  You’re on the air at!

Hi Elaine ,

For latest toothache quiz i’m thinking Silica as gum swollen is indicating probable abscess although no aggravation from cold drink mentioned.  Maybe also Staphysagria as aggravation from touch.


Neil Mayor

Hi Neil!  Yes, Silica is a very common remedy for dental abscess; but, not in this case.  The key to finding the remedy was the word “jaw”.  Thanks for voting!

Thanks for reply regarding toothache quiz.  Ok the jaw reference didn’t stand out on reading, so with that in mind, my second guess is Hecla lava.

Yes, you are correct, sir!

Is anybody else here today?  Oh look, It’s Sarah Q from Jordan!


Hi Elaine,

Happy autumn!

Yeah, I’ll be glad to get out of the heat!

I am sorry you are having tooth trouble.

I’m OK now.

Glad you are feeling better.  So I tried your case using Boenninghausen’s repertory just for the aggravations (worse clenching, chewing, touch, oh and left sided), to get the top remedies with that dynamic.  The remedies Graph., Sulph., Merc., all came up high.  I then looked in your “favorite” repertory (the Complete).

Hah!  Well, to be fair, it did help me to solve a case once….

What are the remedies for abscesses crossed with remedies that have a numb pain (its a rather odd symptom).  Only mercury was left standing.  Sorry for using Complete Dynamics, but I am mostly relying on Boeninghausen’s pocketbook.  The problem with the pocketbook is that it lacks the more recently proven remedies like Lach, Gels….

Oh, is that all?  Well, who needs Lachesis and Gelsemium!?

Hopefully it was an old remedy.

We can only hope!

Hopefully its Mercury.  Thanks for sharing Elaine.

You’re welcome.  Well, Sarah, here’s the thing.  We have a keynote of a remedy here and you know what Robin Murphy always says, “If you see a keynote of a remedy, give the remedy!”

So, the key word here…well, I guess there are 2 key words.  One is “jaw”.  The other is “abscess”.  I needed an abscess remedy where the pain goes to the jaw.  That’s what makes this case unusual or characteristic.  So I repertorized “Mouth: abscess, gums”, “Teeth: abscess, jaws”, “Teeth: pain, jaws” and “Teeth: abscess, teeth, roots” because I had no way of knowing if the roots were responsible; but mainly, it had the word “abscess” in it, and that was the important thing.  Anyway, as you can see, Hecla Lava comes out on top:

Now, the truth is, I never repertorized at all!  You know why?  Because I knew that “jaw” and “abscess” could only mean one thing: Hecla Lava!  You know how I knew?  Because the sheep that grazed on Mt. Hecla, where the volcanic ash had fallen, all developed pathology of their jaws!!!  Here’s how it appears in Murphy’s Materia Medica:


When traveling in Iceland, Garth Wilkinson noticed that the sheep in the vicinity of Hecla had immense bony growths on the jaws.

Another effect noticed was the drying up of the milk both in sheep and cows. The finer ash which fell on pastures at a distance, was the most deleterious, the gross ash near the mountain was inert. The ash of this volcano contain Silica, Alumina, Lime, Magnesia with some Oxide of Iron.

Garth Wilkinson adds to the above that he has used Hecla with excellent effect in toothache, gum abscess, swellings about the jaws and in difficult dentition. Clinical experience has shown the power of Hecla to arrest many forms of bone disease including osteosarcoma, scrofulous and syphilitic osteitis and exostoses. The swellings amenable to it are painful and sensitive to touch, worse from touch and pressure.

Wow, it even covered the modalities!  So, it seems like a slam-dunk for Hecla Lava.  It’s all gone now–the abscess.  So, there ya go!

Wow, I set myself up to fail on this one.  Using Boenninghausen’s excluded Hekla lava.

Yeah, Boenninghausen’s, not such a great idea!

Interesting about the sheep though.  I raised goats as part of my rebellious teenager years, that’s off topic though.

Yes; goats, sheep…2 entirely different things!

I have read an article about hekla.  It was a case study about a young girl who had fallen and injured her jaw.

She later developed a small, hard, pea-sized lump there.  Her tooth also began to change color to a gray.  So a homeopath was consulted and suggested hekla lava, which healed her lump and tooth completely.  Cool stuff!

Thanks Elaine, your case was a really cool one.

It was?  I mean, it was!  

Well, who else is here today?  I think I see Wayne way off in Australia!


Hi Elaine,

Sorry I didn’t join you last month, but I had a virus.

I hope you were able to cure it!

This remedy is difficult to find.  I’ve checked various books for teething remedies and I am unable to match them up.

I think it may be Lachesis, it is a left sided septic condition, but there is no literature I can quote.

Wayne, you have to think of two things here: 1. Jaws  2. Abscesses  Put the two together.

Yes, well, about my virus…


It started with “ah hum” cough in the lower part of my lungs.

Oh!  The worst kind!

Being Australian , I inhaled Eucalyptus oil.  This stopped the cough momentarily, but then I was knocked out, lost all my energy, had vertigo, headache in the beginning and had to lie down most of the day.  I was history for about a week.

I hope you learned your lesson about Eucalyptus Oil!  Did you think to try homeopathy?

I did try ferrum phos, and later Merc sol and Arsenicum Iodide because of night sweats and other symptoms, besides daily taking echinacea and astragalus to build up my immunity.

I don’t think it was the flu, because I had no pains in muscles of the body, just tiredness and lack of interest in doing things. I also had a spaciness when I looked out and this persisted for around 3 weeks.  I had to realize I was doing something, not do something automatically.

The cough returned, but it was not a big cough and it lasted around 3 weeks.  My digestion was affected, the stools were a different colour and sometimes there was pain there in the gut, but no diarrhoea or constipation.

I must admit I was not feeling the best when it came to getting the similimum, but anyway that bug won’t bother me again.

It was very pernicious and not easily got rid of.

Yeah, it sounds awful!

You will probably tell me the remedy I missed.

It sounds like Gelsemium: dizzy, drowsy, with headache.  Inclination to lie down and sleep.  And later you mentioned staring pointlessly (dullness) and apathy (loss of interest in doing things); so, I would have gone with Gelsemium.

In regard to the quiz and “jaw and abscess”, I am at a disadvantage in finding the remedy because our kitchen is having a makeover.

Well, that would keep anybody from finding a remedy!

All the furniture has been piled in front of the bookcase and I can’t reach the books, so my Materia Medicas are out of reach, and I usually navigate my computer program from my hard copy repertory which is also there.

I have at hand “Synthesis” by Shroyens and under “teeth” Abcess – extending to jaw is Hecla.

There ya go!  That’s more like it!  Perfect!  See, I wasn’t lucky enough to have that rubric to go to!  I  had a rubric that said, “Teeth, abscess, jaws”.  Close enough, I thought.

One of the difficult things I found about your case was there was no response to hot or cold.  Under the Face Pain -Jaws area of the reperetory, there are several remedies, but all differentiated according to the type of pain e.g. boring, stitching –

That’s right, that’s why you gotta get your patient to give you the sensation, because in the Repertory, the listings generally start with the sensation, like you said.

Chewing has several remedies.

I think I will have to wait for next month’s issue.

No, you got it, Hecla lava!  And now…off in the distance…Dr. Sebastiano Di Salvo from Italy, come on down!


Hi Elaine, my answer is Chamomilla.

The more characteristic symptoms are:

Pain with numbness

Despair of recovery


Other symptoms:

Teeth left, inferior, front

Pain downward

Touch agg

Chewing agg

In differential diagnosis

Mercurius solubilis, Ignatia amara, Rhus Toxicodendrum .

With Repertories:

Complete, Boenninghausen

Did you hear that, Sarah?

Thank You!

Regarding your answer of Chamomilla, you didn’t use the word “abscess” anywhere in your search, that was your biggest mistake.  And of course, you never would have found it in Boenninghausen’s. 

You might have to go to “Teeth, abscess” and “Mouth, abscess, gums” and combine the two.  The other important word to look for here was “jaw” because the pain was in the jaw as well as the teeth, and the remedy you would have come up with, hopefully, was Hecla Lava.

Thanks for voting!  Oh look, it’s the twins from Slovakia!

Mom, they’re not twins!!!!


Hello Elaine and Shana,

Hello Miroslav and Jitka!

here are our answers to your short, but difficult quiz.

I can’t wait to hear!

Miroslav sent only a brief answer from his cellphone because his computer had failed.  He says:

It’s a lottery, because nothing special is in the case.  I would try Silicea.  It is listed in the repertory in a rubric left-sided pain, chewing aggravates, abscess .“

Jitka votes for: Causticum

I tried to compare not all, but most of remedies from: “Teeth, abscess, teeth, roots“;

Pretty long time I compared symptoms of your case with selected remedies from the rubric “abscess, teeth roots”, but I couldn´t come up with any reasonable result.  As a last resort, I’ve decided to put all chosen remedies and all listed symptoms into the chart and find out the top evaulated remedy.

Abscess, teeth, roots lower teeth left Pain, Results


Baryta 2 1 1 1 5
Canth 1 3 0 0 4
Caust 1 3 3 1 8
Hecla 2 0 0 0 2
Hepar 3 1 0 2 6
Lach 1 2 0 0 3
Lyc 2 1 0 2 5
Merc 3 1 1 0 5
Phosp 1 2 2 2 7
Pyrog 3 0 0 0 3
Sil 3 2 2 0 7
Sulp 1 1 3 2 7
Zinc 1 3 2 0 6

Choosing the right remedy for painful teeth is really difficult as you wrote in your previous articles.  I also have similar problems with teeth

You have my sympathy.

and I often try the whole range of homeo remedies, and often end up using painkillers.

You missed a key word in this case: Jaw.  That was the key word, the most important word.  Actually, there were 2 important words:  1. Abscess and 2. Jaw.  Put the 2 together and what remedy do you come up with?

Oh well, I saw the rubric: abscess, jaws; below the rubric: abscess , teeth; roots, but I ignored it, because I thought it was only pain shooting into your jaw.

Yes, you’re right, pain extending to jaw.  I’m not sure that I could find a rubric that stated exactly that.

Instead, I was looking for an Abscess, gums, and since I did not find such a rubric so I stayed focused on Abscess, teeth; roots.  Besides both remedies are only in common letters, so I did not pay much attention them.  OK. so it’s Phosphorus, because Ars. doesn´t have pain in the lower teeth, left.

Actually, it was Hecla Lava.  It scores very high for abscesses, toothaches, and pain in the jaw.  When you see “jaw” and “abscess” in the same case, think of Hecla Lava first.  That’s what I did.  I didn’t even bother to repertorize.  As Robin Murphy always says, if you see a keynote of a remedy, give the remedy!

I think we have time for one more contestant.  Maria from Greece, come on down!


Hi Elaine and Shana!

Hi Maria!

For this month’s quiz I vote for Hecla lava.  If I am wrong I will try again.

You’re not wrong, so don’t try again!  How did you know?

The only clue was the pain in jaws and this is a big keynote of hecla lava along with teeth abscesses.

That was literally what I thought!!!

If we think, why the pain is extending to jaw and not to the ear which is more common?

It is kind of strange, not much, but it is a keynote.  And “Teeth, Gum, Abscess” Hecla is a 4 I think.

So here we are.

Maria, you are a true genius!  Here’s you diploma in homeopathy!

P.S. Maria reminded me that I had another Hecla Lava quiz– 5 years ago!   And guess what?  She got the answer right then too!  

Revisiting: A Toothache Royale!

Bye, see you in December!




Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.

Elaine takes online cases! Write to her at [email protected]

Visit her website:

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: and

About the author

Shana Lewis

Shana spices up the Hpathy Quiz with her timely announcements and reviews on the latest in pop culture. Her vast knowledge of music before her time has inspired the nickname: "Shanapedia"!


  • So did hecla lava actually cure your abscess? I’ve had an abscess for more than 5 years. The dental options are root canal or extraction. It acts up every now and then, but never goes away. I keep it at bay by oil pulling. It recently acted up again, and I am wondering whether I should have the tooth pulled. Just wondering if hecla lava could cure it.

  • If you read my tooth articles/quiz answers, you’ll see that rarely is the same remedy used twice. So you can’t assume that Hecla Lava…in fact, this was the only Hecla Lava case I’d ever had!

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