By Lisa Marie Samaha DDS, FAGD
Some might assume that those who practice holistic/biological dentistry are not science-based or that we fill cavities with herbs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Biological dentists are science-oriented to the core. We have just learned to connect to the oral/systemic relationship on a deeper and sometimes different basis than what is traditionally taught and practiced.
First, let’s clarify: holistic/biological dentistry is not a specialty of dentistry. It is more appropriate to refer to it as a philosophy of care. All dentists have the same educational requirements. We take the same dental boards, are held to the same standards of care and receive the same dental degree. However, those who stretch into the holistic/biological world are always on the search for the “root cause” of dental conditions and are typically skilled in resolving them in as natural a way as possible. Also important is preventing a recurrence of disease as patients are guided towards a level of improved total health. An example might be the use of fluoride in drinking water, toothpastes and mouth rinses. Many who follow the biological dental path prefer to set aside the potential toxicities of fluoride on brain and bone development as well as hormone function. Instead, we might utilize natural methods of preventing and healing early decay, while also instructing patients in nutritional and home care methods for strengthening teeth naturally.
Like much of modern dentistry, holistic/biological dentistry requires a heavy investment in advanced technology such as specialized gentle lasers, conservative cone beam computer tomography (CBCT), PRF and digital photographic scanning equipment, natural sedation and medical ozone technology. We also commit to the advanced and specialized education required to master that technology. Such an investment, however, is only the beginning.
Perhaps the best way to describe holistic/biological dentistry is by listing some of our guiding principles. (Other dentists follow some of these principles, but perhaps with more traditional methods.)
1. Identifying root cause. (Treating cause instead of only treating symptoms.) It’s not just about fixing a cavity, a broken tooth or a toothache. It’s about figuring out why the tooth decayed, broke or has a dead nerve in the first place, so the destroyed tooth becomes the last one the patient has, not the first of many.
2. The oral systemic connection. It is intimate and intricate and FAR more complex than what is ever taught in dental schools.
3. Minimizing and mitigating toxicity. Our profession is full of toxins from mercury to PFAS to BPA to xenoestrogens to teratogenic materials. Biological dentists are opposed to biological toxins and search intently to procure the safest materials known in our profession. They are often more costly and more technique sensitive, requiring additional skill and education.
4. Creating a safer work environment for us, our teams and ultimately, our patients. It’s important to take care of everyone by ensuring proper safety protocols are in place to eliminate occupational exposures, particularly when it comes to the removal of defective, previously placed mercury fillings that are no longer serving our patients. (These fillings contain 50 percent mercury and smaller amounts of silver, tin and copper.) All dentists remove mercury fillings at one time or another since so many people have them and some are unhappy with the appearance; safer, tooth-colored options are available. Because toxic mercury vapor is released during the process of mercury filling removal, without precautions, the vapor becomes airborne. During chewing, clenching or grinding of our teeth, mercury fillings are stressed, causing toxic mercury vapor to be released into the human body. Of greatest concern is how mercury vapor spreads throughout the body, affecting the neurological/brain system.
It is the strong conviction of holistic/biological dentists that mercury should not be used in dentistry and when removed, mercury must be removed SAFELY. Biological dentists typically assure their patients of the highest level of protection by providing the www.IAOMT.org protocol for mercury safe removal. EVERY. TIME. We believe passionately that dental materials should not contribute to the already existing environmental mercury exposure found in our foods, air and waterways.
5. Eliminating the oral contributions to systemic health issues:
- Airway restrictions
- Periodontal disease
- Endodontic infections
- Bite disease
The key is to get the fires in your mouth under control to improve general health and well-being. Oral inflammation is the number one source of inflammation in the entire human body — and we know how to get rid of it from its source. We take that very seriously.
6. The airway/systemic health connection. We diligently screen for airway inadequacy in our newborns and all other patients, throughout life. SO. MANY. PEOPLE. Have Sleep Disordered Breathing, (SDB) — even babies. Mouth breathing, snoring and sleep apnea (when we stop breathing in our sleep) are only three manifestations. By catching airway restrictions early, your entire health trajectory can be transformed for the better.
7. Root canal therapy or removal of infected teeth. The use of dental lasers, PRF and medical ozone are helpful, no matter what your choice.
8. Targeted nutritional support. With proper training, some might focus heavily on methods of natural healing, suggesting targeted nutritional support with deep training in the expanding world of integrative/functional medicine.
The world of holistic/biological dentistry has never been in such high demand. Want to find out why?
Dr. Lisa Marie Samaha of Port Warwick Dental Arts is available to share more life enhancing information with you. Call 757-223-9270 and visit her website www.PortWarwickDentalArts.com.