A holistic approach to dentistry, or integrative dentistry, sees the mouth as an integrated part of the body and considers oral health problems as they relate to total body health.
In using the term biological dentistry, we are not attempting to stake out a new specialty for dentistry but rather to describe a philosophy that can apply to all facets of dental practice and to health care in general: Always seek the safest, least toxic way to accomplish the mission of treatment, all the goals of modern dentistry, and do it while treading as lightly as possible on the patient’s biological terrain. A more biocompatible approach to oral health is the hallmark of biological dentistry.
By making distinctions – some obvious, and some subtle – among the available materials and procedures, we can reduce the impact on our patients’ biological responses. Our sense of duty to advocate for the well-being of our patients should make biocompatibility a high priority, and the fact that there are now so many new ways to make dentistry work better gives us the opportunity to do just that.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) is an organization for that group of dentists, physicians, and allied researchers who consider biocompatibility to be their first concern and who demand scientific evidence as their key criterion. Members of this group have, since 1984, examined, chronicled, and supported research into the distinctions that can make dental practice more biologically acceptable. This “biological dentistry” attitude can inform and intersect with all topics of conversation in health care where the well-being of the mouth is an integral part of the health of the whole person.
Dr Maria Theologides is the Ambassador for the continent of Africa for the IAOMT and is the co-founder of the South African Academy of Biological Practitioners with Dr Paolo Brogneri. Together they are intent on not only offering Biological Dentistry to our patients using the international protocols but are committed to educating our medical fraternity on the importance of considering the oral cavity’s role in systemic disease but also training and accrediting dentists to ensure that these standards are maintained and no harm shall come to patients. We are committed to helping the public understand the importance of biological dentistry and ensuring that when going to a biological dentist they are informed on what to expect and are able to make educated decisions around their health.
Biological dentistry is the functional medicine approach and ethos of dentistry: it does not merely fill cavities with aluminium and BPA saturated composites and porcelain/ceramic prosthetics; or plug abscessed teeth with gp points or merely extract diseased teeth – instead it looks at the impact the infected tooth has on the body; the role of inflammation in the oral cavity and its link to systemic disease – it sets out to ensure that these are addressed using international protocols and standards – so that the impact on human health and the environment remains minimal/zero. In addition, it is a patient-by-patient individual approach and not a one-treatment fits all approach.
Scientific evidence has established beyond any doubt two propositions:
1) Amalgam releases mercury in significant quantities, creating measurable exposures in people with fillings, and
2) Chronic exposure to mercury in the quantity released by amalgam increases the risk of physiological harm.
There is a very specific protocol that must be followed when removing amalgam restorations to ensure that it is done safely, so protecting the patient and the dental team. In addition, dental mercury which has been sitting in most people for years to decades, has been releasing mercury vapour into the body – the body when functioning optimally can get rid of 60% of this, the rest is stored in the body, creating various degrees of havoc as the toxicity buils in individuals who are not naturally able to remove it from the cells. Thus, Biological dentists are also trained to understand the health implications and how to assist the body to remove this heavy metal through chelation and natural excretory route support.
Clinical Nutrition and Heavy Metal Detoxification for Biological Dentistry
Nutritional status impacts all aspects of a patient’s ability to heal. Biological detoxification depends heavily on nutritional support, as does periodontal therapy or any wound healing. While the IAOMT does not advocate that dentist necessarily become nutritional therapists themselves, an appreciation of the impact of nutrition on all phases of dentistry is essential to biological dentistry. Thus, all accredited biological dentists and functional medicine practitioners should be familiar with the methods and challenges of reducing systemic toxicity deriving from mercury exposure.
Biocompatibility and Oral Galvanism
In addition to using dental materials that are less overtly toxic, we can raise the biocompatibility quotient of our practice by recognizing the fact that individuals vary in their biochemical and immunological responses. Biological Dentistry considers biochemical individuality and sound methods of immunological testing to help determine the least reactive materials to use with each individual patient. The more a patient suffers from allergies, environmental sensitivity, or autoimmune diseases, the more important this service becomes. Aside from their power to provoke immune reactivity, metals are also electrically active. Oral galvanism has been talked about for well over 100 years, but dentists generally ignore it and its implications. This is now more significant than ever before due to the extensive use of humans of cell phone technology and sitting hours in front of computers and similar devices – and the roll out of 5G is escalating the impact on human health especially in children and on the brain.
Mainstream public health science has failed to verify that a protective effect of water fluoridation on children’s teeth actually exists, despite the constant public relations statements and resulting widespread belief among the general population. Meanwhile, evidence of the harmful effects of fluoride accumulation in the human body continues to mount. The IAOMT has worked and will continue to work to offer updated appraisals of the risks of fluoride exposure based on scientific findings and even regulatory documents.
Biological Periodontal Therapy
At times it almost seems as if a tooth with its root canal system and leaky gums is a device for injecting pathogens into internal spaces where they don’t belong. Biological Dentistry offers resources that revisit the dentinal tubule and the periodontal pocket from the perspective of biological dentistry. Even mainstream medicine acknowledges the role of gum disease in cardiac disease and strokes – but the link to diabetes, hormonal issues, preterm babies and chronic diseases cannot be ignored when treating diseases states. Methods used to detect pathogens and monitor their numbers through the course of treatment range from the basic clinical exam to the classic use of a phase contrast microscope to the BANA test and DNA probes. There are non-drug procedures for eliminating the infection, as well as occasional judicious use of anti-microbial drugs. Laser treatment, ozone treatment, home care training in pocket irrigation, and nutritional support which are all essential when addressing this common problem.
There is controversy once again in the public’s consciousness over root canal treatment (rct). The origin lies in the question of remnant populations of microbes in the dentinal tubules and whether or not endodontic techniques adequately disinfect them or keep them disinfected. Biologically trained dentists have a responsibility to educate patients on the impact of pathogens around the tooth and their role as chronic inflammation; the ability individual to each tooth to be cleaned sufficiently and the treatment options available – so that patients are able to make informed decisions as to whether to pursue rct or not.
Recent work in the field of facial pain syndromes and Neuralgia Inducing Cavitational Osteonecrosis (NICO) has led to the realization that the jawbones are a frequent site of ischemic osteonecrosis, also known as aseptic necrosis, the same as is found in the femoral head. As a result, many extraction sites that appear to have healed have actually not healed completely and can trigger pain in other parts of the face, head, and distant parts of the body. Even though most of these sites actually present with no symptoms at all, pathological examination reveals a combination of dead bone and slowly growing anaerobic pathogens in a soup of highly toxic waste products where we would otherwise think there has been good healing. Links to MS and other chronic inflammatory disease states are common.
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