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By Martha Cortes, DDS & Jovanne Cortes
Biological dentistry is a multi-faceted integrative treatment approach focused on the oral cavity, and on the resultant effects of oral-disease and general dentistry on the overall health of the body. Biological dentistry’s goal is to neutralize the harmful effects that dentistry and oral dysfunction has on the whole body. Not only are toxic materials and conditions removed from the mouth, the functional and structural components of the mouth that are both dependent and independent units of the body, are also restored, returning the oral cavity to its proper biomechanical role. The mouth is addressed in its entirety.
Teeth are individual units of bone-like material supported by surrounding structures, such as ligaments, gingival tissue, muscle and bone. All of these must be considered in the dental assessment. The removal of a toxic material is only one step in the process of restoring dental and physical health. A replacement material may be biocompatible at a certain level of health and incompatible at another. Health cannot be measured by approximations; a temporary solution to a dental problem may create further problems for the patient later on.
The oral cavity is a unique functional, structural and esthetic organization of several different kinds of tissue that are bordering and meticulously support the instrumentation of the dental orifice. The oral cavity includes the mandible and maxillary jawbones, which are parts of the cranium. The cervical and thoracic portions of the spinal column support the cranium, housing the brain which is comprised of 80 percent of the nervous system. The spine innervates the entire body with nerves that provide information processing. Throughout this complex system are muscles and fascia that support and provide further biochemical feedback, essential for the functioning of the body. Dentistry, therefore, has the capacity to influence, especially when energetic acupuncture meridian connections are considered, the whole body. Each tooth, and its supporting structures, have physical as well as energetic connections to the whole body.
For instance, mal-occlusion (improper bite) can result in a physical mal-alignment of the spine, as well as a blockage of energetic pathways that can affect associated organs and glands. Therefore, careful regard must be taken when appraising and treating the teeth and any apparatus of the oral cavity.
There are several kinds of dentistry; the superior one addresses as many factors as possible at once and attempts to convey the least undesirable impact to the body on all levels. Ultimately, the superior dentistry is no dentistry, as this is an invasive advancement against health; however, once pathology has commenced, intercession is necessary. If ignored, the disease process will likely progress to severe and painful results. Dentistry is like building a house, the structure upon which the house is built needs to be solid, not damp and moldy, and must have good drainage.
Bone, which is the supporting base in the oral cavity, needs to be solid and free of voids and inflammation. Upon this is the periodontium, which must be flexible, have a good blood supply and be free of microorganisms. Attached within the periodontium are ligaments, performing as shock absorbers and providing foundational support for the teeth. Finally, the teeth are to be free of infection, toxic materials and trauma of any kind. A healthy lymphatic, blood and nerve supply sustains this entire functional structure.
If the bite is left too high or too low after tooth restoration, biomechanical stress will preclude the body’s ability to adapt to the stress, causing adaptation mechanisms to progress into a disease process. Holistic dentistry must appreciate and embrace toxicology, pathology, biochemical and biomechanical mechanisms, hormonal balance, biocompatibility, meridians, proprioceptive integrity, proper occlusion, functional integrity, structural soundness and esthetics. Dentistry is multi-faceted, which has the potential to enhance, hinder or dismantle health, depending on the practitioner’s and the patient’s approach to health.
The patient should first accept that they are ultimately responsible and the practitioner is only there to expedite a return to health. If a patient presents with many signs and symptoms of disease and expects to be cured by the removal of a single offensive material, then let the practitioner beware. It is a rare occurrence when a single material is responsible for the ill health of an individual; it is usually a combination of many different factors including lifestyle choices, nutrition, environment, dentistry and medicine.
The disease process is a gradual one; to restore health one must often ascend the same pathway originally descended into ill health. This requires continuous auditing in order to find the cause of ill health.
The biological dentist, part detective, part technician and part artisan, necessitates an intuitive commencement into multiple levels of practice. Dentistry is partly interpretive; the practitioner assesses the patient’s present state of health based on what is presented. However, there are no diagnostic absolutes, even with lab tests, electro-dermal screening tests and muscle testing, etc. These are only approximately safe parameters for the dentist to choose from. If there is a misinterpretation of materials, it is the patient who suffers. The same goes for an improper occlusion, extraction of too many teeth, and functional but structurally improper dentistry. Holistic treatment requires seeing the patient’s whole picture, as the overall health of the individual is at stake.
Is the removal of an infected root canal-filled tooth more of a priority than the removal of mercury fillings? This can be a hard decision to make, as each individual responds uniquely to the insult of infection or mercury. Westernized allopathic medicine and dentistry have attempted standardization. However, since each individual is bio-chemically unique, there cannot be a “one-size-fits-all” application of the health care process.
Some individuals will respond more strongly, in a negative way, to the mercury than to the infection, and vice versa. Ideally, none of these should be present, but when they are, there must be prioritization when it comes to biological dentistry. If there is deep, infectious necrosis in the bone, then this must have priority in what dentistry shall be applied. To proceed otherwise, is to build upon a shaky foundation.
Furthermore, no foreign material is completely biocompatible. Only an intact, natural tooth is decidedly compatible with the patient’s system. As alternative dentists, physicians and practitioners of varying fields, our ultimate goal is not to add to the toxic load of the body. But it is difficult because there are materials that are bio-hazardous to the body, that create chaotic energy vortices, that block energetic pathways and that mimic hormones. Some materials are too abrasive to opposing teeth and others do not last long enough to be worthy of placement.
Many alternative practitioners believe only in composites, some in porcelains, and some in high noble gold. When given the choice, even after the patient takes a serum compatibility blood test, the dentist will often choose the non-reactive materials they like and are accustomed to from the list provided.
Long-term health should be the highest priority. Is it of any benefit to refill a deep amalgam filling with biocompatible filling material when it might create more trauma, leading to more intervention, which might result in extraction, and which in turn lead to the possible danger of it becoming an infected necrotic cavitation? This all must be assessed. The more teeth that are removed, the more difficult it becomes to balance the mandible and maxillary as a well functioning structural whole.
An imbalance has the potential to throw off the cranio-cervical relationships, possibly leading to TMJ problems, migraines, muscle spasms, fatigue, postural problems, depression, etc. If more than ten teeth are extracted, the proprioceptive biofeedback mechanism of the entire body can be disrupted, causing systemic calamity as the body is then no longer in a state of homeostatic equilibrium.
Teeth are small pearl-like objects, requiring exacting care and respect. A multi-dimensional, multi-faceted approach in caring for the teeth needs to be taken. Simply substituting one material for another, although a good starting point, is not comprehensive enough for optimal health. A very important component to remember is that xenoestrogens from environmental pollution are exceedingly stressful to the body. A patient should ideally work with a reputable alternative practitioner in conjunction with the biological/holistic dentist. This will facilitate both the dental work and any medical treatment. Backtracking is sometimes necessary, as the return to health, although not exactly sequential, is progressive.
There are cases of individuals responding remarkably well to the removal of toxic dental materials; but there is the rare individual who is outright allergic to a material. The majority of patients become immunologically sensitive to a dental material with the passage of time. This, in combination with environmental and nutritional toxins, weakens the immunity. A weakened immune system will not be able to tolerate many dental materials. However, as the body is purged of both dental and environmental toxic materials and as infections are removed, occlusions are corrected, the vertical dimension restored, cavitations removed and gum disease treated, a stabilizing effect will occur in the patient. Then homeopathic and isopathic treatments can be effective, chiropractic adjustments can hold and orthomolecular, quantum and whole food therapy can hit the targeted areas.
The patient is then primed to return to full health, as the body is again responsive and receptive to further treatment with whole body modalities that enhance endocrine and organ function.
Biological dentistry is a delicate art with major health ramifications at issue. The implication that there is only one thing causing ill healthlacks ultimate humility on the part of the dentist and the patient. As can be seen, dentistry is health care of the entire body; the impact of treatment extends far beyond the teeth.