Checklists, protocols, even the humble honey-do list – whether they’re on our phones, on our fridges, or in a handy-dandy notebook, we’ve all got them. We know the value in making and following lists if only because the simple act of creating a list gives you a much better shot at remembering what to do, what to get, maybe even what to avoid. (We guess that’d be called the honey-don’t list . . . )
A paper in this month’s Journal of the California Dental Association makes the case that they have a place in dentistry, as well, for improving patient safety. And, indeed, they can do just that.
But what if the checklists promote procedures that may, themselves, pose a risk to patient health?
One of the reasons folks choose to visit a biological practice like ours is because they know that biological dentists are aware that whatever happens or is done to the mouth can have effects throughout the body. Evidence abounds that certain dental situations can become physical, mental, and energetic burdens.
Take mercury, for instance. This is the main component of the “silver” amalgam fillings that about half of all American dentists continue to place, despite the fact that mercury is one of the most toxic elements around. That mercury does not stay locked in the filling either. Any pressure – from biting, chewing, swallowing, grinding, brushing – releases mercury vapor from the restoration.
From there, it’s a quick path to the lungs and into the general circulation. While some may be excreted, some also gravitates toward fatty organs such as the kidneys, liver, and brain.
More than 250 symptoms have been attributed to mercury toxicity. The IAOMT provides an excellent overview of the key health issues here.
Mercury’s dangers are why we keep our office mercury-free and mercury-safe. Biocompatibility testing is available to make sure whichever dental materials we use for your dental work are safe with respect to your unique biochemistry.
For similar reasons, we keep our office fluoride-free, as well. Like mercury, fluoride is a known neurotoxin that can interfere especially with healthy brain development. Other documented health effects include thyroid problems, endocrine disruption, kidney disease, arthritis, and more.
Other procedures bring their own risks to systemic health. For instance, if the periodontal ligament is left behind and the supporting bone isn’t cleaned properly after a tooth is extracted, a cavitation can form at the surgical site. This is a kind of hidden infection, where diseased tissue dies and decays below the healthy new tissue that grows over the surgical site.
Toxins from the site are free to migrate to other areas of the body and may ultimately help compromise overall health. Immune issues related to cavitations are common, and enigmatic conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and multiple chemical sensitivities may likewise be fueled by the toxins at cavitation sites.
This is why we’re extra careful about how we clean and treat each surgical site before suturing, including laser disinfection and the use of platelet-rich fibrin to encourage the growth of healthy new tissue.
Many of the conditions associated with cavitations have also been associated with residual infection in root canal teeth. As we noted a while back, it’s common for harmful bacteria and other microbes to get sealed into root canal teeth, where they can ultimately become a systemic burden. Because of this, we generally don’t recommend them and, when the pulp is at risk of dying, favor regenerative endodontics instead. (Much more about that at the previous link!)
But it’s not all about what we don’t do that makes a biological dental office special. There’s plenty that we do, as well.
For one, we talk much more before we treat. We need to hear your story, your challenges, and your concerns. You may have felt dismissed by doctors or dentists before. You may have felt like your healthcare practitioner thought your health issues were “all in your head,” and you’re discouraged about ever finding your way to wellness. You can talk to us and trust us. We’re different.
We also try to answer as many of your questions as possible – maybe even questions you didn’t know to ask! What can we say? Patients are just more comfortable when they’re well-informed and feel like they’re part of the process. After all, it’s your mouth, your body, and your wellness we’re talking about!
At Green City, we’re part of a team, working with you and your family, as well as your other holistic healthcare providers. Whether it’s airway issues, safe amalgam removal and detox, nutrition counseling, or just a regular check-up and cleaning, we always take the holistic approach to stay on the same page as you walk your path to whole body wellness.
Hippocrates image by Raed Mansour, via Flickr