Dental Care

Biological Dentists and Health


Biological dentists are licensed, professional dentists who take a somewhat different approach to dentistry than that employed by other, more traditional practitioners. 

Instead of focusing only on the impact dental issues have on the teeth and the mouth, their approach also takes into account the patient's entire body and overall well-being. 

This more holistic emphasis results that this kind of dentists being sometimes referred to as "holistic dentists."

Amalgam Fillings

For example, holistic dentists try to educate their patients about the potential dangers of dental amalgam fillings

Dental amalgam (a metallic compound consisting of mercury and an alloy of silver, tin and copper) has been used to fill cavities in hundreds of millions of patients for more than 150 years and is not only relatively inexpensive, but easy to use, durable and very effective. 

However, amalgam fillings (commonly called "silver fillings") contain large quantities of mercury - a substance that has been proven to be toxic.  As a result, the use of amalgam fillings in dentistry has become a controversial topic. 

Many holistic dentists believe the mercury in dental amalgam can either cause or is associated with a long list of potential health issues, some of which - including kidney damage, impaired renal function, immune system suppression, congestive heart failure, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and even Alzheimer's disease - can be quite severe. 

As a result, most holistic dentists refuse to use amalgam to fill their patients' cavities.  Many even advise their patients that existing amalgam fillings should be replaced with a safer, non-toxic material.

Fluoride Controversy

Many biological dentists also question the wisdom of adding fluoride to public water supplies.  Like mercury, fluoride is toxic. 

Many teeth sealants contain significant levels of fluoride, and holistic dentists are worried about overexposure

Fluoride overexposure during early childhood can lead to an irreversible condition called dental fluorosis, and many biological dentists are warning their patients about this possibility in addition to the potential problems associated with dental amalgam.

Believers and Non-believers

You can find an assortment of stories and testimonials on the Internet regarding these issues.  People with all sorts of health problems have been reporting the disappearance or lessening of their symptoms following the removal of their amalgam fillings. 

Others describe unfortunate experiences they've had with teeth sealants intended to protect their teeth and deter the formation of cavities.  Some of these people are reporting the discovery of severe damage to their teeth beneath the "protective" layer of sealant. 

Holistic dentists are also warning their patients about the potential dangers involved in using dental sealants.

Some or all of these reports could be true, but as you're reading them you need to remember that not everyone seems equally sensitive to fluoride or mercury. 

In other words, not everyone with dental amalgam fillings experiences clear health conditions related to mercury poisoning, and not everyone with dental sealants has problems with their teeth. 

If we surveyed everyone who has dental sealants or silver fillings, we would probably learn that many –apparently- do not experience directly related negative effects caused by the presence of either mercury or fluoride.

Anecdotic Proof

So, are biological dentists overreacting to these reports?  The answer is probably an unhelpful "yes and no."  As we mentioned above, not everyone will have health problems. 

But, many of the patients holistic dentists treat go to those practitioners specifically because they are having issues with their dental amalgam or teeth sealants. 

This means that biological dentists probably see a disproportionately higher percentage of people who think their health could be affected by these materials.  And, although those people might be more sensitive to mercury and/or fluoride, they are, nevertheless, experiencing real health problems. 

The almost inevitable result is that holistic dentists probably tend to view teeth sealants and dental amalgam fillings in a more negative light than they would if so many patients with problems did not actively seek them out.

Conclusions

What is the answer, then about the relevance of biological dentists?  Do amalgam fillings and dental sealants lead to as many potential health issues as biological dentists contend?  Or, are these materials as safe as traditional dentistry has led us to believe? 

As with so many things about life in general, the truth about the potential risks of fluoride, dental amalgam and sealants probably lies between the two positions. 

Therefore it is always a good thing to inform you well and from different sources before taking long-lasting decisions about your dental health.

Additional reading: Feel free to find out about laser dentistry on the Comprehensive Dental Center Associates Web site.

 

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