Biological dentistry stresses the use of non-toxic restoration materials for dental work, and focuses on the unrecognized impact that dental toxins and hidden dental infections can have on overall health.
The various therapies encompassed by biological dentistry all share a single basic premise: They are founded on the idea that the teeth can affect the general health of the body, and vice versa. For example, the theory for which biological dentistry is best known asserts that the mercury in amalgam fillings can make you sick, leading to recurrent health problems, such as neurologic disorders, chronic fatigue and arthritis. To remedy these ailments, proponents say, you need only have all your amalgam fillings removed and replaced with less toxic alternatives, such as non-metallic quartz-based fillings or porcelain inlays. Many dentists and oral surgeons can and often do remove amalgam fillings at their patient's request. However, before you embark on what could become a very expensive and uncomfortable series of dental procedures, you should consider the fact that both the American Dental Association and the National Institute of Health have specifically rejected the amalgam theory. There is no scientific evidence, they say, of any detrimental effects from amalgam. Of course, the so-called amalgam problem is not the only reason that people seek out biological dentists. The various unconventional treatments outlined below seek to cure a broad spectrum of ailments-ranging from headache to heart disease-through operations on the teeth and mouth. Some people adopt these therapies as 'natural' or 'non-toxic' alternatives to mainstream treatment. However, none of them have been proven effective in scientific tests.
Procedure of Treatment
Many biological dentists work in conjunction with other alternative health-care providers, such as homeopathic practitioners and holistic medical doctors. The dental procedures most commonly offered in the United States include neural therapy oral acupuncture, cold laser therapy, and mouth balancing. To enhance the effectiveness of these therapies, the practitioner may prescribe homeopathic remedies and make recommendations concerning diet and nutrition.
According to practitioners of neural therapy, biological energy flows throughout the human body and enters each cell at a specified frequency range. If the energy flow stays within the appropriate range, it is believed that the individual will stay healthy. However, a breakdown of this flow can theoretically cause a disruption of cell function, eventually leading to a number of chronic disorders. According to this theory, injury, inflammation, or infection in the mouth signals a blockage in the energy flow elsewhere in the body. Hence, it's thought that a problem in a distant organ can be remedied by restoring the normal flow of energy at the site of the dental problem. To accomplish this, biological dentists inject a local anesthetic, such as procaine, around the offending tooth.
Treatment Time: Two or three seconds for the injection.
Treatment Frequency: Varied according to the body's response to the injection. If it is not clear which tooth is involved, the practitioner may experiment with four or five treatments over a period of two or four weeks to identify the location of the energy blockage.
Acupuncture seeks to balance the flow energy along 14 channels, or meridians, throughout the body. It is thought that the flow can be adjusted through application of needles at specific 'acupoints' along the meridians. Oral acupuncture uses injections of saline water, weak local anesthetics or homeopathic solutions at acupoints within the mouth. When the energy flow has been properly balanced at these points, practitioners believer, problems elsewhere on the meridian will be rectified. Hence, this form of therapy is used for problems ranging from sinusitis and allergies to digestive problems and neuralgia.
Treatment Time: One to two seconds for the injection.
Cold Laser Therapy
Treatment Frequency: Varies depending upon the body's response to the injection. Patients typically undergo no more than three treatments over a period of two or three weeks.
Cold laser therapy is an alternative form of oral acupuncture available to patients who dislike needles. The low-power beam used in this procedure is incapable of causing any thermal damage to the body's tissues; hence the name 'cold'. The beam is typically aimed either directly at the teeth to prepare them for treatment or at an acupoints within the mouth. The therapy is usually recommended to reduce swelling and hasten healing.
Treatment Time: When used directly on the teeth, 30 seconds to one minute; when used on acupoints, one to five minutes.
Treatment Frequency: Depending upon the body's response, two or three applications may be recommended.
Homeopathic remedies are extremely weak herbal solutions given to stimulate the body's healing powers. Advocates regard them as a non-toxic alternative to drugs, although they have never been proven effective in standard clinical trials. Biological dental practitioners use them to temporarily alleviate pain or discomfort during dental emergencies. They are also used to aid the body in eliminating supposed mercury toxicity after the removal of amalgam fillings. Other dentists prefer to use them to enhance "detoxification" during the actual amalgam removal process.
Treatment Frequency: May be used every 15 minutes in dental emergencies. For amalgam detoxification, treatments range from two to three months up to two to three years or longer.
Often recommended as a remedy for painful temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ), headaches and eye problems, this form of therapy aims to bring the facial muscles, ligaments and jaws into proper relationship so that the muscles do not endure too much stress. The alignment of the teeth, jaws and muscles undergo an initial evaluation, typically with the aid of computer, as the practitioner looks for muscle dysfunction and jaw vibrations. If any deformities are identified, custom orthopaedic braces are produced to be worn in the mouth and realign the jaw, thus eliminating associated pain. Although this procedure sounds similar to standard orthodontics, its claims are considerably more expansive.
Treatment Time: Depends upon the severity of the deformity, but can last up to 12 months, perhaps longer in severe cases.
Treatment Frequency: Appliance adjustments must be made on a regular basis. Between 5 and 20 appointments are typically required.
Most biological dentists recommend that you supplement their treatments with certain Vitamins and foods. For example, patients who have undergone the removal of amalgam are told to include magnesium, selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and folic acid in their diets to promote the excretion of mercury from their system. These ingredients can be found in a variety of popular multivitamin supplements. Patients are also given a long list of things to avoid, often including sugar, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, soft drinks, refined carbohydrates, milk, cheese, margarine and fish. (Note, however, that none of these products, eaten in moderation, has been shown to have any adverse effect upon health).
Two schools of thought run through biological dentistry. One asserts that the materials used in mainstream dentistry are toxic and can promote serious disorders elsewhere in the body. By weakening the immune system or attacking the nervous system, these materials are said to cause ailments ranging from Alzheimer's disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and arthritis to kidney problems and heart disease. Removing the offending materials is, therefore, supposed to effect a cure. Although various case studies are advanced to demonstrate the validity of this theory, there is no scientific evidence to support it. The second school of thought holds that the teeth and surrounding tissues are linked to other organs in the body through a network of energy channels. Although these channels-such as the meridians of acupuncture-have never been verified by modern science, clinical trials have shown that acupuncture-type techniques can, in fact, relieve certain types of pain. Claims for oral acupuncture include relief of toothaches, tooth sensitivities jaw pain, gingivitis, neuralgia, sinusitis and pain in distant parts of the body. In addition, the oral acupuncture points behind the last upper and lower molars have been used to treat shoulder and elbow pain, neck pain restricted neck movement, low back pain and TMJ. Although the jury is still out on the true value of acupuncture, it is possible that it could provide some relief.
Who Should Avoid This Therapy?
Mainstream dentists regard amalgam removal and detoxification as an expensive scam, and the American Dental Association has declared it unethical. Other forms of biological dentistry, such as oral acupuncture, are generally considered safe for anyone, although you may want to avoid the use of needles if you tend to bleed easily.
Proponents of biological dentistry point with pride to its lack of side effects. Occasionally a patient may experience nausea from detoxification process during and after amalgam removal. However, biological dentists say that patients are more likely to experience tooth sensitivity and allergic reactions in traditional dentistry than in the biological variety.