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Your oral health is an integral part of your overall health and well-being. Critical relationships and interdependencies exist between our oral network and our vital systems. They are intrinsically linked. In the field of biologics, we refer to this close linkage as the Oral Systemic Connection. As such, the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums can affect your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Unfortunately, it is quite easy in health care (including medicine and dentistry) to fall into the trap of providing reactive care and simply treating problems as they arise, rather than taking a proactive, preventative approach. Most practitioners prefer and attempt to treat in a preventative model. A biological approach to dentistry ensures that systems are in place and steps are taken to achieve that objective.
It is important to note that biological dentistry is not a specialized field of dentistry. Rather, it is a science-based, clinically-tested, multi-faceted approach to providing general dentistry services in a way that promotes alternative thinking, clientele empowerment, proactive and holistic-centred guidance. It is not defined through or by any one particular service, treatment or product. Biologics is the result of implementing an integrated dental care model where a combination of cultural, philosophical, and technical approaches are applied in a way that targets the achievement of full body health.
Focusing on a biological approach to oral care emphasizes the importance of collaborative care, in addition to the use of natural products and biocompatible materials that respect individual sensitivities. A holistic approach to dentistry welcomes and enables clinician-to-client interactions, and involves a proactive, preventative oral care delivery model, as opposed to a reactive symptoms-centric one.
We view the mouth as the gateway to our overall health. Our oral cavity is home to a diverse community of bacteria, good and bad. The health of this microbiome is highly dependent upon our eating and drinking habits, our life-style choices, and the level of attention directed towards our personal hygiene. Because of the close connection of our bodies’ systems, ignorance, negligence or misfortune such as oral trauma can impact the health of the entire body. For example, gum disease (gingivitis) has been linked to a number of health problems, including (but not limited to):
A holistic approach to oral care can lead to a much awaited reprieve from years of frustrating, nagging and often painful health issues whose origins may be attributed to the mouth!
One of the main goals of biological dentistry is to minimize human exposure to harmful products and materials. Clinicians are trained to source and utilize materials that are most likely to be biocompatible with the majority of clients.
Some of the procedures that are commonly performed in biological dentistry include:
Dentists who apply a biological approach make available biocompatible replacement options for missing teeth, such as dental implants made of titanium. Titanium is a metal that is widely applied by the Health Care sector and integrates with the body with a high degree of success. Alternatives exist including Zirconia implants. These are a more recent development whose properties are more like ceramic and are an alternative for those not compatible with titanium.
Biologically focused practitioners use alternative materials for fillings such as composite resin, which is made from a mixture of glass or quartz and plastic.
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT – iaomt.org) along with the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA.gov) have identified that there are sectors of the population who may be more susceptible to potential adverse effects of metal-based dental fillings. These fillings are typically called mercury silver amalgams and are known to contain copper, mercury, sliver, and tin. Some people react adversely to these metals suffering oral lesions or other sensitivity reactions. The FDA has recommended that these metal filling not be used on pregnant women, those planning to become pregnant, nursing mothers or young children. Whatever your position may be on the issue of the use of amalgam-based fillings, Living Wellness Dental Dorchester has elected to make readily available alternative options for all clients, in addition to those who believe they may be at a higher risk of developing sensitivities.
Many biological dentists offer nutritional counselling to help their clients maintain optimal oral and whole-body health. This may involve education about the link between diet and oral health, as well as recommendations for specific foods and supplements that can support healthy teeth and gums.
A fascinating subject in the realm of biologics is the study of bio-energetics; each tooth in one’s mouth intersects with an energy meridian in the Chinese system of medicine. See some of the fascinating interconnections for yourself on our tooth meridian chart [click some of the teeth and discover what years of Chinese medicine has to offer}. A biological approach also places immense value on our place within the world around us and considers the interdependencies of the dental industry with, and strives to avoid impacts to the surrounding environment.
The field of orthodontics continues to evolve including a drive towards offering treatments that focus on using biocompatible materials. Some orthodontic treatments take advantage of ceramic implants or aligners made of polyurethane. Other options are available to those who experience difficulty with their breathing and facial posture in addition to their teeth alignment. The field of Orthotropics allows for a wholistic view of, and approach to dealing with teeth alignment, jaw placement and breathing disorders. Orthotropics is concerned primarily with the concept of overall health, by focusing on the airway. It considers factors linked to physical and behavioural problems (snoring, sleep apnoea, shortness of breath, exhaustion, ADHD etc.) and employs measures and treatments that can bring about life-changing adjustments.
If you have amalgam fillings and have some related concerns, a consultation with a biologically-focused practitioner is a step in the right direction. As with most procedures, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there are options. Clients who wish to have metal-based fillings removed can find dentists with knowledge about how to perform a SMART (Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique) amalgam removal. This process is designed to introduce amalgam removal techniques that minimize the risks to the client as well as to the practitioners. The procedure recommends the use of personal protective equipment, rubber dams, negative air units and high-volume suction.
Traditional dentistry and related procedures and materials have been around for many years. The large majority of the population who frequently visit dentists enjoy the benefits of a healthy mouth. While a large portion of the population require no special care, there are those who have heightened sensitivities to various substances and chemicals that are typically found in dental products. A biological approach to dentistry affords clients the opportunity to submit blood samples for analytical evaluation to determine the level of sensitivities that they likely have to dental products. Sensitivities testing brings awareness to the process and increases the likelihood that subsequent procedures will be successful.
Electing to visit a dentist who uses a biological approach is really about:
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