See also:

Integrative Dentistry

Dr. Gerald H. Smith; Edward Arana, D.D.S.

A new era in dentistry is rapidly emerging as a result of the process of intelligent evolution. The transition between the purely mechanical phase (drill and fill) to the highly evolved biologic phase of dentistry has occurred slowly (over the past 150 plus years). As dentistry moves into the 21st century, it is providing a coupling of high tech materials, integration of techniques, and diagnostics with scientifically based research. Biologic dentists are focusing on biocompatible materials and their influence on the immune system, nutritional support for maintaining oral health, focal oral infections from root canaled and bone sites from previously extracted teeth, energy disturbances to the whole body, and the direct influence of the three dimensional relationship of the way the teeth mesh together to the stability of the spine and low back.

The inception of an organized biologic concept to the practice of dentistry had its origin in the late 1800's when the National Dental Association recognized the harmful effects of mercury fillings and mandated non-use by its members. This warning has finally been recognized and acted upon by several foreign countries that have either banned the use of mercury fillings or are in the process: Sweden, Germany, and Austria. The next major contribution occurred in the 1930's when a dentist, Weston Price, teamed up with an anthropologist, Francis Pottenger to document the link between tooth decay and bad bites to the processing of food (as presented in their well documented book: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration). This as well as other research provided the basis for biologic dentistry to utilize nutritional concepts in the treatment of oral disease. The 1940's witnessed the unheeded dental and medical communities' scientific warnings of the dangers of fluoride. After dismal results and many painful lessons 98% of Western Europe have banned the use of fluoride in their drinking water. Many other major countries have followed in their footsteps: Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, India and China. The third major discovery involved focal infections from root canaled teeth and cavitational problems (residual infections in the bone following tooth extraction) placing a burden on the body's immune system with direct targeting of organs. Additional discoveries that span the era of the 1930's to present, by numerous researchers have helped link the distress from imbalances in the craniosacral system and teeth. This latter connection will prove to be one of the most important discoveries in the history of dental medicine. This evolutionary transition has awakened a new consciousness and infused a high level of excitement among biologic dental practitioners worldwide. Biologic dentistry offers the dentist a golden opportunity to practice at the highest professional level and the patient the chance to resolve their health issues.

Dr. Gerald H. Smith

Biological Dentistry can be categorized as dentistry with a conscious. A consciousness of how the treatments of the teeth and jaws will affect the health of the individual and how it will affect the immune system. Will it be congruent and health enhancing or will the treatments be health stressors to the individual?

In the past only lip service was paid to the bio-compatibility of materials used in dentistry. The material's compatibility was judged on a general basis and not on an individual basis that is required for bio-compatibility.

The most tragic example of misstated bio-compatibility is organized dentistry's position of advocating a known poison — MERCURY — in amalgam fillings just because it has been used for 150 years! In doing so, dentistry has been misled and the truth obfuscated concerning the fact that mercury does indeed cause ill effects when placed as an implant in the body even to the point of denying that a filling in a prepared tooth cavity is not an implant. Mercury and other heavy metals from dental fillings contribute to all chronic disease states as do multiple chemical sensitizing exposures. From environmentally ill patients there is clinical evidence that the heavy metals from dental fillings and multiple chemical exposures act synergistically to intoxicate and stress the patient, thus causing disease.

Biological Dentistry is an emerging new field of Probiotic (supporting life) dental medicine. It has been developing in Germany over the last 25 years. It is now being taught and practiced in the U.S., Austria, Germany, England, France, Switzerland, Australia, Taiwan, Sweden, and Colombia.

Biological Dentistry is aesthetic, relatively nontoxic and individually biocompatible. It utilizes physiologic and electronic methods to locate chronic areas of disease that are difficult to locate by current standard methods. Incorporated in this field of biological dental medicine are the time proven healing methods of homeopathy, acupuncture, nutrition, physical therapy and herbology. The more modern sciences of neural therapy, hematology, immunology and electro-acupuncture are also incorporated.

These methods are in addition to the many scientific disciplines, which encompass the field of clinical dentistry. The curative measures of biological dentistry are applied in accordance with the patient's natural abilities of regulation, regeneration, and adaptation and self-cure. Biological dental treatment removes the stress burdens that conventional treatment may induce.

The first area of concern in biological dentistry is the toxicity of metals and their release from the fillings and replacement appliances (metal partials and crowns that have nickel) used in dentistry. These metal ions dissociate from their masses to diffuse, migrate and become absorbed in the tissues altering the electrochemical character of the immune system concomitantly changing the ratios and populations of the blood cells (decreased while count) and the cells of the immune system. In addition, these migrating metal ions stop or alter the function of the body's enzymes.

The next area of biological concern is the extent and character of the direct electrical currents generated by the disassociation of dissimilar metals in an electrolyte media (fluids and tissues of the human body). This is called "oral galvanism." These currents carry disruptive metal ions to the opposite poles in these oral galvanic batteries. How much oral galvanic power is necessary to change organic function, to change membrane permeability, to interfere with the power of thought or recall, or to initiate degenerative change? We just don't know! But we do know that it does change from electronegative to electropositive.

Is it possible that these metallic energy sinks are acting as blockades in the meridians or bioenergetic circuits associated with the teeth? Can these blockades cause dysfunction in their respective organs, endocrine systems, vertebrae, muscles, nerves and nerve reflexes? It is and it does! Should we view current existing dental restorations as toxic scars? With mercury amalgam implanted in the teeth, most definitely. With gold and other metal restorations for again a certain percentage of people again most definitely and with composite cements on an individual basis, again most definitely. With just about any restorative material used in dentistry there will be blockades by the body if the immune system is still functional because the tooth is an open and dynamic living organ. Biological Dentistry is concerned with treatment and therapies that cause the least disturbance to the immune system.

The next area of concern in Biological Dentistry is that of hidden or residual infection to include areas of necrosis and chronic inflammation. Collectively these areas are called "Dental Interference Fields or Foci." This is dentistry's most ignored area for meaningful and effective therapeutic contributions in resolving chronic disease. A focus or dental interference field is a diseased change in the soft connective tissue containing un-processable material causing the local and general defense reactions to be in a continuous state of active conflict. This can lead to abnormal distant effects far removed from the original source and is most often chronic in nature.

Biological Dentists utilize materials reactivity testing to individualize the bio-compatibility of dental materials used in the reparative and restorative aspects of dentistry. A materials reactivity test is made from the patient's blood serum. It is a qualitative antigen-antibody precipitin observation type test. It indicates what materials may be suitable for the patient to utilize in the restorative aspect of his dental treatment. W.J. Clifford, M.S. developed this test. The other types of testing for the individual bio-compatibility assessment for suitable dental materials are electrodermal testing as advocated by Reinhold Voll, M.D. and Fritz Kramer, D.D.S. and Applied Kinesiology muscle testing as developed by George Goodheart, D.C.

Using all the knowledge and skills of probiotic dental medicine, biological dentists strive to provide individual bio-compatibility testing, aesthetic, comfortable, functional and enduring dental artificial replacements. Biological dental treatment has the possibility of a stress reduction so great the patient loses all or many of their distressing chronic disease symptoms, which encompasses many pathological conditions.

Biological Dentistry is the great contribution that Sir William Osler meant when he said, "The next great advancement in medicine will come from the dentists." Biological Dentistry will, out of necessity, become the dental medicine of the 21st Century.

Edward Arana, D.D.S.

(As written for the Holistic Dental Association's Web site)