Integrative Dental Solutions: A Case History
by Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
If you’ve only seen conventional dentists and physicians for your health care needs, you will find that working with an integrative, biological practitioner is a radically different experience. To give you a sense of what the process is like, I offer the following case history. Though every client’s dental health situation is specific and unique – the result of one’s personal physiology, environmental factors and life experiences – this case illustrates how we work with you in your quest for optimum health and wellness.
On October 24, 1997, a 40 year old woman came in as a new client. Prior to any record-taking or exam, I met with her in my office to get to know her and her feelings, attitudes, thoughts and values – aspects that often reflect one’s dental concerns. I wanted to know her expectations for both the present and future. Her immediate desire was to have us evaluate her for any harmful conditions in her mouth.
A review of her medical and dental questionnaires revealed the following conditions:
- Environmental allergies
- Low thyroid
- Bulimia – previously, 14 years
- Headaches – 3-4 per week
- Chronic yeast infections
- Severe cramping before menses
- Chronic bronchitis
- Back problems
- Chronic irritability
- Anxiety attacks
- Sore throat with infection – 30 years; discomfort rated 2 out of 10 (10 = most severe)
- Visual light sensitivity – 20 years; rated 3
- Vertigo – 3 years; rated 2
- Receiving enzyme potentiated desensitization shots twice monthly
- Parietal headaches (scalp very painful to touch) – 30 years; pain rated 5
- Clenching and grinding teeth at night – 25 years; rated 5
- Neck and shoulder problems/tired, sore neck muscles – 20 years; rated 3
- Headaches, migraine type, located in forehead, maxillary sinus, under eyes – 20 years, 2- 3 times per week; rated “definitely a 10”
- Pain in cheek muscles – rated 3
- Lack of mobility in neck and shoulders – range of movement rated 3-5 (10 = most mobility)
Seeking treatment for these conditions, the client had previously consulted an acupuncturist, allergist, chiropractor, ear/nose/throat specialist, endocrinologist, optometrist, psychologist and various family physicians.
Clinical examination revealed no caries or serious periodontal problems, although her gums weren’t as healthy as they could have been. There were no abnormalities or lesions in any other hard or soft tissues of the head, neck or face. Her occlusion (bite) was within the clinical norm, and the vertical dimension was adequate. There were no clicks or other irregularities in the TM joints. She was able to open the mandible (jaw) 51 mm and move it laterally 11 mm to either side. Muscle palpation revealed the presence of several sensitive muscles. Bilaterally, the pterygoid group (in the cheek area) was the most sensitive, rated from 8 to 10. The trapezius muscles (in the upper back and shoulder) were also sore and painful, rated from 6 to 8.
Sometime between 1980 and 1982, a root canal had been performed on the client’s upper left first molar. It was now symptomatic. Reflecting on her lengthy list of complaints, the client realized that many of her symptoms dated to that procedure, although she had never previously connected the events. She also had 18 mercury amalgam surfaces and 2 gold crowns.
I provided the day’s findings and reprints of relevant scientific articles from our research library for her to read and study before returning for further consultation.
At the next appointment, the client and I reviewed the complete clinical findings and her complaints. She prioritized her thoughts, and we helped her create a preferred vision for herself. Because of her many responsibilities – homeschooling her three children, caring for her aging parents and inlaws, buying a house – she wanted to take her case slowly, step by step. Her main goal was to rid herself of the headaches and head, face, neck and shoulder pain. She also wanted to restore her gums to excellent condition and eliminate all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
She was scheduled for impressions for a set of models. A face bow transfer was taken, and her models were mounted on a semi-adjustable articulator. We had a lower bruxism splint made of thermo-plastic material and inserted it on November 21. By mid-January 1998, her headaches had begun to dissipate, and she asked about nutritional and homeopathic remedies to spur further improvement. Three months later, her husband dropped by the office to tell us that her pain was nearly gone and the cramping had stopped. He told me they were both very pleased and excited, that this was the first time his wife had been helped. He also wanted to pick up some business cards to refer a friend who had been experiencing similar problems.
On May 5, the client returned for her preventive dental maintenance visit and reported that her gums no longer hurt; in fact, she felt great! Our examination confirmed her perception. She also stated that she was generally less congested in the sinus areas, as well as in her lungs.
She had continued to study books and online material. On the basis of her new and growing knowledge, she decided to have her root canal teeth removed and have us explore the occasionally problematic extraction site for her upper left third molar. However, she needed to wait until the fall to pursue these procedures, when her life would be a little less hectic. For the interim, we referred her to a homeopathic MD who performed a Biological Terrain Analysis (BTA) and blood test. He began to balance her body chemistries and provided needed homeopathics and herbs. (Note: We now provide BTA services directly in our office.)
On September 16, the client underwent surgery to eliminate both problem areas. Using homeopathics and enzymes to control her discomfort and promote rapid and complete healing, she was able to refrain from the use of any allopathic medicines.
A year later, the client had her serum analyzed for dental materials reactivity by a consulting firm in Colorado Springs. After studying the results, we further discussed all of her restorative options. Once she was confident of her choices, she gave us permission to continue. Over the course of several appointments, we removed her mercury amalgam fillings and the gold crowns that had amalgam beneath. We also had a fixed bridge fabricated.
On May 27, the client’s physician performed a heavy metals urine challenge using the mercury chelator DMPS. Measured by Doctor’s Data of Chicago, the results indicated a severe load of mercury housed in her tissues: 120 micrograms per gram of creatinine. The reference range is 0 to 3.
The client continued to work with the homeopathic physician, and when seen in our office on November 6, 2001, she proudly announced that she was down to about 20 parts per billion of mercury in her system. She indicated that she was as healthy as she had ever imagined when she created her vision at our first meeting. Reflecting on her initial vision, the client related that the process to achieve her preferred health status was much deeper and more profound than she had imagined it would be.