by Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
The human body is a nonspecific sounding board for the daily assault of environmental irritants and toxins. These include live pathogens, chemical substances and physical influences. As they build up, our immune systems can wear down. True healing requires us to care for the complex and dynamic matrix of systems that comprise the body. And not only must we care for them but the relationships among them.
This is not the approach of conventional Western medicine.
Ever since the Galilean Revolution of the 15th century, conventionalists have taken a very linear approach to reality and specific questions about illness. In their view, the human body is a kind of machine that can be repaired if flaws or defects are found. Their model insists that each specific illness always develops in the same way for everyone. It assumes that an absence of symptoms means an absence of illness.
It is, in short, a reductionist model.
Conventional dentistry and medicine have their virtues. They can be useful in managing acute or specific, mono-causal diseases or, in the case of dentistry, broken or infected teeth. But they largely fail to uncover the health problems that arise when immune system regulation is disturbed. Different afflilctions are seen as parallel, not acting together. The management and treatment of multifactorial illness is impossible in this model.
Today, technological innovation is often pushed as The Answer to our most vexing health problems. Manufacturers regularly bombard dentists with sales pitches for their expensive, high-tech equipment. And some dentists express a near-compulsive need for new tactics and technologies that might help them see more patients and make more money. But often, innovations are not allowed to mature. They are abandoned or phased out in favor of yet newer means and methods that seem even more promising.
Despite this, the national state of health has declined, and the cost of care has increased.
For the truly integrative, biological dentist, technology is a tool to be used only as needed. This practitioner begins with first evaluating each client as an entire being, then assisting the individual in setting a course toward optimum health.
Though techno-mania can suggest progressive thinking, conventional dentistry remains in thrall to some old practices that have since proven unsuccessful, ineffective and even dangerous. For instance, most dentists continue to use mercury amalgam for fillings even though non-poisonous alternatives are available. But it is crucial to evaluate the suitability of all dental materials for each client before implanting them. Several techniques can be used, and several kinds of practitioners provide this service.
Most people lack specific, preferred futures for either their dental or general health. This is not their fault. Our society doesn’t really value such planning. We’re taught only to react when problems arise. But those who can future-focus have an edge. Having a preferred vision, they want to optimize how they live. This includes what they choose to have done dentally. These people think about their long-term objectives. They choose their lives.
We encourage our clients to take their time to review all available information on their situation and suggest they pursue multiple opinions. This is not to create disparity between judgments and treatment philosophies but to lend perspective. When people can identify and develop their values, beliefs and vision with a reasonable trust, they act wisely and choose the soundest concept. Able to grow independent of their health care providers, they can live lives closer to their ideals.