Over the past decade or so, conventional dentistry has finally begun to appreciate the relationship between oral and systemic health. It’s a welcome change. Just the other day, we ran across an article  on dentistry’s “paradigm shift.”
The dental field is experiencing a paradigm shift in which the mouth is no longer viewed as an independent entity, but intricately connected to the rest of the body. Thus, whilst poor oral health negatively impacts on appetite, nutrition, self-esteem and quality of life, it has additional consequences that can affect general health.
Of course, this shift is only partial, largely restricted to the well-documented links between gum disease and other inflammatory health conditions. Still, it raises an important question: If dentistry in general now accepts the fact that the teeth and mouth are always connected to a body, how is this so different from holistic or biological dentistry, as the two terms are commonly defined?
You may have noticed how those two terms are often used interchangeably. In fact, just minutes after we ran across the above article, we encountered this :
Holistic and biological dentists are basically interchangeable in their practice philosophies. The difference between a holistic and a traditional dentist stems mostly from a philosophical approach.
Actually, they aren’t. But more on this in a moment.
Holistic or biological dentists operate according to the belief system that teeth are an integral part of the body and the patient’s overall health, while recognizing that the oral and dental health can have a major influence on other disease processes in the body.
The good doctor does go on to acknowledge that “most, if not all, dentists believe this to be true and operate daily with the well-being of the patient in mind.” So how is holistic dentistry actually different?
The holistic or biologic dentist takes this treatment idea further and tries to resolve dental issues while working in harmony with the rest of the body.
But that’s still not biological dentistry.
We’ve blogged before about what biological dentistry is  and why it’s called that . We won’t rehash it. Rather, we’ll distill it to a single point: Biological dentistry is rooted in regulative medicine that is focused on dental barriers to optimal health.
Dental situations are viewed in the context of a person’s total toxic burden. The state of the patient’s biological terrain must be addressed. After all, the terrain – the extracellular matrix – is what guides the body’s self-regulating abilities.
This is a fundamental concept. A dental practice that neglects this cannot, in the strict sense, be considered biological. It may be holistic, concerned with body, mind, and spirit alike. It may be integrative, combining the best modern clinical practice with traditional healing wisdom.
But biological dentistry, by definition, rests on supporting the body’s self-regulating abilities so treatment of problem dental situations – mercury, root canals, cavitations – can be most effective.
One of the reasons focal infection theory fell out of favor was that, in the wake of Weston Price’s landmark research , dentists began taking out root canal teeth left and right, claiming it would cure systemic illnesses. After so many people experienced no improvement, the theory was blamed.
But what subsequent science has suggested is that just extracting the root canal teeth wasn’t enough; deeper physiological disturbances need to be addressed, as well.
There are many good dentists out there who describe their practice as “holistic” or “biological” who do very good work. They safely remove mercury fillings. They remove infected root canal teeth or clean out cavitations. They support detox. They have patients who sing their praises, who feel their lives have been restored thanks to them.
But we’ve lost count of the number of patients who have come to us after seeing other integrative dentists. They’ve had their mercury or root canals removed, yet remained burdened by difficult symptoms. No one had connected all the dots. Their underlying regulative issues remained unaddressed.
To just take out the mercury or root canals or treat cavitations while neglecting the terrain is not much better than treating the symptom rather than the cause.
To put it another way: If the terrain is healthy and the immune system robust, a person can generally handle those dental issues for a long time without seeing chronic, systemic illness develop. It’s when the terrain is disordered and polluted that dental burdens can do their greatest damage to a person’s health.
So first, you’ve got to address the terrain.
To learn more about regulative biological dentistry, explore Dr. V’s Biodental Library  – particularly his articles in our quarterly newsletter Biosis , as well as those on our biological dentistry resource pages. There, he goes in depth on the concepts he wants his patients to understand so they can take charge of their health in a real, profound way, with lots of case histories to illustrate.
And if you have questions about how biological dentistry may help in your own health journey, please don’t hesitate to give us a call: 209-838-3522. We’d be pleased to talk with you.
Image by B Rosen , via Flickr