Recommended Reading: The Implant Biz, the Modern Jaw
Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
The Danger Within Us
One of the things we love about our patients is that they tend to be devoted to learning as much as they can about mouth-body health and how to achieve their desired level of wellness. They read. A lot. And it shows.
If you’re one of them – or like them – then you may want to check out a couple recent books that came to our attention.
The first is The Danger Within Us by award-winning medical journalist Jeanne Lenzer. In it, she explores how patients are often guinea pigs for the highly profitable world of medical implants.
“Most of us assume,” she writes early on
that if a medical device is on the market, there must be evidence that the FDA has vetted it as safe and effective. In fact, for most devices, this is not the case. While there has been a good deal of criticism about the FDA’s failure to protect the public from drugs that are unsafe or ineffective, drug manufacturers are at least supposed to prove the value of their products in one and generally two clinical trials. What the public and many doctors don’t realize is that the same is not true for even the highest-risk implanted devices.
According to one study she mentions, more than 80% of the devices that caused the most harm “were cleared or approved through pathways that didn’t require clinical testing by the FDA.”
So sadly, stories of the terrible consequences of this come as little surprise. In dentistry, we see it when dental implants – titanium and ceramic alike – appear to be the final burden a body can take before chronic, systemic health problems result. You also see it when implants are placed without thoroughly addressing the periodontal issues that led to tooth loss, resulting in peri-implantitis – a growing problem that even implant specialists have described as like “sitting on a time bomb.”
Yet because dental implants seem to pose no immediate risk while providing fine cosmetic results, many continue to treat them nonchalantly. No doubt you’ve seen ads for “new teeth in just one day” or maybe even breezy gimmick videos such as this:
But this is exactly what you might expect when you wind up with a “health care” system that’s driven by profits – a state of affairs which Lenzer concisely chronicles in her book, as well.
To learn more about The Danger Within Us, check out this podcast from NPR.
Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic
The other book we’d like to call your attention to also ventures into the realm of unintended consequences. Here, it’s how certain lifestyle changes – softer diets, the move away from breastfeeding, more time spent indoors – have hindered jaw development.
Smaller jaws mean narrower arches, crowded teeth, and expensive orthodontics down the road. It also means a smaller airway and a higher risk of systemic health problems such as sleep apnea, cardiovascular issues, and much more.
In Jaws, dentist Sandra Kahn and noted biologist Paul Ehrlich suggest that perhaps the biggest factor in the incredible shrinking modern jaw is that modern diets require us to chew so much less than those of our distant ancestors. But while they draw on the work of Weston Price here, the authors seem to downplay the nutritional aspects of his findings. The degree of chew, they suggest, matters far more than the composition of what’s being chewed.
Yet in the soft, modern diet, that tends to include a lot of refined, hyper-processed carbohydrates and sugars. Not only are these problems for the teeth in and of themselves, but they tend to displace the minerals, fats, and other nutrients needed to develop full jaws and healthy dentition.
Like most all problem-focused books these days, this one offers solutions. Here, they’re centered on orthotropics, which the authors rebrand as “forwardontics.” And indeed, reshaping the airway makes far more sense than simply trying to correct with orthodontics after the fact. And the authors cover the many specific options available within this field, along with supportive therapies. They also focus on how we might prevent such problems from arising in the first place.
Want to check out this book for free? Just leave a comment below to let us know you’re interested. We’ll randomly choose a name from all those who comment before June 1, and they’ll receive a free copy of Jaws, courtesy of Stanford University Press.