What makes a biological office different?
Though biological dentistry incorporates most tools and techniques of traditional dentistry, the underlying philosophy is different. This affects how those tools and techniques may be used.
The focus is on the root of the Greek word bios, which means “life.” This, ultimately, is what the biological dentist does everything to promote, treating the mouth in ways that support the health and well-being of the body as a whole. They aim to minimize use of any potential dental toxins. So their practice will be mercury-free, fluoride-free, latex-free and so on. When mercury amalgam “silver” fillings must be removed, the dentist will follow strict safety protocols. Minimally invasive dentistry is the ideal: digital x-rays only when needed, inlays and onlays instead of full crowns, air abrasion instead of drilling when possible. Therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture and neural therapy may be integrated with “regular” dental care.
Most dental offices will go the extra mile for patients with special needs. In a biological or holistic dental office, most patients have health challenges and particular needs. That’s why they’re there – and why biological practices make additional effort to meet them (e.g., keeping the office fragrance-free for the sake of environmentally ill patients).
Here are some questions to ask when looking for a dentist:
- Is your office mercury-free? If yes, how long? Where did you get your post graduate training in proper protocol of mercury removal? (This is NOT taught in dental school.)
- Do you use a rubber dam when removing mercury amalgam fillings? This doesn’t stop mercury vapor but does prevent your swallowing pieces of amalgam as it is removed
- Do you use an ultra-high speed suction? This is placed behind the rubber dam to capture mercury vapor and further reduce exposure.
- Are fillings quartered into large pieces to remove? This is the accepted method, as it doesn’t generate all the mercury vapor that drilling out the whole filling does.
- Do you have mercury vapor collectors in the treatment rooms? The answer you want to hear is “yes.”
- Do you have water filters on each water syringe and handpiece? They may even have a “closed system” in which only bottles of sterile water are used.
- Do you provide a nosepiece for breathing during the amalgam removal? This prevents your breathing mercury vapor during amalgam removal.
- Do you use an amalgameter to measure the galvanic current coming off each filling? Again, the answer you want to hear is “yes.”
- Do you do sequential removal? Those galvanic readings should guide the order of filling removal, starting with the most “charged” and ending with the least. (The current results from reactions between dissimilar metals in the mouth and electrolyte-rich saliva.)
- Do you provide compatibility testing of all materials that may be used in my mouth? There are several good testing methods available. The main thing is that it gets done.
- Do you have more than 6 available options of composite materials? A biological office knows that not everyone can tolerate the same materials, so variety is the norm.
- Are you a latex-free office? Many people have allergic reactions to latex gloves and cleaning cups. Alternatives are available.
- Do you offer homeopathics after exposure of an x-ray or after use of anesthetics? Most biological offices are experienced in homeopathy.
- Is your office a fragrance-free office? Most biological offices are experienced with environmentally sensitive patients and are thus fragrance-free.
- Do you do or recommend root canal therapy? The answer may vary but most biological dentists find that root canals (dead teeth) are extremely likely to be a burden on the immune system. They agree that nothing can sterilize a dead tooth or prevent the bacterial growth in the dentinal tubules.
- Do you work with other health practitioners who can help me prepare for amalgam removal and help with chelation of the heavy metals afterwards? A biological dentist will have a complete network of practitioners including NDs, DCs, DOs and MDs.
- Is your office metal-free? Be specific, because some dentists use crowns that are a metal alloy base with porcelain baked on top. Some partials and dentures may have a metal frame.
- Does the office use fluoride? Most biological offices understand that fluoride is toxic and make an educated choice not to fluoridate their patients.