Advances in dentistry
by Dr. Nicholas Meyer —
This expression comes to mind: It is not your granddaddy’s dentistry anymore. Today, so much more is known as to why we lose teeth, but we really do not have to lose them, except by chance or choice. Lack of dental hygiene and traumatic incidents lead the curve.
The good news is that replacement teeth using dental implants are a readily available service offered in an ever-increasing number of general dental offices. Many offices offer crowns or laboratory-processed dental restorations through digital dentistry.
This technology has allowed small offices to take advantage of procedures that once were the sole purview of a hospital or imaging center. The ability to view three-dimensional scans of the head, neck and associated structures allows a dentist to peer into the body and render difficult diagnoses.
For those who unfortunately find themselves in a situation where they will or already have lost their teeth, they can be given a new lease on life through the marriage of dentures and dental implants. These can be pre-visualized for the surgical installation of implants and dentures. The simple joy of eating an apple or an ear of corn can be theirs again in a short time.
I have written previously about the ability to conduct virtual visits. Through the use of video technologies, such as Skype or FaceTime, consultative appointments can be given from anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, you still have to bring your mouth in for service.
Today, dental visits can be made more comfortable through the use of brain-synchronizing relaxation methods that put you into a deep alpha-wave brain state in just minutes and in a deep meditative state like a Zen monk. Or you can choose to remove yourself from the procedure entirely through the use of pharmaceuticals.
The recognition of specific medical conditions can also help your visits to the dentist, for example, the relatively new identification of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) genetic defect. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas), if given to someone with this gene defect, can elicit a negative, toxic response because the gas cannot be metabolized.
Another aspect of health and well-being enhancement through dentistry comes with the identification of whether or not you are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. A simple cheek swab test looks at the proteins in the apolipoprotein E (APOE) family. When tested, it can determine if you have the ability to detoxify mercury from the body. The harmful forms of the APOE gene can signify up to a 12-times greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Newer technologies are being developed to look more critically at saliva and its components to ascertain how the body is functioning. A laboratory in our own backyard at Arizona State University is doing research in this arena. So stay tuned for new and exciting advances in the dynamic field of dentistry.
Nicholas Meyer, D.D.S., D.N.M., of Scottsdale, Ariz., has a special interest in developmental disturbances of the facial complex that contribute to such maladies as TMJ, snoring and sleep apnea. milldental.com, DrMeyer@milldental.com or 480-948-0560.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 6, December 2014/January 2015.