Medically oriented dentistry
by Dr. Nicholas Meyer —
In general, modern dentistry makes for a pleasant experience. Modern dentistry also uses materials that can be very challenging to the human immune system.
In fact, some materials commonly used in dentistry are so harmful to individuals with reduced immune systems that dentistry can actually cause death.
Recently, however, an explosion of materials has begun to produce good-looking, long-lasting restorative materials, making dentists’ and their patients’ lives easier and more satisfying.
Dr. Hal Huggins has practiced a form of dentistry for more than 30 years that takes into account the patient’s immune system and compatibility of materials. He makes careful observations based on blood and hair analyses for individuals needing specialized care.
By analyzing our body tissues, we have a window into the workings of our immune systems and the operation of our metabolism. Also, we receive indicators regarding our nutritional status. The examination of various ratios can indicate the condition of our systems’ health. This information can offer clues, enabling doctors to become, in effect, healthcare detectives.
For example, as reported in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry in the early 1980s, Dr. Eggleston, a San Diego dentist, measured a subject’s white blood cell count (indicative of the health of one’s immune system) prior to installing a nickel-based porcelain crown. The crown was placed and the white cell count was re-measured. Remarkably, the white cell count was reduced by approximately 40 percent. When the crown was removed, the white cell count returned to normal.
The same article reported that similar experiments were done with silver mercury fillings. The mercury sequence followed the same procedure as the porcelain crown installation. The white cell count was assessed, the fillings went in, the cell count decreased. The fillings were replaced with a “temporary material,” and the white count returned to normal. The mercury fillings were reinserted and the white count was lowered again. They were removed and replaced with a known compatible material, and the white count again returned to normal.
“Caveat emptor: Let the buyer beware.” Not all dentists are equal, so question your doctor about the safety of the materials he or she uses. State law requires dentists to disclose the basic content of the materials they use, and to alert you to any available alternative materials for the restoration of your teeth.
Nicholas Meyer, D.D.S., is in practice in Scottsdale, Ariz. He has special interest in the ways the oral cavity contributes to such maladies as TMJ, snoring and sleep apnea. He also studies material compatibility and ways commonly used dentistry materials affect the body. 480-948-0560 or www.milldental.com.
Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.