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Secrets Your Dentist Doesn't Want You To Know

dentistHere are the secrets your dentist may not want you to know -- but you need to know to get the best care possible:

Secret #1: Your dentist may not be as educated as you think.

Dentistry has changed a lot since your dentist graduated from dental school. There have been major advances in most materials used in fillings, bonding and root canals. If your dentist is not actively engaged in continuing education, it is unlikely that he or she is keeping up with these developments.

Secret #2: Your dentist may not have the latest technology.

Digital x-ray: Dentists who do not have digital x-ray equipment are practicing in the dark ages. Digital x-rays use less radiation than film. They are easier to read and the ability to manipulate contrast makes diagnosis more accurate.

Ultrasonic Cleaning: Ultrasonic instruments vibrate plaque and calculus off your teeth, even in areas below your gums. It is much more comfortable than old-fashioned hand scraping.

CEREC: The CEREC system lets your dentist provide a ceramic crown or veneer in only one visit. CEREC means fewer injections, less drilling and no annoying temporaries.

Diagnodent: This is a laser that the dentist shines on the tooth and it tells whether there is a cavity and how deep it is. With the use of this technology, the dentist can detect cavities, and find them at an earlier stage, than traditional poking around the tooth.

Secret #3: Your dentist may be using mercury.

Mercury is toxic. Norway and Sweden have banned the use of mercury fillings.. But mercury fillings are less expensive and easier for the dentist to use. If your dentist does not use composite fillings, don't go to that dentist any more. In the US, the FDA is way behind the ball and not actively warning patients about this like they have been mandated by the courts to do.

Secret #4: The lab may be more important than your dentist.

Dental labs create dentures, crowns, bridges, orthodontic appliances, and other dental restorations like implant crowns. There is a huge difference in the quality of these labs. You should be particularly wary if your dentist is using a lab in China or Mexico. Some of the top labs in the U.S. are Aurum Ceramics, MicroDental Laboratories, da Vinci Dental Studio, and Williams Dental Lab.

Secret #5: There's more to good dentistry than filling cavities.

A competent dentist screens for more than tooth decay. He or she should be concerned about sleep apnea, jaw-related pain known as TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder, periodontal disease, oral cancer, diabetes and hypertension.

Secret #6: You are probably using the wrong specialist for dental implants.

Since dental implants involve the removal of a tooth and replacing it with an artificial tooth, many patients assume that an oral surgeon is best qualified to do it. This can be a flawed assumption. Periodontists, who specialize in gum disease, may be a better option. Periodontists have special training in gum tissue and underlying bone in the mouth, which are significant issues in dental implants.

Secret #7: Bad dental advice about dentures can be fatal!

Dentures are no joke. Your dentist should examine your dentures for evidence of wear. Wearing down the teeth on your dentures can result in distorted facial characteristics, collapse of the bite and closure of the airway.

Secret #8: Your dentist may not know enough about sleep apnea.

The most common form of sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway during sleep. It is a pretty scary condition. The patient can stop breathing hundreds of times during the night. A common treatment for sleep apnea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which involves blowing pressurized room air through the airway at high enough pressure to keep the airway open.

As an alternative, your dentist, working with your physician, can custom make a device that guides the lower jaw forward, called a mandibular advancement device or MAD. MAD devices are more comfortable to wear and the compliance rates are much higher than using CPAP.

Secret #9: Not all cosmetic dentists have the skills to really improve your smile.

Any dentist can call herself a "cosmetic dentist." Your dentist should be able to show you ten or more before and after photographs or videos, and be willing to give you the names of patients who have consented to be used as references.

Secret #10: How to avoid the root canal your dentist says you need.

Ask about the "ferrule effect." Technically, this means that a root canal is unlikely to be successful if there is not enough tooth structure above the gum line to protect the tooth from coming loose or fracturing after it has been prepared for a crown. If your tooth fails the "ferrule effect" test, you might be better off with an extraction and an implant.

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Dr. Mercola's Comments:

You’ve heard the expression “your eyes are the windows to your soul”? Well, some say your teeth are the windows to your health; personally, I am constantly amazed at how powerful a predictor of health your teeth can be. When I have seen chronically ill patients with nearly cavity-free teeth, I am encouraged that they will likely get well quickly. If, on the other hand, their mouths are full of fillings and root canals, the prognosis is not always as good.

In the 1900s, Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist, did extensive research on the link between oral health and physical diseases. He was one of the major nutritional pioneers of all time, and his classic book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is full of wonderful pictures documenting the perfect teeth of the native tribes he visited who were still eating their traditional diets. A mouth full of cavities, Price learned, went hand in hand with a body either full of disease or generalized weakness and susceptibility to disease. In Price's time, tuberculosis was the major infectious illness, and he noticed that children were increasingly affected, especially the ones with the lousy teeth.

Your Diet May be Even More Important Than Your Toothbrush

In the quest for healthy teeth and gums, nothing may be more important than your diet. Dr. Price found, on average, less than 1 percent of tooth decay in all the native people he visited! He also found that these people's teeth were perfectly straight and white, with high dental arches and well-formed facial features. And there was something more astonishing: none of the people Price examined practiced any sort of dental hygiene -- not one of his subjects had ever used a toothbrush! Dr. Price noticed some similarities between the native diets that allowed the people to thrive and maintain such healthy smiles. Among them:

  • The foods were natural, unprocessed, and organic (and contained no sugar except for the occasional bit of honey or maple syrup).

  • The people ate foods that grew in their native environment. In other words, they ate locally grown, seasonal foods.

  • Many of the cultures ate unpasteurized dairy products, and all of them ate fermented foods.

  • The people ate a significant portion of their food raw.

  • All of the cultures ate animal products, including animal fat and, often, full-fat butter and organ meats.

If you, too, eat properly and maintain optimal health, you’re highly unlikely to develop cavities or other dental problems. They really only occur when you're eating the wrong foods. So pay attention to your diet, as this is a key to keeping you safely out of the dentist’s chair -- at least for visits that involve more than routine cleaning. That said, nearly everyone needs to see a dentist at one point or another, so when you do make sure to keep the following important tips in mind.

Seek Out a Biological Dentist

My own struggles with my teeth led me to learn about and embrace biological dentistry, also known as holistic or environmental dentistry. In a nutshell, biological dentistry views your teeth and gums as an integrated part of your entire body, and any medical treatments performed takes this fact into account. The primary aim of this type of holistic dentistry is to resolve your dental problems while impacting the rest of your body as little as possible. Biological dentists should also be well aware of the dangers involved with certain dentistry materials embraced by conventional dentists, namely silver fillings.

Silver fillings are 50 percent mercury and are an extremely dangerous neurotoxin that will, not may, damage your brain, and frequently will cause permanent neurological damage. Folks, it is a POISON. We are currently seeking to get the FDA up to speed (and have made great strides, I might add!) to have mercury fillings banned completely in the U.S., as it has been in some other European countries, and hope to be able to get this toxic material off the market in the near future. Until then, it’s up to you to refuse them, or find a dentist who has switched to safer alternatives.

Refuse to Have Metals Used in Your Dental Work

Holistic dentists use biocompatible materials that will not adversely impact your immune system. Beyond mercury, stainless steel and other metals continue to be used in the mouth by conventional dentistry even though they have been well established to have a cancer-causing effect when used elsewhere in your body. Further, metals commonly utilized in dental work such as crowns, mercury fillings and implants can be quite toxic. When placed in your mouth they are sitting in a medium of saliva, which turns your mouth into a charged battery. We call this charge "Galvanic Toxicity." Your brain is a collection of millions of nerve fibers that is essentially a battery emitting electrical charges throughout your body.

The Galvanic Toxicity in your mouth can bombard and over-stimulate your brain. Common signs and symptoms of Galvanic Toxicity are a metallic taste in your mouth, an electric charge with utensils and insomnia. Finding suitable materials to replace the metals currently used can be a challenge, but a knowledgeable biological dentist should be able to inform you of the latest, safe alternatives.

Think Twice Before Getting a Root Canal

Teeth are similar to other organ systems in your body in that they also require a blood supply, lymphatic and venous drainage, and nervous innervations. Root canals, however, are dead teeth, and these dead teeth typically become one of, if not the worst, sources of chronic bacterial toxicity in your body. If your kidney, liver or any other organ in your body dies, it will have to be removed so that bacteria and necrosis will not set in and kill you … but teeth are commonly left dead in your body.

Teeth have roots with main canals and thousands of side canals, and contained in those side canals are miles of nerves. When dentists perform a root canal, they remove the nerve from the main canals, however they do not have access to the microscopic side canals, which have dead nerves left behind in those spaces.

Anaerobic bacteria, which do not require oxygen to survive, thrive in these side canals and excrete toxicity from digesting necrotic tissue that leads to chronic infection. Blood supply and lymphatics that surround those dead teeth drains this toxicity and allows it to spread throughout your body. This toxicity will invade all organ systems and can lead to a plethora of diseases such as autoimmune diseases, cancers, musculoskeletal diseases, irritable bowel diseases, and depression to name just a few. Even antibiotics won’t help in these cases, because the bacteria are protected inside of your dead tooth. It appears that the longer root canal-treated teeth stay in your body, the more your immune system becomes compromised.

Fluoride Won’t Keep Your Teeth Healthy Either

Fluoride is added to most U.S. water supplies and also is used as a treatment by some conventional dentists. Once inside your body, fluoride destroys your enzymes by changing their shape. You may remember that your body depends on thousands of enzymes to perform various cell reactions, and without these enzymes, we would all die. They are able to perform their reactions because they have a specific shape that allows them to work with other elements in your body, like a lock and key.

Once fluoride destroys their shape, however, your body does not recognize the enzymes, and in fact will view them as foreign invaders and attempt to attack them. When your enzymes are damaged, it can lead to collagen breakdown, eczema, tissue damage, skin wrinkling, genetic damage, and immune suppression. All of these risks, and fluoride does not help to prevent cavities as you may have been led to believe. Figures from the World Health Organization show the same declines in tooth decay that have been experienced in fluoridated countries since the 1960s have occurred equally in non-fluoridated countries.

In another study from 2004, pro-fluoridation dental researchers from the University of Aderlaide in South Australia were unable to demonstrate any difference in the permanent teeth between children who had lived all their lives drinking fluoridated water and those who had drunk rain or bottled water. What does fluoride do to your teeth, then? Well, it’s known that it interferes with the development of tooth enamel, a condition called “dental fluorosis.” Those in favor of fluoride like to say that fluorosis is a purely “cosmetic condition,” but rarely do symptoms appear for no reason.

In this case, the white spots that form on your teeth after consuming too much fluoride are likely a warning sign that other tissues are being impacted. Studies have shown, for instance, that children with severe dental fluorosis are more likely to have bone fractures. The Environmental Working Group even reported a finding from a Harvard PhD thesis that showed boys exposed to fluoridated water when they were between the ages of 6 and 8 had a seven-fold increased risk of developing osteosarcoma, a form of frequently fatal bone cancer. If you’re wondering how to keep your teeth healthy, remember that fluoride was never the answer in the first place. Instead, think back to the work of Dr. Price … and look to your diet for naturally healthy teeth. Most people whose diet includes very little sugar and few processed foods have very low rates of tooth decay and cavities.

Resources to Find a Biological Dentist

Knowledgeable biological dentists can be hard to come by, so start your search by asking a friend, relative or neighbor who knows of one. If that fails you can contact several good natural health food stores in your area and ask a number of the employees or even the owner. The following links can also help you to find a mercury-free, biological dentist:

+ Sources and References