What is Integrative Dentistry?

INTEGRATIVE DENTISTRY

Dr. Gerald H. Smith


A new era in dentistry is rapidly emerging as a result of the process of intelligent evolution. The transition between the purely mechanical phase (drill and fill) to the highly evolved biologic phase of dentistry has occurred slowly (over the past 150 plus years). As dentistry moves into the 21st century, it is providing a coupling of high tech materials, integration of techniques, and diagnostics with scientifically based research. Biologic dentists are focusing on biocompatible materials and their influence on the immune system, nutritional support for maintaining oral health, focal oral infections from root canaled and bone sites from previously extracted teeth, energy disturbances to the whole body, and the direct influence of the three dimensional relationship of the way the teeth mesh together to the stability of the spine and low back.

The inception of an organized biologic concept to the practice of dentistry had its origin in the late 1800′s when the National Dental Association recognized the harmful effects of mercury fillings and mandated non-use by its members. This warning has finally been recognized and acted upon by several foreign countries that have either banned the use of mercury fillings or are in the process: Sweden, Germany, and Austria. The next major contribution occurred in the 1930′s when a dentist, Weston Price, teamed up with an anthropologist, Francis Pottenger to document the link between tooth decay and bad bites to the processing of food (as presented in their well documented book: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration). This as well as other research provided the basis for biologic dentistry to utilize nutritional concepts in the treatment of oral disease. The 1940′s witnessed the unheeded dental and medical communities’ scientific warnings of the dangers of fluoride. After dismal results and many painful lessons 98% of Western Europe have banned the use of fluoride in their drinking water. Many other major countries have followed in their footsteps: Japan, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, India and China. The third major discovery involved focal infections from root canaled teeth and cavitational problems (residual infections in the bone following tooth extraction) placing a burden on the body’s immune system with direct targeting of organs. Additional discoveries that span the era of the 1930′s to present, by numerous researchers have helped link the distress from imbalances in the craniosacral system and teeth. This latter connection will prove to be one of the most important discoveries in the history of dental medicine. This evolutionary transition has awakened a new consciousness and infused a high level of excitement among biologic dental practitioners worldwide. Biologic dentistry offers the dentist a golden opportunity to practice at the highest professional level and the patient the chance to resolve their health issues.