There is only one absolute in life…change. I was at a conference recently of very talented and smart doctors dedicated to the research of naturaceuticals, immune boosting protocols, and reduction of oxidative stress factors as related to the dental profession, specifically biological dentistry. One of the presenters was the son of a very respected professor I had in dental school. My professor even had an Institute” named after him. To us, this professor was a god! He spoke eloquently and commandeering of how and why certain things in dentistry are done the way they are and even had papers written on the subject backed up by quotes and studies with the appropriate footnotes. He mingled with the authors of our textbooks!
In dental school we studied hard, memorized quotes, practiced long hours until our bodies and souls were saturated with all that was “true” and “proven” in the textbooks. We knew the material inside and out. We just needed more practice so that our skills were perfectly honed. Each and every one of us graduated “knowing” we were the best in the field. We were ready to eat the world! Until…life. It takes a lot of humility to say we were wrong.
Dentistry Is Changing
Science is dynamic and constantly changing mostly when it shows that theories do not conform to observation. The absolutes that I learned in dental school have changed and are changing everyday. I was taught to combine mercury with other metals and place in the mouth as a restoration, and that this was completely safe. A toxic compound became “safe” when placed in a tooth. I was taught to recommend traditional orthodontics to crooked teeth, never mind if there was a deficiency in growth patterns, underdeveloped jaws, tongue and lip ties (a deal breaker for being able to nurse) or, most important, upper airway deficiencies. We believed that clenching, grinding, or bruxism was purely stress related. Today we know better.
Our bite is directly related to our posture, our breathing, chewing, and our gut health and microbiome to name a few. There is ALWAYS a root cause. We just need to dig deep to find it. There is no “one-shot” appliance that will fix myofunctional disorders. Just like there is no ONE pill that will cure you. Research shows that the diaphragm and the back of the tongue work together. The tongue has 16 muscles and some consider it an organ. Today we know that chewing is a lost art. Why are so many Americans taking digestive enzymes when the parotid gland is the largest maker of enzymes? They have even discovered an extra set of salivary glands in the throat that no one ever knew existed.
Biological Dentistry Deals with Systemic Issues
When we change our mindset and think outside the box, we realize that what we thought was absolute law in science is just an interpretation of a moment in time. These interpretations are indirectly affected by politics, social circumstances, religious practices and beliefs. One of the most recent changes relates to constant mask wearing. I am seeing more patients with “burning mouth syndrome,” low pH levels due to carbon dioxide recirculation, dry mouth, and increased cavities. Before, I would prescribe medications to deal with the symptoms; a sort of band-aide, so to speak. Today we realize that traditional dentistry dealt with mechanical issues but biological dentistry deals with systemic and non-toxic issues. If more health care providers would communicate with each other and collaborate in their patients’ health, root cause would be easier to reveal.
We now know that most people do not know how to breathe. We need breathing re-education! The number of patients on CPAP devices increases every year, but not many talk about the root cause. Be it BMI, anatomic variances, orthodontic compensation…the list goes on. I still believe mechanics and function are the pillars of dentistry, but everything is connected and there is no “one cookbook” that works on every patient. Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone and step into learning and change.
That presenter, son of my professor from dental school? Well, his lecture highlighted the new standard of care. Almost every point in his lecture was far from what his father taught and believed. He too used to profess the “old ways” but change is acceptable, embraceable, and liberating. If, just for a moment, we allow ourselves to consider the possibility of a different point of view, learned dogmas and preconceived beliefs start shifting and allowing change. Healing begins. Frequencies start aligning. Change happens.
There is a dental shift on the horizon. Who would have thought that I would have holistic healing protocols in my office? That I would offer a certain vitamin that “mops up” ionizing radiation when you have an X-ray or CT scan, or include detox modalities through infrared light sauna after mercury removal? Or that I would reference Meridian Charts in my comprehensive exam? Who would have thought that I would embrace so much change? Change is good!
Dr. Josephine Perez, DMD has been practicing dentistry for 29 years. She is a graduate of Tufts University School of Dentistry in Boston and interned at New Orleans Coast Guard/Navy Base. Her holistic approach to dentistry encompasses each person’s unique and entire (or whole, therefore holistic) state of physical and emotional well-being. Dr. Perez focuses on the underlying condition, rather than only treating the symptoms. She tests for biocompatibility to find pathways to reduce inflammation and apply biocompatible and biomimetic materials, supplements, essential oils to restore and strengthen the oral cavity and ultimately, the whole body. After decades of restoring and transforming smiles, Dr. Perez has integrated total wellness into her oral health enhancement practice—a revolutionary style of dentistry.