An Expecting Mom’s Concern About Dental Work Affecting Her baby’s Health
RENEE JAMISON, A 37 YEAR OLD SENIOR MANAGER AT A FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRM, REALIZED THAT SHE WAS SPENDING MOST OF HER NON-WORKING TIME TRYING TO RECUPERATE FROM THE WORKDAY.
Describing herself as a type-A personality that was driven to succeed in her career, raise a family, and keep physically fit, Renee worked long hours, went to the gym, shopped at the health food store, and tried to spend quality time-with her husband. The fact that she was burned out and-suffering from fatigue, headaches, and allergies, didn't stop her from also trying to get pregnant. Renee had already stopped eating fish because of the mercury warnings, but she read somewhere that silver fillings contained 50% mercury and now one of the cusps of a molar with a giant amalgam had just fractured. “It was too soon to tell if I was pregnant, but I had to do something with this tooth. It was beginning to hurt. Renee’s dentist, whom she has been going to for years, assured her that amalgams were safe; however, she preferred to be cautious and not expose herself an aerosol of mercury from drilling out her large filling. “My dentist told me that the pain may be a worse stress for the pregnancy and my obstetrician suggested that I get the tooth fixed. I just didn’t know what to do.”
THE MOUTH REALLY IS CONNECTED TO THE REST OF THE BODY
Dental health can affect your overall health as well as a developing fetus. The fact that medical doctors have little or no training in dentistry and that dentists aren’t licensed to treat the whole body, has created a void on healthcare. Physicians rarely look at the teeth and gums or have any questions in their health history about dental infections, surgeries or condition of dental work. Despite that there is mounting evidence of the links between periodontal disease and heart disease, diabetes and preterm births, and so many people suffer from digestive problems, obesity, headaches and allergies, medical doctors fail to make the connections to dentistry and seldom consult or refer to a dentist.
HOW ARE BIOLOGICAL DENTISTS DIFFERENT FROM CONVENTIONAL DENTISTS?
Dentists, skilled in restoring and replacing teeth, have differing opinions regarding biocompatibility of dental materials, effects of certain oral infections on the immune system, and treatment protocols for tooth and jaw imbalances causing distress for the entire musculo-skeletal system. The international Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT), The Holistic Dental Association (HAD) and the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM), are a few of the organizations representing less than a half a percent of practicing dentists that have established training programs, scientific studies, strict biological treatment standards and yearly conferences for Biological dentists. Their common premise is the firm belief that dental products and procedures affect the entire body. Biological dentists are taught to work closely with other members of the healthcare profession including environmental physicians, acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopaths, nutritionists, body workers and other holistic practitioners.
Biological dentists are not just "mercury-free." They believe that proper nourishment, detoxification, and restoration of balance and function is of paramount importance in overall health and that dentistry plays a vital role. They ascribe to the Hippocratic Oath, First, do no harm, and take hundreds of hours of continuing education, read studies published throughout the world, and make an enormous investment in special equipment and supplies that are necessary for health-conscious dental interventions. Biological dentists take professional risks by challenging long-established standards of care in dentistry. Many have suffered legal and State Board consequences with the unfortunate result that biological dentists are far and few between. This presents a dilemma for individuals who seek health-conscious dentistry.
BEING YOUR OWN DENTAL ADVOCATE
From her own research, Renee read that mixed metals in the mouth can cause an electrical current known as galvanism. "I was concerned that if I needed a crown, that it may contain some type of metal. I read that you should not keep an amalgam under a metal crown because of the galvanism and besides I still have other amalgams in my mouth and wear a retainer with metal wires. The controversy in dentistry over mercury exposure from dental fillings was causing her anxiety and confusion. She trusted her dentist, but still did not want to take any chances no matter how small with this pregnancy. It took her years to conceive and because of her age, she was considered to be a high risk. From what she read about the fish warnings and the toxicity from mercury to the nervous system of a developing fetus, Renee just didn't feel right about this dental procedure that she needed. The problem was that her dentist didn't agree with her philosophy or have any training in the proper removal protocols.
Renee had to take matters into her own hands and become her own dental advocate. She owed it to herself and her baby. Armed with downloaded information from biological dental l organization and consumer group websites, Renee set up a consultation appointment with her dentist to be able to explore treatment options and protocols that satisfied her requirements for health and safety. While she realized that her dentist may not have all the protective equipment, Renee learned of safeguards and detoxification actions she could apply on her own. There was no question in her mind that this discussion with her dentist was a positive health choice and helped to reduce her stress; one less thing to give her a headache.