Biosis #48: Biological Dentistry & the Road Ahead

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The August 2015 issue of Biosis, our quarterly newsletter, is now online.

For this issue, we’re stepping away from our usual format to share, in full, the latest installment in Dr. V’s ongoing series on the need for truly comprehensive biological dental care to support healing and optimal whole body health: Dentistry Shouldn’t Be “Just Another Profession,” Part 3: On the Road Ahead:

We ended last time with a look ahead to some case histories that illustrate both the ravages of modern medicine and what is actually needed to stimulate healing. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that we should first take some time to get clear on the matter of what biological dentistry actually is.

So often, patients come in for a second opinion, having been told that they need many thousands of dollars of dental work, including implants and root canals and unnecessary crowns. Sometimes it’s a conventional dentist who’s told them this; sometimes one who describes his or her practice as “biological.” In neither case has the relationship between their dental and medical ills been completely or successfully explored.

The very term “biological dentistry” didn’t even exist until 1985, when Dr. Ed Arana and I started the American Academy of Biological Dentistry (now called the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine). We felt it was the best term to describe the fusion of biological medicine and clinical dentistry we were learning from German researchers and practitioners like Reinhold Voll, Ralf Turk, Fritz Kramer and others. As we put it back then in our founding statement,

21st Century Medicine will be concerned with the depollution of the internal and external environments. It is time to correct our mistakes and become biologists of the mouth in addition to our technical expertise. Physicians and dentists must work together for the good of the whole person. The fragmentation caused by specialization must be rethought. An integrated and unified approach of mind, body and spirit in diagnosis and treatment must be instituted for all. [emphasis added]

The shift away from this ideal is one that we’ve seen before. So let’s take one more look back at the evolution to dollar-driven health care, only this time focusing on the dental aspect…

Read Biosis #48 now.

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Dr. V’s Evolution to Mercury-Free, Mercury-Safe Dentistry

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This week marks the fifth annual Mercury-Free Dentistry Week, a campaign coordinated by Dr. Mercola and Consumers for Dental Choice to raise awareness of dental amalgam’s toxic burden, the alternative of biological dentistry, and the promise of a mercury-free future.

Our office began the transition to mercury-free in the mid-1970s, as Dr. Verigin began investigating his own increasing symptoms following amalgam removal that had been performed rather carelessly on him a few years prior. While in Colorado Springs for a meeting on TMJ issues, he also met with mercury-free pioneer Hal Huggins. He began regularly attending meetings around the country where he was introduced to a lot of eye-opening new health research and literature.

“One of the books that really got me excited,” he says, “was on chelation therapy. I had no idea what it was, but after reading it, I knew what the problem was.”

Treating himself, Dr. V eventually became symptom-free. Ever better composites became available for our patients. Increasing numbers of them said “no” to mercury amalgam. By the early 1980s, our office was 100% mercury-free.

Still, Dr. V continued his studies, learning all he could about the remarkable medical and dental science being done in Germany by the likes of Reinhold Voll, Ralf Turk, Fritz Kramer and so many others. In 1985, he and colleague Dr. Ed Arana formed what they then called the American Academy of Biological Dentistry (now known as the International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine) to bring these scientists and clinicians to the States to teach them and other American dentists all they could about the relationships between the teeth and the rest of the body, the intricate and dynamic relationships between oral and whole body health.

Going mercury-free – and mercury-safe – was just an early (and critical) step on what continues to be an incredible journey.

In light of this week’s mercury-free celebration, we share with you one of Dr. V’s early columns from our quarterly newsletter Biosis – now nearing the end of our 11th year of publication – in which he talks a bit more about his own relationship with mercury and how it changed over the years:

Mercury in the Mouth: Are the Health Threats for Real?

September 2005

When I was a boy, every time I had a cavity, I would get what the dentist called a “silver filling.” And each time, my mother would give the dentist the most corroded dime she could find in her purse. He’d dip it into a puddle of the mercury to give her a sparkling coin that looked brand new.

Whenever I caught a cold or virus, my mother was sure to check my temperature with a mercury-filled thermometer. When I scraped or cut my skin, I would cry, scream and holler – not from the injury itself but the sting that followed her saturating the wound with methylate. When I got my vaccinations, the live viruses always had been preserved with thimerosol.

Back then, all this mercury didn’t really concern anyone. But the times are changing. Or are they?

In dental school, I was trained to restore teeth with mercury. Though they were called “silver” fillings, mercury was – and is – the main ingredient: 53% of the material, balanced by a mix of silver, copper, tin and zinc. Still, we were taught to call them “silver” or “amalgam.”

What we weren’t taught was that they could be a possible hazard to human health. In fact, our teachers insisted that mercury amalgams had improved our health and quality of life! Meanwhile, they spent a great deal of time telling us how to store and dispose of the waste so as not to contaminate the environment.

Some 20 years later, by the time I finished attending a seminar at the University of Hawaii, I was convinced of the danger of these fillings. Our office quit using mercury completely.

Mercury is a persistent, bio-accumulative toxin. It can exist in one or more forms: elemental, inorganic and organic. It does not degrade in the outside environment or the body. But it can change from one form to another and circulate throughout the environment.

After a dentist places elemental mercury into a patient’s teeth, chewing, grinding and like actions cause mercury to outgas from the restorations. Microbes in the patient’s body convert the mercury to an organic and far more toxic form. This methylmercury then concentrates in the patient’s tissues, just as in the environment it concentrates in the tissues of fish, shrimp, oysters and other sea creatures. There, it gradually moves up the food chain to the seafood-consuming public.

After years of denial, corporate medicine now admits that the outgassing of mercury from fillings does occur. Yet still they insist that it is not a problem. Even some “alternative” practitioners seem to buy this line, including Andrew Weil, MD, the Harvard-trained author of several books on diet, nutrition and holistic healing, and a frequent Oprah guest.

Weil’s view was recently brought to my attention by a client who had experienced fantastic physical, emotional and spiritual benefits through amalgam-removal and a precise detox program that included sauna, massage and oral and IV chelation. Arriving for her semi-annual dental health maintenance visit, she asked if we wanted a “great laugh.” Then she handed us an article from the June 2005 issue of Dr. Weil’s newsletter Self Healing, with this passage highlighted:

Last year, an expert panel did conclude that some mercury vapor is released from dental fillings and absorbed by the body. But most of the people studied had mercury levels at or lower than what’s considered harmful. In fact, according to one expert, you’d have to have about 500 mercury fillings in your mouth to produce toxic levels. With 32 teeth, that’s impossible. Plus, the panel found no link between mercury fillings and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (By the way, the mercury used in fillings is a different variety – and probably less harmful than what’s found in contaminated fish.)

My bottom line: I used to have a mouthful of mercury fillings, but as they have broken down over the years, I’ve had them replaced with either gold or composite resin fillings. I wouldn’t get any new mercury fillings, although I have to point out that we don’t know the safety of these other types of fillings, either. However, I don’t think it’s worth the trauma and expense to have mercury fillings taken out until they break down. Removing them may cause even greater exposure to mercury than leaving them in.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

There are a number of excellent websites with scientific articles and information that show why mercury is a poor choice to put in any tooth. Among them:

Also be sure to see the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology’s video Smoking Teeth, an excerpt of which is available on the IAOMT website, as well as YouTube. You’ll see exactly what outgassing looks like and learn of its terrible effects on the body.

Although most conventional dentists show few signs of moving from the status quo to scientific reality, the public is. A recent Zogby survey of Connecticut consumers, for instance, showed that more than 80% support a ban on the continued use of mercury fillings. Now if only the “professionals” would listen to them and stop deliberately going against both their wishes and interests by putting more mercury into their mouths.

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From the Archives: Not Just the Mercury Fillings or Just the Root Canals or Implants or Cavitations

Originally posted in slightly different form January 14, 2013

“The brain taking shortcuts is one of the cornerstones of human intelligence,” says cognitive neuroscientist Itiel Dror.

Shortcuts enable the brain to deal with the mismatch between the capacity, the computational power, of the brain, and the need to process some of the information.

* * *

The fact that we have a smaller brain, that we can’t process all the information, has, from an evolutionary perspective, forced the brain to be more sophisticated, to decide what’s important and what’s not important, to have a plan. “What am I going to do? What am I going to need for the future?” This is the core of intelligence: thinking what information is important, not important and so on.

But sometimes, mental shortcuts can lead us astray. You can find one example in some followers of “natural” or “holistic” medicine. The error comes in accepting the same understanding of illness and health as the conventional Western medicine they distrust or reject. Instead of drugs, they’ll take herbs or homeopathics; instead of surgery, acupuncture or other less invasive therapy.

It’s unconventional treatment pursued in a very conventional way – a way that depends on linear, mechanistic thinking.

And that thinking, as we’ve noted, is a real limitation of the conventional model.

This mechanistic thinking also drives the belief (and hope) that if only a chronically ill person could get rid of their mercury fillings or root canals or cavitations or implants, their health may be restored. But what we repeatedly see in clients with severely compromised health from decades of progressive illness is that dental factors are just one of many physical and energetic burdens on the body. As we wrote before, dental factors are often just “triggers to deeper, more ingrained health issues.” Some people may tolerate amalgam fillings or root canal teeth for years – just as long as the body is able to effectively excrete the toxins. But should it fail and toxins accumulate, from dental sources or elsewhere…then you have problems.

When we analyze a client’s biological terrain, current dental conditions and complete health history, we typically see burdens building from a very young age and accumulating over time. “Simple” and “easy” health complaints are treated with drugs, which add to the burden and often generate more symptoms “requiring” more treatment. The illness progresses into deeper and deeper phases. Eventually, the person may turn to non-allopathic therapies, but if they’re used in the same mechanistic way, positive results tend to be short term.

For healing, the body’s self-regulating mechanisms first must be stimulated. You have to spur its innate clearing and healing ability so it can finally begin excreting the accumulated toxins. Once you do, other interventions – cavitational surgery, say, or mercury removal – should prove more successful.

Going this route requires a change in thinking – a willingness to go beyond simplistic explanations and superficial gestures toward cure. It requires expansive thinking and acceptance of the dynamism that life, by definition, is.

4501127631_9b6702c8b2_zConsider the study on the link between autism and industrial diets that some reduced to the sound byte “high fructose corn syrup causes autism.” But that’s not exactly what the paper said. What it did suggest is that the metaoblic effect of HFCS prevents or limits the assimilation of minerals and other factors that allow the body to excrete heavy metals such as mercury. This, in turn, may facilitate the absorption of pesticides, which have also been found to contribute to autism and an array of neurological disorders.

The “Redox/Methylation Hypothesis of Autism”…proposed that oxidative insults arising from environmental exposures, such as Hg and pesticides, can cause neurodevelopmental disorders by disrupting epigenetic regulation. The macroepigenetic Mercury Toxicity Model expanded in this paper provides additional support for the “Redox/Methylation Hypothesis of Autism” while contributing important insight into the oxidative stress feedback mechanisms that may occur as a result of malnutrition resulting from dietary exposures to toxins. The delivery of children exhibiting autistic behaviors might be associated with the prenatal diet of their mothers. The severity of these behaviors can be further exacerbated by toxic dietary exposures of the children, which can improve with dietary changes aimed at eliminating these exposures. Children with autism could well be exhibiting an epigenetic response to several neurotoxic substances at once, including, but not limited to, inorganic Hg, Pb, OP pesticides and/or HFCS. The combined effect of these substances acting together is likely greater than the sum of the effects of the substances acting by themselves. This effect likely reduces neuronal plasticity and impairs learning capacity in autistic children. [emphasis added]

Not just one factor but many factors involved in dynamic relationships, compounding and complicating problems that each could cause on their own. Underscoring this: Within the same week as the above study made news, there was word of other new studies clarifying other factors at work in the development of autism, including immune system disturbances, obesity during pregnancy and genetic factors. Maybe further research will show that dietary factors drive these components; maybe something else.

Even then, as yet one more study reminds us, a single dietary factor can cause different results depending on the make-up of the diet as a whole.

You’ve got to look at the big picture. Always.

Images by Meredith_Farmer and v i p e z, via Flickr

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The Importance of Considering the Teeth & Jaws in a Case of Full Body Illness

It’s a dental version of Groundhog Day.

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On March 14, 2005, a British man serving overseas in the military went to a dentist for root canal therapy. Ever since, he’s wakened believing it’s still March 14, 2005, and that he has a dental appointment later that day.

Really.

According to the recently published case report, though his long-term memory seems fine, he can only hold new memories for about 90 minutes. After that, new info vanishes.

In general each morning he is surprised to wake up in his mother’s house. He wakes up believing that he should still be in the military, stationed abroad. Every day he thinks it is the day of his dental appointment.

Through prompting by his wife, WO checks his computer each morning on which they have listed (and keep updated) key facts he should be aware of. Some events that have occurred since the onset of his condition in March 2005 continue to elicit genuine surprise or astonishment each time he sees or hears about them, such as the marriage of some family friend or that a family pet has since passed away. WO manages his daily life and generally remains oriented throughout the day via the use of continuous access to an electronic diary and prompts. Technically apt, he learned to use satellite navigation and a new digital camera proficiently, and he originally problem solve other tasks each time, such as how to turn on the power to his family’s new television. He drives himself to appointments through the use of satellite navigation and/or previous familiarity with the region in which he lives. Preserved ability to parent and deal effectively with emergencies has been demonstrated. His wife reported subtle differences in his ability to cope with stress or multiple demands on his attention, and he reportedly becomes more easily frustrated and intolerant and takes less interest in everyday family affairs, though his personality otherwise remains largely intact.

WO has remained completely oriented to his own identity, and that of his family, though he expects everyone to still be the age they were in March 2005. He has written down his children’s current schools and achievements, and wife’s new job. When office-based assessment sessions lasted more than 90 min, WO became completely disoriented to time and place, if kept from referencing his electronic calendar, appointment letter, or a clock. Though we have seen WO on multiple occasions, he demonstrates no recognition of ever having seen us before, and we must start afresh with introductions each time we meet. He is attentive socially, though requires his wife to answer questions regarding events since March 2005 that he has not otherwise written down and/or reviewed within the last hour or two. If asked, he may say, “I know I have a memory problem,” or “I think it is March 2005, but it is not….”

This condition of being able to remember the distant past but not more recent events is called anterograde amnesia and is a bit like what happens in an alcoholic blackout. It may be caused by benzodiazepine use or brain damage, but neither seemed to be the case for WO.

“Initially,” write the clinicians, the patient’s symptoms “were thought to be an atypical reaction to the anesthetic.” Yet there was no apparent cerebral damage. Both EEGs and brain scans came back normal. Their current thought is that there may be a breakdown of mRNA protein synthesis in his brain.

Of course, this is to look at it primarily from the perspective of neuropsychology. But what about the dental angle?

One overlooked possibility is bacteremia – bacteria in the normally sterile blood – which has been shown to occur rather often with root canal treatment (RCT). This should be no surprise, since root canal teeth are fantastic harbors of infection. Biopsy studies have shown that virtually all root canal teeth are riddled with pathogens and other toxins. It’s not just about bacteria from the original infection that ultimately prompted the need for RCT. As Dr. Verigin notes,

In a living tooth, the protein processes of these cells are continually bathed in intracellular fluid – dentinal lymph – from the pulp. When a dentist removes the pulp, however, they’re severed and remain within the dentinal tubules. Because there’s no longer any blood supply to them, they undergo necrosis – that is, they die and decay, just like the flesh of a putrefying corpse. The local biological terrain changes, and the microbes respond by degenerating into viruses, fungi, parasites and other pathological microbiota (i.e, “bad bugs”). Over time, their toxic metabolic waste migrates through the tubules and into the cementum, periodontal ligament and bone. From there, it finds its way into the general circulation, free to infect other organs.

Back in the 1960s, the late Patrick Stortebecker, once a professor of neurology at the famed Karolinska Institute in Sweden, conducted an important series of experiments that showed how pathogens can travel from the teeth to and throughout the brain. This and further research molded his understanding that infection in the jaws may play a significant role in psychological disorders, autoimmune conditions, seizures and other health problems.

Obviously, we can’t know if this is the case with WO. Still, his case serves as a reminder of the need to consider oral conditions when assessing systemic health problems. To neglect the teeth and jaws is to potentially miss important information for proper diagnosis and treatment.

So many patients we see in our office come to us after years of progressive or compounding illness, bouncing from doctor to doctor, each giving a different diagnosis. Finally, someone says, “Hey, let’s look at what’s going on dentally,” or the patient comes across a website, book or video that opens their eyes to the possibility of a dental connection. Often, their treatment must involve much more than dental work alone. Often, other work must be done first, before we can begin to address any specific dental pathologies.

But by including dental care within the total treatment plan, such individuals may finally find some relief after years of suffering.

To learn more, visit Dr. V’s Biodental Library.

Image by Gary Denness, via Flickr

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From the Archives: FAQ on the Biological Dental Perspective

Originally posted in slightly different form November 9, 2011

Since 2004, Dr. Gary Verigin’s free newsletter Biosis has offered its readers comment and teaching by Dr. Verigin, health news, wellness tips and more – all within an integrative, biological dental frame. It’s name comes from the Greek word meaning “to live.” “Biosis” means “a mode of life,” which is both a process and an indivisible state of being. It is wholeness itself.

Below is a sample – part of Dr. Verigin’s article “A Biological Dentist’s Perspective on Living Systems,” which offers a good intro and overview to what a comprehensive biological approach to oral and physical health involves.


In Neural Focal Dentistry, Dr. Ernesto Adler quotes dialogue from a German TV show:

Interviewer: Is it possible to draw conclusions about the rest of the organism from the examination of the teeth?

Dental Professor: NO!

Interviewer: Is it possible that teeth in a pathological condition may cause or sustain illness and disorders in the organism?

Dental Professor: NO!

But as Adler’s text shows, those resounding nos speak loudly of the speaker’s ignorance or resistance (or both) to dental realities. In 339 pages, Adler brilliantly relates his clinical observations on the connections between dental foci, interference fields and nearly every other branch of medicine. He presents hundreds of well-documented cases, showing amazing cures of severe illnesses once interference fields of the head were removed. (What are foci? See the previous series “Understanding Dental Foci and the Disease Process”: Part 1, Part 2.)

I now want to share how we combine Adler’s paradigm with Reckeweg’s, which we explored last time. The more keenly our clients know these concepts, the more effectively we can work together to map out the most logical route of beneficial dental therapy. And perhaps the easiest way to see how this all comes together is through answers to some common questions about our work with biological clients.

What happens when someone contacts you because their health care provider recommended they see a biological dentist?

First, I think that their practitioner is someone who thinks outside the box! Many conventional physicians seem to think teeth are like fingernails — appendages that look nice, help us eat and may be chewed on when nervous. The globally thinking practitioner understands better. The teeth are living organs, and along with the surrounding structures, they can affect a person’s health.

So while most dentists know that diseased periodontal tissues are linked to conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, not all realize that the teeth can cause problems. They don’t accept that mercury amalgam fillings, root canal teeth, cavitations and implants pose any health risks. They don’t think biocompatibility testing is needed or useful. They seem to believe that whatever materials a manufacturer sells must be safe and will cause no problems so long as they’re properly crafted into properly fitted restorations.

How do toxins fit into the picture?

If you follow the daily news, you’re well aware of just how unhealthy our country is. If you’ve seen films like Food, Inc., you know how genetically modified foods and industrial farming practices are global efficiencies that trade profits for health. If you’ve read books like Selling Sickness, you know how corporate medicine is driven by markets, not health or human need. And how unhealthy is it making us? Consider these findings from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices:

According to the information gathered from data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during the first quarter of 2008, there were 20,745 reported serious injuries associated with drug therapy, up 34% from the previous quarter, and up 38% from last year’s average. Even more eye-opening than the number of serious injuries is the number of reported deaths — 4,824 people were reported killed from pharmaceutical drugs in the first quarter of 2008, a 2.6 fold increase from the previous quarter. This figure represents the highest number of patient deaths ever reported in a single quarter as a result of drug therapy. It also accounts for more deaths than those due to homicide during the same period.

Meanwhile, our environment is increasingly contaminated. The subglacial volcano that erupted in Iceland last month [April 2010] coughed up a dust cloud that crept across the industrial powerhouses of Europe, casting a pall over an interwoven world. The microscopic particles were reported to be as hard as a knife blade. Not long after, the BP spill began gushing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from its source deep below the sea. Whole ecosystems are threatened. If and when fishing ever resumes there, you can be sure the catch will be tainted for a long time after.

These kinds of polluting substances are what Reckeweg called homotoxins:

[In] our war with these homotoxins and that which is damaged by poisons, toxins, chemotherapeutics and others, the organism tries to repair itself. These reactions of self repair we call illness. These reactions are expressions of proper healing. In Phases 1-3, the humoral phase the detoxication and excretion of homotoxins occurs. In Phases 4-6, the cellular phase is where the organism has lingering diseases; the organism is damaged more or less by homotoxins and attempts to regulate these damages.

So one of the first things we do when a person asks us to look for dental obstacles is to get their complete health history. For one, it can help us identify potential sources of homotoxins, whether their origin is explicitly dental or external. But it can also cue us to the possibility of dental foci. Lingering, chronic diseases, degenerative diseases, recurrent illnesses, allergic reactions and unclear ailments such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia often suggest that foci may be a factor.

How do you determine whether dental conditions are a factor?

Obviously, a detailed oral exam is required. We chart the existing teeth, fillings and restorations, as well as the condition of the gums. I also look for any soft tissue conditions that could indicate trauma or potential cancer lesions.

Next, we evaluate the client’s occlusion, dental orthopedic alignment, vertical dimension and TM joint function, and palpate the muscles of the dental cranial complex, including the neck and shoulders. If multiple metals or a lot of metal restorations are present, oral battery testing is in order. This test measures the electrical current they emit, which at significant levels can contribute to a host of medical problems. We may also conduct pulp vitality testing, which measures the response of each tooth’s nerves to electrical stimulation. It’s important to note, though, that this doesn’t determine pulpal health. A tooth can be “vital” yet still have a chronically inflamed pulp that may be a focus.

A full mouth set of x-rays is also taken, but they give us just a two-dimensional understanding of the teeth. They may show potential foci, but foci can’t be diagnosed from them.

How can you diagnose foci?

Palpation (systematic touching) of the submandibular (below the jaw) lymph nodes is the first step. If any are sensitive or enlarged, we know that the lymphatic defense barrier is under siege. Antibodies are being formed to counter homotoxins in the jaws’ terrain.

Another set of points to be evaluated are those advocated by Dr. Adler in Neural Therapy Dentistry. These “Adler points” are located in front of the paravertebral (upper back) muscles on the transverse processes toward the top of the spine (C2-3). If they’re sensitive to pressure, foci are likely present. If the sensitivity is over C2, the focus is in the upper arch; if C3, the lower. Sinus points are located at the lower edge of the occipital bone (on the lower back of the skull). Tonsillar points are located on the upper edge of the trapezius muscle. People who have had their tonsils removed — or who have thyroid disorders — often experience pressure to the fourth cervical vertebra, which indicates pathological changes in the deep lymphatic glands.

If these tests are positive, we then turn to electrodermal acupuncture evaluation (EAV). This technology lets us locate foci and determine their type, intensity and distant effect. Bar none, it’s the most meaningful test for foci available. As with any diagnostic tool, of course, EAV is subject to an element of uncertainty. Thoroughness and precision in collecting the health history and conducting the various exams, then comparing results across the data, are the best means of minimizing uncertainty.

If toxins are the problem, what kinds escape a root canal tooth or cavitation jaw lesion and disrupt the biological terrain?

In Cancer: A Second Opinion, German physician Joseph Issels noted that 98% of the cancer patients he’d treated had at least two root canal teeth when he first examined them. Swedish neurologist Patrick Störtebecker reported that over 90% of his brain surgery cases reflected the presence of dental foci. Suffice it to say, potent toxins are at work here.

One of the main toxins emitted is mercaptan — the same stuff that natural gas companies add to their odorless product so that if there’s a gas leak, people can smell it. It’s so powerful that if you had two Olympic-sized pools and someone put just three drops of mercaptan in one of them, your nose would be able to tell the difference (Discover Magazine, May 2010). Root canal teeth and cavitations ooze this stuff — along with equally smelly thioethers — into a person’s system 24/7, 365 days a year, from the dead microbes they house.

So what does a person do with this knowledge, and how should they proceed with treatment?

First, it’s important to realize that even if foci are present, they may not necessarily be the root or sole source of illness. Other factors may be involved, including toxins from pesticide residues in foods, food additives and pharmaceutical drugs. Often in the case of long-standing, chronic illnesses, an interference field can prove to be but a co-factor — albeit one that plays a huge role in the development of the multi-causal illnesses charted on Reckeweg’s Table of Homotoxicosis.

DET

Click here to view a full size PDF of this chart.

This is another reason why getting the big picture is so important.

Over the years, I’ve seen all kinds of clients come in. One totes two shopping bags full of supplements they’re taking. Another lists 84 different pharmaceutical drugs and 60 over-the-counter drugs they’ve used in the past decade. Yet both and others like them still walk around profoundly fatigued, in pain and experiencing all manner of symptoms. They think that if they just have their amalgams replaced, root canal teeth removed or cavitations cleaned out, they’ll be on the road to physical recovery.

After 45 years of practicing dentistry, I can tell you, this never happens.

The homotoxins they harbor in their biological terrain — the common sounding board for the accumulation of everything they’ve been exposed to in their lives — are numerous. This is why Reckeweg developed his paradigm. He needed to have a roadmap of which organ systems or tissues layers were involved with which symptoms or illnesses, and how those symptoms or illnesses progressed.

Those with a profound toxic load should never proceed with dental surgery without first triggering regressive vicaration — movement from right to left on Reckeweg’s chart above — via Antihomotoxic Therapy and dietary changes. Once the illness, symptoms or EAV data shift from the cellular phases to the humoral, surgery becomes an option. The idea is to enhance the client’s physiological functions before doing anything that might sap their strength or otherwise cause a setback. You prepare the body to heal.

Adler writes,

While it is impossible to see the moon during an eclipse, the beautiful moon is still there. It is not possible to see everything at once. Interference fields are sometimes imperceptible to our sense of sight and smell, but in spite of everything, they do exist as far as their effects are concerned! It is just that they are sometimes very difficult to find. Because of this, it is not easy to come up with the appropriate treatment for the illness corresponding to the hidden interference field.

But although it’s not easy, the benefits of finding and appropriately treating dental foci are immense, and if foci are suspected, the sooner the better. Individuals need to be carefully evaluated before functional illness becomes an inorganic syndrome and they are plagued with chronic, lingering diseases which may be irreversible.


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From the Archives: Just What Is Biological Dentistry Anyway?

Originally published December 10, 2012

Look at, say, a random 20 websites on “biological dentistry,” and no one could blame you for being unsure as to what the specialty is all about. The term gets used in a lot of different ways, not always accurately.

For instance, you may see it applied to a practice that doesn’t use mercury amalgam or other metals in their dental work. But that’s just mercury-free dentistry. If strict protocols are followed for handling mercury (such as those of the IAOMT), it’s also mercury-safe. And yes, if mercury toxicity is your concern, you definitely want a dentist who is both. Biological dentistry is, but this isn’t what defines it. There are plenty of non-biological mercury-free practices around. (You can read all about our own office’s amalgam removal protocols here.)

Similarly, you may see “biological dentistry” used to describe practices that rely on compatibility testing and insist on biocompatible dental materials. These things are commendable but also not definitive.

Much closer to biological practice are those that focus on “the oral-systemic link” – how oral conditions can reflect and contribute to disease and dysfunction throughout the body. Yet if it ends with root canals as a source of focal infection, say, or concern about pathogenic bacteria spreading through the body, that understanding is incomplete.

And this is often how it goes, with “biological” seemingly used as shorthand or a catch-all for many kinds of non-establishment practices, not the singular specialty it is. Unfortunately, this can wind up doing a disservice to patients. Too often we hear their stories about having their amalgams or root canal teeth removed without experiencing the healing they expected and that biological dentistry can provide.

As co-founder of the first US professional group devoted to biological dentistry, Dr. Verigin can speak authoritatively as to its nature. The seed was planted in 1985, when he and colleague Dr. Ed Arana both attended

a class featuring Reinhold Voll, MD. There, this German inventor of the diagnostic tool EAV (electroacupuncture according to Voll) spoke of a new field developing in Germany: biological dentistry. The practice was showing how illness can often be traced to oral-dental conditions, either as a cause or aggravating factor. It affirmed dentists as true medical specialists, not mere mechanics of teeth. German dentists were blending homeopathy, acupuncture and related remedies with standard clinical practice to help people support their bodies’ natural processes of self-healing.

This hit home with Drs. Arana and Verigin. Each had long been dissatisfied with the “one tooth dentistry” practiced by most American dentists—an approach that sees the teeth and oral tissues as isolated from the rest of the body. They knew it just didn’t correspond with human physiology. Alone, each had sought something better. Both wanted a more informed dentistry. They saw biological dentistry as fully accounting for the systemic nature of health and illness, and the body’s self-regulating ability. [emphasis added]

Thus, as they put it in their founding statement,

21st Century Medicine will be concerned with the depollution of the internal and external environments. It is time to correct our mistakes and become biologists of the mouth in addition to our technical expertise. Physicians and dentists must work together for the good of the whole person. The fragmentation caused by specialization must be rethought. An integrated and unified approach of mind, body and spirit in diagnosis and treatment must be instituted for all. [emphasis added]

Distilled, it comes to this: Biological dentistry focuses on the role of dental factors in the etiology of disease, situating and understanding it ONLY within the dynamic of physical, energetic and psychosomatic factors. It’s about the interrelationships.

biodent_diag

That second part is crucial. Yet it often seems to get glossed as the effects of dental factors on the body get overemphasized. Concern becomes fixed on the physical body, not the dynamics nor the extracellular matrix – the biological terrain – that facilitates them.

biodent_incompl_diag

Without this understanding, the isolated treatment of cavitations or root canals or whatever can have little lasting positive effect. It’s like pulling the plug from a flooding bathtub but failing to turn off the tap. You’ve not solved the basic problem. As Dr. Verigin writes,

If we are to get the maximum optimum results, it’s vital to identify all obstacles present and contributing to the disordered biological terrain. It’s not just the mercury but the whole body that holds it, in both its physical and energetic aspects. And so it’s imperative to defer any clinical dental procedures until the biochemical and bioelectric issues are fully understood. Likewise, the client needs to fully understand why their terrain is disordered and how to balance it – the whys, whats and how-tos before treatment begins.

The terrain serves the conscientious biological dentist as a guide for when and how to address any dental factors that may be compromising health elsewhere in the body. Without that guide, you can do no better than guess.

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From Microbes in the Mouth to Dysfunction in the Body: Focal Infection Theory

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

Integrative, biological medicine insists that the relationship between oral and systemic health is so important, dentists have a responsibility for the general health of their patients. This connection has been understood for decades. So it makes you wonder: Why has it taken so long for medical science to accept it?

The first work to draw attention to the oral-systemic relationship was W.D. Miller’s Microorganisms of the Human Mouth: The Local and General Diseases Which Are Caused by Them, published in 1890. Soon after, William Hunter synthesized the concept that oral microbes and their toxins were somehow involved in a wide range of conditions not obviously caused by infection, such as arthritis and heart disease. In 1900, the Lancet published Hunter’s first article, “Oral Sepsis as a Cause of Disease.” About two decades later, the British Medical Journal published a major update of his research, “The Coming Age of Oral Sepsis.”

According to Martin Fischer, MD, author of Death and Dentistry, “1900 may be taken as the high point of the debate ” on what came to be known as focal infection theory. And one of the most important participants in that “debate” was Frank Billings, MD.

Frank Billings, MDIn 1898, Billings was named Chair of Medicine at Rush Medical College in Chicago. He was much too busy to write, but he was paid to teach. Regularly, he would lecture on his theory that pneumonia was caused by agents from the tonsils, sinus or oral cavity infecting the lungs via the bloodstream. By 1901, such clinical concepts began to show up in print.

Billings soon became Head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago. (He also served as Dean of Faculty.) By 1904, he was studying how local infections cause disease at distant sites – the etiology of focal infection. His most important associates at the time were the brilliant professor of pathology Ludvig Hektoen and Hektoen’s pupil Edward Carl Rosenow. Rosenow’s animal studies in particular were key to Billings’ work.

One of Rosenow’s most important experiments focused on appendicitis, which was believed to be caused by mechanical factors, foreign body intrusions or direct infection. He isolated identical strains of streptococci from the walls of both chronic and acute appendices, then injected them intravenously into rabbits. More than two-thirds of the animals developed acute appendicitis – results which he repeated using diseased tissues from all parts of the body.

He next isolated strep from the bowl ulcer of a patient ill with “mucous colitis” and injected it into a rabbit. Within 72 hours, the animal developed a hemorrhagic, necrosing colitis. Similarly, Rosenow took microbial products he had harvested from an abscessed bicuspid in the same patient and implanted them into the pulp chamber of a dog’s tooth. Rosenow wrote, “X-ray photographs of what happened…manifested…abscesses which developed about the filled teeth of the dog in every respect like those in the original human victim.”

These findings were at the same time being independently confirmed in Ohio by the great dental researcher Weston Price, DDS. Price would eventually go on to publish one of the essential works on the subject of focal infections: the two-volume Dental Infections, Oral and Systemic and Dental Infections and the Degenerative Diseases.

By 1915, Billings and his research team had fully synthesized his Focal Infection Theory, which he first delivered through a series of lectures at Stanford University Medical School. The following year, his book Focal Infections was published.

As Billings put it, “Focal infection is most commonly situated in the head, but may be located in any organ or tissue.” In other words, though focal infections can arise anywhere, they’re most apt to do so in the mouth. A few decades later, Patrick Störtebecker, MD, PhD, would demonstrate that toxins produced by the microbes in a diseased dental pulpal complex and surrounding bone actually enter the cranial venous system, which transports them to the brain and spinal cord where they may cause any number of degenerative diseases. Later research showed that infections from other body tissues could likewise affect the brain, substantiating the work of Marineso and Dragonesco, and Oscar Batson.

According to Fischer, “Billings…changed completely the place for emphasis in clinical pathology. Those peripheral manifestations of disease were no longer to be regarded as expressions of vague systemic intoxications but the product of direct invasions by microbial life, producing in situ a local poisoning; and it had not arisen there or gotten there by simple extension but via living germs sown into the area by an infected blood stream.”

By the mid-1920s, dentists with this awareness were removing infected teeth hand over fist, right over left – with less than stellar results. And so the concept of focal infection fell into disrepute. But as Huber Newman wrote in the 1996 volume of the Journal of Dental Research, “By relegating this notion to the professional back burner, we compromise our role as oral physicians – physicians whose area of specialization is the mouth. The problem about the original discovery was the tenuous nature of the link between putative oral foci of infection and related disease. And that is the warning to us: that for the hypothesis not to fall into disrepute for a second time there must be no unsubstantiated attributions, no theories without evidence. Many original publications were anecdotal. Direct cause-and-effect evidence was lacking,”

It wasn’t long, however, before that would change…thanks to the brilliant work of the Austrian physician Alfred Pischinger and those who have followed in his footsteps.

Alfred PischingerPischinger was the first to seriously challenge Virchow’s Theory of Cellular Pathology. Building upon the groundbreaking work of Hans-Heinrich Reckeweg, the father of homotoxicology, Pischinger helped us understand the human body as a self-regulating system. The pivotal moment came in 1955, when he presented his early theories of the basic regulative system to the German Society of Focal Research. The response was monumental. Shortly after, Pischinger was offered a full professorship in histology (microscopic anatomy) and prestigious position heading a research team in Matrix Regulation at the University of Vienna. He accepted.

Pischinger and his research team went on to prove scientifically that it’s the basic regulative system that controls the fundamental functions of life – things like body temperature regulation, metabolism, pH, redox potential and resistivity of trace minerals. It maintains the functional properties of the parenchymal cells – those that organ tissue is made of – through an ordered metabolism. It is also the nutritional medium for all cells and protects their genetic structure.

The guiding factor is what’s known as the ground substance. In the words of German researcher Hartmut Heine, now considered the top scientist in this area, “Ground Substance [is what] pervades the extracellular space of the entire organism, reaches every cell and always reacts the same way. Where the extracellular space is reduced to minimal fissures in the brain mass, the Ground Substance forms the intracellular substance.”

In short, it is the stuff of the milieu, the biological terrain, and the health of the entire organism – the human body – depends upon its health. For it is also a non-specific sounding board for all the irritations and intoxications that our environment bombards us with: pathogens, chemicals and other physical influences. The sum of them can bring the whole system to exhaustion. It becomes blocked, rigid. Energy can no longer move freely along the body’s energetic meridians – the “passageways” of sorts among the body’s acupuncture points. This, in turn, adds to the blockages and exacerbates rigidity. The body is made more vulnerable to illness, dysfunction and disease.

It’s now understood that this energetic aspect is the most important in the etiology, or cause, of disease. And it points to why those early 20th century dentists described above, yanking out infected teeth in hopes of removing the source of distant infections, failed to get favorable results. They weren’t yet aware of this “missing link”

In short, if the milieu is plagued by blocked energy and rigidity, surgically removing diseased dental tissues comes to naught. And to understand why, we need only look to Pischinger’s more informed and refined definition of a focus. In his words, it is “a chronically changed tissue area in the Vegetative ground system. It comprises organic and/or inorganic material, material which can no longer be decomposed and which can only be eliminated via a necrosis or inflammation. Such a focus forms a process, which radiates a damaging remote effect, since the local defense barrier has been broken.”

That effect is not only biophysical but energetic.

structures in the biological terrain/matrix/milieuGround system and cell regulation involve all the functions cells carry out to maintain balance, or homeostasis. Of particular concern are their responses to extracellular signals such as hormones and neurotransmitters, as well as how they produce and intracellular response. The vast majority of illnesses involve faulty communications among cells via the biological terrain. One of the things homeopathics can do – and drugs can’t – is target the molecules involved with cell- and terrain-signaling with specific electromagnetic bio-resonances, or photons, which are the quanta (energy packets) of an electromagnetic field.

Focal disturbances contribute to signaling errors that ultimately show up as dysfunction in the body and lead to the onset or progression of an altered tissue state, illness or disease. Specific information such as pH, redox potential and resistivity levels collected through Biological Terrain Analysis can help dissect such errors via evaluation of the energy package of the acupuncture meridians.

Once the state of the terrain is understood, we can understand how to remove the blockages – a process called opening the channels of elimination. This must be done if the surgical removal of foci such as root canal teeth and cavitational osteonecrosis lesions is to be of any benefit.

Again, if the blockages aren’t removed, removal of the foci won’t do much good.

Regulation in life is characterized by reversibility. Consider the simple example of water: how it turns to ice and then back to water by virtue of temperature. Likewise, steam condenses to water when temperature drops. These are natural movements from state to state, driven by what’s happening in the environment.

In clinically healthy tissues, fluid states are reversible – just like with water. Dead tissue states are not. The tissues can neither take in nor give out metabolic products. Instead, diseased tissue from dental foci creates only byproducts of decomposition – substances such as mercapatan, thioethers and ornithine, which can easily block regulation. The proteopolyglycanes – high-polymer sugars found in the terrain that normally facilitate communication – can no longer allow accurate and helpful information to transit through the space in the terrain between the capillaries and the cellular structures.

Thus, each cell is left to its own devices and embarks on a series of life processes that are no longer coordinated with those of the other cells. The DNA and RNA within the nuclei are altered. The cells become sick.

According to Voll, a German physician, and his associates, dentists Kramer and Thomsen, “The characteristic features of a disturbance factor…are that it is under strain [or] of overriding importance, it keeps to the path of the meridian and puts everything under strain generally….[T]he characteristic features of a focus are that it is under strain [or] of lesser importance, puts an organ under strain between a pair of meridians and puts a strain on a particular organ.”

Thus, what we need to know is whether the source of illness is a disturbance factor or a focus. If the latter, simple removal may be enough. But if disturbance factors are at work, focal removal alone will not solve the problem. For without removal of the blockages, as well, there can be no reversibility. It’s like water turning to ice and being kept from turning back to water.

Consequently, writes Heine, “The capacity of the ground system [i.e. the terrain] for regulation is for this reason most important in the course of an illness. In all acute and chronic diseases and tumors it is possible to prove the existence of disturbances in the regulation mechanism and ultra-structural alterations in the ground substance [i.e. terrain].”

Biological medicine has its own dynamics, both cybernetic and energetic. Every cell can and does communicate with every other cell in the body – as if each has the phone, mobile and fax numbers of the others, as well as their e-mail addresses. When communications are interrupted, humoral, neuronal, hormonal and basic regulative systems are affected – well before morphological changes are seen in the parenchymal cells; well before illness and disease begin to manifest themselves as symptoms.

Recently, I devoured the new book by Martin Pall, PhD, professor of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University. In Explaining Unexplained Illnesses, this world-renowned expert in biological regulatory mechanisms lays out his new theory about multisystem illnesses (e.g. chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities and PTSD). Pointedly, he writes, “The challenge to a scientist or thoughtful lay person trying to look at these insights is how to objectively assess their importance without ‘falling in love’ with the theory and thus destroying one’s objectivity. That is a major challenge and in the face of this challenge, I would simply say that you do the best you can….The need for good science here is far from academics. There are tens of millions of people whose lives are severely impacted by these diseases and they are depending on us, whether they know it or not, to do the right thing.”

This passage reminded me of another – one from Thomas Kuhn’s famous Structure of Scientific Revolutions: “New assumptions (paradigms/theories) require the reconstruction of prior assumptions and the reevaluation of prior facts. This is difficult and time consuming. It is strongly resisted by the established community. When a shift takes place, a scientist’s world is qualitatively transformed and quantitatively enriched by fundamental novelties of either fact or theory.”

And as Kuhn writes elsewhere, “What must the world be like in order that a man may know it?”

Originally published in Biosis 18 & 19 (September & November 2007)
For more articles like this one, visit Dr. V’s Biodental Library.

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