And No Sooner Had We Posted About Implants…

If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you may recall the race to make the fastest toothbrush ever. (If you don’t, here’s a recap).

Now there seems to be a similar “speed stakes” going on in the wonderful world of dental implants, too.

No sooner had we published last week’s post on the number of serious injuries caused by dental implants, this turned up in our inbox:

screenshot of news release

Bear in mind that, despite all the hoopla about one-day implants, the norm is still to place them in stages, allowing weeks for healing between each surgery.

And placing implants is a surgical procedure. Can you imagine doctors advertising other implant surgeries by touting just how fast they can be done? Get a new hip in just one hour! Knee replacement surgery in mere minutes!

In this way, the stress on speed seems to reduce dental implants to a mere cosmetic matter, a surgery done with seemingly little concern for its impact on the rest of the body.

But not everyone is seduced by this approach. Just as “slow food” has come to be valued within a landscape dominated by foods of convenience, so, too, is “slow dentistry” coming to be valued by more and more people.

After all, a three-minute procedure of any kind isn’t just, as the marketing materials tell it, for the benefit of patients who believe they have better things to do with their time. The faster the dentist can do the procedures, the more patients they can see and the more money they can make.

In that scenario, patients can seldom be seen as the unique and complex human beings as they are – even as time and a more comprehensive understanding of health and wellness are what increasing numbers of people crave.

Recently, a married couple came in for their first exams and cleanings and were each happily surprised when Dr. V sat down to do their cleanings himself.

“You don’t use a hygienist for this?” they asked.

“No,” said Dr. V. “I like doing it myself. I like to get to know you better and to know your mouth better. Doing the cleanings myself gives me the opportunity to do both.”

Yes, we do dentistry differently here.

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More Than 2 Million Dental Implant Injuries…

The hype about dental implants is nothing new to this blog, nor is what the hype covers up.

tooth and dental implantWhat is new is that the FDA has finally published it’s once-hidden database on injuries caused by medical devices, which underscores just how much these prosthetics have been oversold.

All told, the new report documents 5.7 million incidents involving all sorts of devices. Over two million of those involve dental implants – 117,200 serious injuries last year alone.

“A lot of people have gone out and gotten these and probably don’t know about these risks,” former FDA manager Madris Tomes recently told Kaiser Health News.

Why is this information only coming to light now? As Dr. Bicsupid reported,

Federal law requires manufacturers to file reports to the FDA when devices cause or may have caused a serious injury, defined as an injury that is life-threatening, results in irreversible impairment or damage, or necessitates medical or surgical intervention to prevent permanent impairment or damage.

The newly released reports were part of a program, known as alternative summary reporting, that allowed manufacturers of certain devices to submit quarterly summaries of serious injuries, as opposed to a report for each occurrence. Implant manufacturers who did not use this reporting method filed individual reports through a public database.

When the FDA formally ended this program on June 21, the previously undisclosed reports became public.

Most of the injuries – 57% – involved implants that failed to integrate with the bone into which they were placed. Another 28% involved loss of previous osseointegration.

“People who have metabolic conditions, people who have diabetes, people who smoke, people who are osteoporotic, they may have a lower success rate than a younger, healthy adult,” [Natalie Y. Wong, DDS, president of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry] said. “But on average, we do quote 90% to 95% success at 10 years.”

Yet research has shown those numbers to be considerably inflated and often based upon highly biased (or potentially biased) studies.

And this doesn’t even account for the fact that most reported injuries involve simple mechanical failure. Little consideration is given to their energetic impact on the body’s regulative systems, including the immune response. If that were taken into account, we suspect, the numbers would be even higher.

Just recently, Dr. V did a biofunctional resonance assessment on an implant one of his patients had expressed concern about. It had been placed in the socket of tooth #28, which is on the pancreas meridian.

“From an energetic perspective,” says Dr. V, “it took 7 vials of D# jaw osteitis to balance the meridian. That’s a tremendous disruption!”

When I measured the patient’s pancreatic meridian, I found both the exocrine and endocrine points to be mildly disturbed. The only item I tested it with was titanium, and sure enough, this balanced the meridian.

I was not testing it for all the metal specifically, but the titanium was disturbed, and it was disturbing of the pancreatic energetic system.

He adds that autoregulation fatigue around where an implant is placed may be another reason for the physical failure of so many implants.

While we don’t believe that implants, even “biocompatible” ceramic implants, are a good choice, we also believe that it’s up to each patient to make the choices that resonate with their health goals, needs, values, and desires. That requires having complete information and a clear view of the pros and cons of any treatment being considered or recommended.

When information like the injury data gets kept from the public, it makes it even harder to make an informed decision about implants.

We see that, too often, patients are given little more than a hard sell, with promises of a natural looking smile, sometimes provided in a single day, with no potential downside. They may never have had a real conversation at all with their dentist about the pros and cons of implants or factors that might not make them such a “good candidate” for the prosthetic.

We believe such conversations are necessary – about any treatment. The more you know, the better your decision-making can be.

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KTH Flashback: Thoughts Are Powerful, Not Magical

Originally posted February 6, 2013; updated

By Christopher J. Fabricius, ND

A handful of years ago, a lot of interest built up around the release of a film called The Cure Is…, a documentary on the mind-body (mental/physical) aspect of health, featuring interviews with some of the most advanced thinkers and researchers in fields such as epigenetics and energy medicine. Its central idea is profound:

What we hold in our thoughts, beliefs and unresolved emotional conflicts maybe one of the most significant factors in determining our health and wellbeing or whether you experience disease in your lifetime.

This is undoubtedly true, as scientific research has shown. As mentioned before, it was Einstein who demonstrated that energy and matter are not two different things but different expressions of the same thing. Once we wrap our thinking around this, it makes sense to think of ourselves not as some kind of biological machines but, in the words of my colleague Dr. Gary Verigin, “dynamic energy systems vibrating at specific frequencies that can be affected by positive or negative energy. We are likewise affected by our nutritional intake, living environment, emotions and spiritual beliefs.”

In other words, anything that affects those frequencies affects our whole being, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

think_hard-300x199Yet one thing I’ve noticed in some talk around this new film is how easily the science gets reduced to the banal hope that thought alone can reverse the course of disease – that we can think ourselves healthy just by thinking the right thoughts. This is known as the Law of Attraction, a metaphysical tenet that’s taken various shapes through the hundred or so years of its existence, most famously in The Secret.

The law of attraction is the name given to the belief that “like attracts like” and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results. For example, if a person opened an envelope expecting to see a bill, then according to the law of attraction, the envelope would “confirm” those thoughts and contain a bill when opened. A person who decided to instead expect a cheque might, under the same law, find a cheque instead of a bill.

Although there are some cases where positive or negative attitudes can produce corresponding results (principally the placebo and nocebo effects), there is no scientific basis to the law of attraction.

But add some genetic and biophysical buzzwords such as “epigenetic” and “quantum,” and it can sure seem scientific, fresh and cutting edge. It’s still magical thinking.

And it’s not hard to understand the appeal, especially when it comes to health. As the inherent flaws and contradictions of the establishment’s money-driven medicine come into ever brighter light and starker contrast, people lose faith in its promises. No one can endure lost faith for long. Something must replace it.

Many begin to explore so-called “alternative medicine,” where it can be difficult for the newbie to separate the wheat from the chaff. Meantime, quick and easy “miracle” solutions garner undue attention, for we humans do like shortcuts and tend strongly toward short-term thinking. What could be quicker, easier or more miraculous than thinking yourself well?

Also appealing is its cost: free. No paying doctors or clinics or so-called “healers.” No buying expensive supplements or drugs. Just think yourself well!

Frankly, this sounds a little like The Music Man – a 1950s musical about a con artist who sells small town yokels band instruments, uniforms and such on the promise that he’ll teach their kids to play in a band. No musician himself, he instructs the kids in “the think system”: Think the tune, and you’ll be able to play it.

When it comes to health, this approach can be downright dangerous. If it takes the place of actual medical treatment, it can end up a route to suffering and death.

Think about it: Those who embrace magical thinking as a substitute for legitimate therapeutics essentially make the same critical mistake as those who embrace conventional allopathic medicine in hopes of actually improving their health. Both types exclude certain aspects of healing. Allopathic medicine so privileges the Physical, it neglects our Emotional, Mental and Spiritual aspects. The “think system” approach does just the opposite.

Optimum wellness encompasses much: health and vitality (Physical); wisdom and presence (Emotional); knowledge and skill (Mental); and peace and harmony (Spiritual). Would you say either of these two individuals is on a path to achieve it:

  • The typical “muscle-head” in the gym who works out to the extreme, focused solely on the Physical, strengthening muscles and shaping his physique?
  • The quintessential starving mystic in a cave, meditating to the extreme with no care for the material world, focused on Mental life?

The obvious answer is no, neither.

pieces-300x255And it’s not that chemistry, physiology and other Physical factors don’t matter. They do. So do intention, belief and other Mental factors. But they matter ONLY in the context of their relationships and interdependence with the Emotional and Spiritual aspects that make us who we are. Those define our needs and how our bodies actually work, and hence, how best to support the healing process that only our bodies – Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual – in concert with The Divine can achieve.

Context, as they say, matters. In fact, it means everything.

Whenever we ignore the pragmatic truth of our holistic design and unique role each aspect of our being fulfills, we get into trouble. Each is important. Each must be acknowledged, honored, appropriately assessed and appropriately worked with to engender the greatest degree of healing possible.

This is the antithesis of magical thinking. Healing requires more than just thinking or praying, meditating or feeling. It requires action.

What we THINK and what we DO together generate the momentum of our lives. If we don’t like where the momentum of our past thinking and behavior is taking us, then we need to change what we think and do in the now. This alters momentum in order to generate new desirable outcomes in our lives.

We cannot merely use vivid mental imagery to take the place of real world pragmatism. The mind is a powerful thing, to be sure, but just thinking about drinking water won’t keep you hydrated, nor just imagining brushing your teeth keep them clean. Mind is only one of the Four Essential Aspects of Humanity, and only when allowed to function in its proper station and relation to the other three is true healing enabled and the restoration of health achieved.

As Goethe wrote, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Images by mutsmuts and Natasha Hanova, via Flickr

Modified by the author from the original

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The Unintended Consequences of Tongue & Lip Piercings

pierced tongueThe picture hasn’t turned any rosier for oral piercings since we last blogged about some of their unintended consequences, including infection, broken or damaged teeth, and orthodontic issues.

One of the latest studies, published last month in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene, confirms earlier research about the damage tongue and lip piercings can do to your gums.

The research team recruited 18 patients with either a tongue or lip piercing (or both, in some cases). They then collected info from each, including measures of their periodontal (gum) health. Those with tongue piercings – 14 participants total – tended to have deeper periodontal pockets, more clinical attachment loss, and more gingival recession around teeth close to the piercing site.

An earlier review of the science in the same journal analyzed 15 studies focused on dental complications from oral piercings. Unlike the current study, this one found that lip piercings also contributed to receding gums. In fact, those with a lip piercing were more than 4 times more likely to experience gingival recession than those without.

But gum damage wasn’t the only problem observed.

Tooth injuries were observed in 26% individuals with lip piercings and in up to 37% of individuals with tongue piercings.

Subsequent studies, such as this one in Oral Health & Preventive Dentistry further confirm such findings.

But there’s another issue with oral piercings: the placement of metal in the body.

One study published earlier this year looked for the presence of metals from oral piercings in the soft tissues of the mouth. Indeed, at least in the small group of teens who participated in the study – 16 individuals total – metal was found, including particles of metals such as aluminum and tin.

Hyperplastic, leukoedematous, and lichenoid lesions were observed in the mucosa, as well as lesions associated with metallosis of the lip skin. Cytological smears showed the presence of particles inside the epithelial cells; the particles were found to contain aluminum, tungsten, and molybdenum. In one case requiring surgical removal of the piercing, histological examination of the tissue associated with the piece of jewelry showed the presence particles containing aluminum, iron, and tin inside multinucleated giant cells.

The authors go on to suggest that the ion particles released from metal piercings “could have been adjuvant factors in the development of the observed lesions.”

But there’s another issue with placing metal in the body: It changes the energetic balance of the body, the flow of qi, often with deleterious effects. As one naturopathic doctor has put it,

When the bodies’ Qi is compromised due to diet, stress, anxiety, surgery, aging (hormonal reduction), medications, physical accidents, disease, environmental toxins including metal insertions, the energy may become stagnant. Energy imbalances reduce our natural immunity and set the stage for chronic or long term diseases.

Metals, no matter what type will interfere will this process. Gold is an alloy (never 100% pure for jewelry) that tonifies the body, while silver will calm or sedate. When the acupuncture point is active due to a continued piercing 24/7 the area may become over-stimulated. This may lead to possible organ burn-out or immune weakness setting off chain reactions to various parts of the body – depending on your inherent genetic or environmental weaknesses.

When these metals are inserted into certain points, the body either speeds up (hyperactive, hormonal burnout, addictions to stimulant foods, alcohol, medications, etc.), while silver may lead to anxiety, stress, depression and a lack of ambition or clarity. Once a person removes metal piercings, they may have to chelate or detox their body as many people absorb toxins from the metals – similar to metal dental amalgams.

The area of the tongue that’s most commonly pierced is associated with the stomach and spleen, and indeed, cases of gastrointestinal problems associated with tongue piercing can be found in the literature, as well as clinical observations.

The lips are also energetically linked to the stomach and spleen, as well as the intestines, liver, and colon.

Whether any particular piercing becomes a burden depends on any number of factors, of course, not the least of which is the state of the individual’s biological terrain. Some may be able to tolerate the energetic effects without much issue, while for others, a piercing could be the proverbial last straw.

As ever, the big picture needs to be taken into account.

Image by Tommy T, via Wikimedia Commons

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The Great Toothbrush Debate, Part 572

manual and power toothbrushesIt’s the debate that never ends: Is it better to clean your teeth with an electric brush or manual?

When we last checked in on the matter, there was some evidence that while some power brushes can be a little too abrasive, overall, they might be a bit better for removing biofilm and improving gum health.

Whoa, there! Not so fast! says new research in BMC Oral Health.

For the study, 55 college students who had brushed daily with a power brush and 60 who did so with a manual brush were asked to clean their teeth to the absolute best of their abilities using their brush of choice. Before and after, researchers checked their teeth for biofilm (plaque), as well as the overall health of their teeth and gums. Each student’s hygiene performance was videoed and analyzed.

The result? The type of toothbrush didn’t make a difference.

No advantage of daily powered toothbrushing as compared to daily manual toothbrushing was seen with respect to oral hygiene or clinical parameters. The capability to achieve oral cleanliness was low, irrespective of the type of toothbrush under consideration. Additional effort is thus needed to improve this capability.

We’d rephrase that last bit, though. It’s not about trying harder. It’s about brushing with the proper technique. Here’s how to clean effectively with a manual brush:

And here’s how it’s done with a power brush:

As ever, the best toothbrush remains the one you use both regularly and effectively.

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Homemade Sunscreens – Yea or Nay?

jar labeled homemade sunscreenDid you see the piece that PBS NewsHour recently ran on the dangers of DIY sunscreens?

No sooner did they did cite an FDA-led JAMA study published this past May on the potential absorption of sunscreen ingredients than they downplayed its significance. The study was small, they said – which it was (though it actually included 24 participants, not the 10 they reported, 23 of whom completed the trial) – and it didn’t find that the ingredients were harmful (because that wasn’t the point of the study).

What did the study show? As MDLinx nicely summarized,

The researchers asked 24 adults to apply sunscreens with one of four key ingredients at the recommended amount (2 mg/1 cm2 applied to 75% body surface area) four times daily for 4 days; 30 blood samples were collected over 7 days from each participant. While this application amount might seem like a lot, it’s roughly equivalent to that which a diligent tourist would use over a week-long visit at a tropical resort.

According to the daily blood tests, concentrations in the bloodstream of all four ingredients increased daily through day 4, and had a continued presence after disuse, pointing to an extended half-life. Overall, the investigators found that the active sunscreen ingredients were absorbed into the blood stream at levels that—within days—reached > 0.5 ng/mL, the threshold at which they should trigger FDA requirements for safety studies of systemic carcinogenicity as well as developmental and reproductive effects.

And that brings us to another item from the FDA which didn’t apparently make it into the PBS report.

This memo, distributed back in February, outlines a proposed rule change that would, among other things, classify 12 of 16 active ingredients commonly used in sunscreen as no longer “generally recognized as safe and effective.” Why? Because no one actually knows if they’re in fact safe or not.

Hence, the quest for alternatives – for product made with materials that are known to be safe.

But the PBS piece does ultimately make a valid point: While recipes you find online may sound good, putting together a formulation that works well is a little tricker than it sounds. As EWG has noted,

To be effective, mineral sunscreens need ingredients that hold zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in a suspension to provide an even coating on the skin. Without careful formulation, the mineral ingredients can settle or clump, leaving gaps in skin coverage.

On her blog, Realize Beauty, professional cosmetic chemist Amanda Foxon-Hill describes how she made batches of sunscreen with zinc oxide, shea butter and other ingredients, and then had them tested at a lab. The mixtures she thought would come out at SPF 30 ended up at SPF 12. The one she thought would be SPF 35 came out at SPF 8.

“Epic failures all,” she wrote, “and what was worse was that this was all my own work.”

“Even a change in fragrance,” Foxon-Hill notes in an update to her original post, “can affect SPF.”

Also of concern is that many recipes specify the use of nano zinc or titanium, and, as the NIH so plainly puts it, “Very little is known about the potential human health effects of nanoparticles.” Inhaling them can be risky.

Instead, the better option may be to use something like EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens to find the safest options for your needs – and also to keep in mind that sunscreen is just one tool for making sure you don’t get overexposed to UV rays while you’re out and about. EWG offers some good tips on this matter, as well, so check them out…and have fun in the sun this summer!

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KTH Flashback: More Than Just the Absence of Symptoms

Originally posted October 24, 2018

arrow sign pointing to healthHealth is more than just the absence of symptoms. And the good news is that more Americans than ever understand that.

According to a new survey from Samueli Integrative Health Programs, more than 9 out of 10 Americans today say health is about much more than not being sick. It also includes being happy (59%), they say, or being calm and relaxed (56%), or being able to live independently (53%)

Yet most also say their primary care physician seldom talks with them about more than their purely medical needs. Factors we know play a significant role in a person’s health and well-being are routinely overlooked.

  • Barely half of respondents – 51% – said their doctor talked with them about exercise.
  • Just 44% talked about diet; 40% about sleep.
  • A bit more than a third talked about mental health, while only 10% spoke of spiritual health.

“The current model of medicine,” says Dr. Wayne Jonas of Samueli Integrative,

focuses on providing pills and procedures for addressing physical symptoms and prescribing quick fixes…. But younger patients want more. They are looking for options that fit their lifestyle and personal needs. This generational shift proves that more and more patients will be seeking out ways to address the underlying causes of health.

But while there indeed appears to be a generational shift, it’s not just younger folks who are wanting a more expansive approach to sustaining or regaining their health. We hear it from older patients all the time. Often, it’s only after they’ve spent years being bounced from provider to provider with no one connecting the dots among their health concerns, including the role that oral conditions may have played in their development. Some may have even had their mercury amalgam fillings replaced or root canal teeth removed, yet saw little improvement or even a worsening of symptoms because it wasn’t done in a big picture context.

Once you do grasp the big picture – a total view of your health story – you can then take a more comprehensive approach to restoring or maintaining health, one that acknowledges the true nature of health – body, mind, and spirit thriving as they were designed to do.

conscious health quote

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Cultivating Consciousness in an Unconscious World

In last week’s post, Dr. V explored some of the factors that can affect our decision-making and, ultimately, well-being. And it brought to mind David Foster Wallace’s famous speech “This Is Water,” which he originally delivered as a speech to Kenyon College’s 2005 graduating class.

The inability to recognize how distracted we are seems to be one of the biggest drivers of misery. Living mindfully can become a real challenge. Your emotional health, of course, is as crucial to your overall health as diet, physical activity, sleep, and the rest.

It’s easy, Wallace told the students, to stay caught in your own thoughts, to proceed unconsciously, to “think” without thinking. “Twenty years after my own graduation,” as he phrased it in the published version of this speech,

I have come gradually to understand that the liberal-arts cliché about “teaching you how to think” is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: “Learning how to think” really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.

Check out the whole thing:

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When It Comes to Your Health, Are You Deciding – or Letting a Movie Decide for You?: Some Thoughts on Health Choices After Seeing Root Cause

By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN

Diseases don’t read textbooks. A good detective never makes a conclusion until everything outside of the box is examined. – Dr. Jerry Bouquot, Oral Pathologist

hands showing rock paper scissors roshamboYou probably know the game, but you might not be familiar with the name we had for it when I was a kid: Roshambo, better known as Rock/Paper/Scissors. Yet while other decision-making games rely on chance, Roshambo “can be played with a degree of skill by recognizing and exploiting non-random behavior in opponents.”

Yet at the start of this year, I began to see what seemed a lot of decision-making being done by chance, emotion, or other non-rational factors. Like other dental offices, we were getting inundated with calls from people who had seen the documentary Root Cause on Netflix or Amazon Prime and were extremely concerned about the presence of root canal teeth and cavitations in their own mouths.

Several weeks later, Netflix succumbed to pressure from the American Association of Endodontists, the American Dental Association, and other defenders of dentistry-as-usual. They took the unprecedented step of removing the film from distribution. Amazon quickly followed (removing other controversial “alternative health” titles, as well).

The size of the content platform, as well as its ability to suggest new content to users based on their previous viewing activity, can help make inaccurate things go viral, said Paul Resnick, director of the Center for Social Media Responsibility at the University of Michigan.

One way to militate against fringe, potentially harmful content is to simply stop suggesting it to viewers, Resnick said. However, media platforms also have an additional responsibility to viewers, he said, which is to preserve a “healthy marketplace of ideas” as much as possible.

“I don’t want crap to get wide distribution, but I also want there to be some vehicle for new ideas and claims to get out there, even if it challenges the current orthodoxy.”

So, who do you believe? The filmmakers or the gatekeepers of conventional dentistry? Or is it that the truth lies somewhere in the middle? As Chris Cuomo says each night on CNN, “Let’s get after it!”

How We Know What We Know

series of human head silhouettesLet’s consider the possibility that a lot of the things you and I think of as “facts” today will change over time or even be disproven. Also consider that with the wealth of information available at our fingertips today, we can no longer know all facts or truths because we’ve not studied all the available research.

We must analyze just what our perception of the truth really is. Is it a personal mental construct based on our necessarily limited knowledge, influenced by our biases, and motivated by our subconscious?

This is a common idea today – that rather than a collection of immutable facts, what we know to be so is actually a set of evolving concepts. Much of this can be traced back to the work of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget, who studied how children assimilate knowledge into “knowledge structures” that can change over time. Minor changes to those structures he called “assimilation,” and major changes – paradigm shifts, really – he called “accommodation.”

Those changes aren’t restricted to childhood, however. We each experience them through our entire lives.

The Brain, Behavior, & Health

Most of our patients come to us with very little understanding of what dentistry is about and what it can do for them. They also come with fears and biases, as well as external influencers such as spouses, parents, insurance companies, social media, and the like. They often come expecting that this dental procedure or that will be an instant and permanent solution to all their problems.

If our true goal is to “treat the whole person” and to suss out both effects AND causes, then we need to understand not only how our patients think but why they think that way. How they think drives behavior. Behavior drives their health status and their attitude towards it.

Being both a biological dentist and certified traditional naturopath, I must pay attention to what my patients know, understand how they know it, even how they got to know it and why they feel about what they know. Is what they know apt to be helpful or harmful over time?

I see it as mandatory to understand this because it’s the only way to practice truly health-centered dental medicine. That can never happen during a 5-minute chat in an operatory once a hygienist is done scaling the patient’s teeth. It takes real conversation. It takes time. It’s a journey of discovery.

One of the things I’ve had to explore much more lately is how Root Cause has influenced their decision-making.

For Many, an Anxiety-Provoking Film

Here’s how the filmmakers describe the documentary on their website:

“You’re going to need a root canal.”

Root Cause movie posterThose seven little words rolled off the Dentist’s tongue so completely naturally, but trust me; there is nothing natural about a root canal.

After years of searching for cures to my chronic fatigue, panic attacks, anxiety and insomnia, I finally tracked down the root cause of the problem causing my health issues – A ROOT CANAL

A root canal is a so-called specialty procedure developed by dentists to save infected teeth. But as you’ll discover, it is so much more. 25 million are performed each year in the USA alone – and root canals are one of the root causes of cancer, heart disease, and chronic illness.

Root Cause is my extraordinary, personal journey of self-discovery set to send ripples through the dental profession and expose perhaps one of the world’s greatest medical industry cover-ups.

Root Cause is a movie length documentary featuring expert opinions from cutting edge doctors and dentists from around the world, that exposes the true health effects of the root canal procedure.

Variations of this description can be found on all sites where the film remains available for viewing.

And this is what the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) states:

The people in this movie are spreading misinformation and confusion about root canal treatment that is misleading and harmful to the consumer public. Their premise is based on junk science and faulty testing conducted more than 100 years ago that was debunked in the 1950s, continuously since then and is even more discredited today by physicians, dentists and academics. Mainstream medical and dental communities overwhelmingly agree that root canal treatment is safe, effective and eliminates pain.

Endodontists are root canal specialists, so naturally, they have a vested interest in believing that the treatment is both safe and effective. So they say things like,

Information you may find on the Internet or elsewhere, claiming that if you receive a root canal treatment you’re more likely to become ill or contract a disease in the future simply isn’t true. This false claim was based on long-debunked and poorly designed research conducted nearly a century ago, long before modern medicine understood the causes of many diseases. There is no valid, scientific evidence linking root canal treatment to disease elsewhere in the body.

They also direct users to their own video, touting root canal safety and again reiterating that “claims about root canal treatment causing disease are based on outdated theories.”

Individuals who have called our office after viewing Root Cause have usually been experiencing various degrees of anxiety and depression. Those are certainly consistent traits among people who have been suffering a variety of symptoms and diagnoses for years, often autoimmune disorders.

Research in neurobiology and neuroeconomics strongly suggest that anxiety and depression, along with fear, have stable neural substrates and may be an important factor driving decision-making, among other behaviors. I believe we need a more nuanced understanding of that relationship, though – between anxiety and decision-making.

The patients we see have often already consulted more than a dozen physicians, usually starting with an allopathic GP who treated them largely with drugs. If the symptoms persist, the doctor may tell them that it’s all in their head and offer yet another prescription – this time, for SSRIs, benzos, or other medication intended to quell negative emotions – or hand them off to a specialist.

After seeing a few more allopathic doctors, they start searching online for alternatives, just as Frazer Bailey did himself and documented in Root Cause, seeking the source of his fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Anxiety suffuses the experience. Experience drives the decision.

Note that this is different from fear.

Fear and anxiety share many common cognitive and physiological properties, however they may also be distinguished. Fear responses are elicited by specific stimuli, and tend to be short-lived, decreasing once a threat has dissipated. Anxiety may be experienced in the absence of a direct physical threat, and typically persists over a longer period of time. However, anxiety is commonly conceptualized as a state of sustained fear.

Your Limbic System’s Impact on Decision-Making

Now, when you’re stressed – whether suddenly or coping with it for a long time – at least 11 hormones are activated. One of these is cortisol, a glucocorticoid hormone which is produced by your adrenal glands and involved in many critical body functions. Like all glucocorticoids, it can raise blood sugar levels. It shuts off the parasympathetic nervous system and turns on the sympathetic, the “fight or flight” response.

stressed out womanNote that not all stress is bad. There’s an optimal level that motivates us to peak performance without totally stressing us out. It’s different for each of us. We have different appetites for stress – different levels of sensitivity based on our glucocorticoid receptors that affect how we react. It’s why people have different responses to their own insulin and the carbs they eat.

Why should our receptors be different? It goes back to when we’re in the womb. The fetus picks up the mother’s stress and fear hormones, which go into circulation and then into the placenta for the child and into the child’s brain and limbic system. All kinds of epigenetic factors can be at play here: financial insecurity, an unstable home, an abusive partner, and more. They don’t change the child’s DNA, but they do have the effect of turning on some glucocorticoid receptors and turning off others.

This, in turn, causes changes in the amygdala, an area of the brain involved with both fear and pleasure, as well as addictions. It’s what one psychologist calls “our brain’s emotional fireworks center.” It will be bigger and more excitable, so even some neutral-seeming situations may be perceived as threatening. The end result is an anxiety disorder, which can be passed on to the next generation and the next, up to 6 times.

Why is this problematic?

A person’s response to stress determines the effect of that stress on their health. If you’re stressed 24/7, then you are getting less oxygen to the hippocampus. This area of the brain creates emotional context and memory of new information, such as recent events. With less oxygen, you become more excitable because it blocks the neural synapses. Your capacity for memory is lessened. The brain gets older faster.

Unsurprisingly, the hippocampus is the major anatomical structure that’s damaged in Alzheimer’s disease. It’s the most sensitive structure to excess cortisol because it has so many receptors and feedback loops. Cortisol crosses the blood-brain barrier. Norepinephrine and epinephrine have to work harder to reduce cortisol levels.

Other key players in your limbic system include the hypothalamus (a message receiver and transmitter relay station for short term memory), the prefrontal cortex (the center of thought and reason, open to change throughout your lifespan), and the orbital frontal cortex (the area of higher mental functions, dealing with perception, movement, and behavioral responses).

Latent chronic infections – “cavitations” – in the wisdom tooth sites have a negative effect on the subtle energy that flows through the body (Prana, Ch’i, Orgone) along the acupuncture meridians of the autonomic nervous system, as well as the heart and small intestine meridians.

The effects on the limbic system affect decision-making, as well.

How Oral Foci Can Affect Decision-Making

Dentists need to understand why their chronically ill patients are rashly deciding that having their root canal teeth removed is the solution to what ails them. How are anxieties and fear driving those decisions?

The true biological dentist, invested in their patient’s well-being, needs to help pump the brakes and take the patient’s foot off the accelerator. Removing the teeth before really understanding all the factors at play is like trying to remove a tire on a moving vehicle.

There are bodies of knowledge such a dentist should have at their command in order to properly diagnose the patient and help them understand that diagnosis so the patient can make an informed decision – one based on reason, not just emotion. An important one is the work of Dr. Jerry Bouquot, whose textbook Oral Pathology is standard reading in most dental schools here in the US. He has taught that both root canal teeth and cavitations are always infected and most often toxic, as well.

stack of booksOther textbooks are crucial, too, such as those on acupuncture in neurological conditions, which combine evidence-based clinical reasoning with aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These provide clinical reasoning from both TCM and Western medical perspectives, illustrated by real cases from clinical practice, forming a sound platform for true integrated medicine.

Any well-trained biological dentist or physician should also be deeply familiar with the work of 19th and 20th century researchers such as Enderlein, Reckeweg, Pischinger, Vincent, Kramer, and Voll. These microbiologists, histopathologists, acupuncturists, neural therapists, and quantum theorists together clarify the physiological basis for biological medicine.

With this extensive background, a biological dentist should know that at the third molar (wisdom tooth) sites, there’s a crossing of four acupuncture meridians: heart, small intestines, the two branches of the autonomic nervous system, sympathetic and parasympathetic.

When there’s a focus on a third molar extraction site – a cavitation, for instance – the individual’s dopamine reward system is considerably affected. A disease-free third molar site would encourage the brain to generate dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. This happens in a couple regions of the midbrain: the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area. The substantia nigra is also one of the main brain structures that affects movement. When that area becomes degraded, you get symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as tremors and rigidity.

When that area is infected, however, that dopamine flow is disrupted. Mood/emotional problems can result – and affect the decision-making process. Decisions can come from a purely emotional place rather than one of combined emotion and reason.

It’s thus imperative to know if there are cavitational lesions remaining in the third molar extraction sites – or any other oral pathologies that may be interfering with the patient’s ability to make wise choices.

Helping Patients in the Decision-Making Process

One of the biggest problems I have with Root Cause is how it seems to encourage the jumping to inappropriate conclusions. A dozen dental and medical experts are interviewed, seeming to suggest that removing root canal teeth will surely alleviate long-standing symptoms. The film states that 75 to 80% of illnesses can be traced to root canal and jawbone infections, implying that simply addressing those “root causes” is enough to restore health.

It is not.

While Dr. Voll indeed taught that up to 90% of all illness may be linked to conditions in the mouth (not just root canals and cavitations), that doesn’t mean that oral conditions are the sole (or even the main) cause of the systemic illness. You have to look at the big picture.

This is why the film’s oversimplification concerns us. For one, you never want to plunge into dental or medical procedures of any kind without proper evaluation. In this case, are the root canal teeth the primary trouble? What other toxic burdens – dental and otherwise – is the individual carrying? How do the dental procedures fit into the patient’s whole health history?

Most importantly: What is the condition of the individual’s basic regulative system? What is the state of their biological terrain?

Above all, that will determine whether or how root canal teeth become a health burden.

If you simply extract root canal teeth (or address other oral foci) without first addressing the terrain, the procedure may not be all that helpful in the long run. First, you need to create an internal environment that supports detoxification and healing.

Vitruvian manThis is ultimately what I strive to teach new patients when they come in, worried about root canals, cavitations, or other oral foci such as mercury amalgam fillings. At the same time, I want to understand where they’re coming from – and why – so I can help them see that big picture and how a terrain-based approach to healing is the only way they can achieve the positive and lasting goals they have in mind.

Success of any oral surgery depends on first creating the proper conditions for a healthy, uneventful healing response. It is critical that the extracellular matrix (biological terrain), ground system regulation, and all immune functions have been optimized before surgery is pursued.

Ultimately, however, it’s each patient’s decision to make – whether to embrace a truly comprehensive approach to their health and well-being or find a dentist who will do what they want, no questions asked.

“Simply put,” writes dentist Paul Henny, “when patients need to make decisions regarding deeply personal and complex problems, they also need proper leadership to make those better choices.”

I try to develop patients toward better decision-making based on goal-oriented, collaboratively created, and desired outcomes. And due to the deeply personal and high-stakes nature of these decisions, a non-manipulative developmental leadership style is required, otherwise it will too often render out buyer’s-remorse and other negative sequela, such as denial, lack of problem ownership, and blame-shifting. Consequently, this type of leadership must be values-driven…and not driven by our values but theirs.

The post When It Comes to Your Health, Are You Deciding – or Letting a Movie Decide for You?: Some Thoughts on Health Choices After Seeing <em>Root Cause</em> appeared first on Gary M. Verigin, DDS, inc..

Originally from Gary M. Verigin, DDS, inc.