By Gary M. Verigin, DDS, CTN
Our blog is a companion to our newsletter, offering health news, recommended articles and websites, video and more. Its title plays on the ancient Greek aphorism gnothi seauton: know thyself.
We believe that knowing thy self and thy health are both crucial to wellbeing. For as our practice philosophy states:
Knowledge is not only power. It is empowering.
The more that people understand their bodies and the mechanisms that cause injury and illness, the more committed they become to pursuing and embracing optimum health.
We thus devote ourselves to educating you about your body, how it works and how to heal it. We provide the best care and treatment possible in helping you heal.
We believe in working with you as a partner, each of us learning from the other on a mutual journey toward optimum health.
We are committed to helping you learn how to take the best care of yourself.
The nature of our online communications draws an incredible number of visitors. Over the past few years, more than 8 of every 10 new clients find us first through our online outreach.
One of those people was Joyce, a 58 year old woman who contacted us for a new client appointment. When filling out our intake forms, she described her main complaints:
I have constant head pain, neck and shoulder pain. I have tried chiropractic, acupuncture, myofascial release, massage. These treatments help temporarily but symptoms come back after a few days. I feel that some of my neck problems could be my jaw or the mercury fillings as I feel tension in the back of my mouth constantly. Sometimes I have difficulties talking for no apparent reason.
Further, on the Mercury/Toxic Metal Sensitivity Questionnaire, she responded “yes” to 22 of 28 symptoms of mercury poisoning. This made it highly likely that her clinical symptoms may have been due in part to the presence of mercury amalgam fillings: 19 surfaces in 9 teeth. Her periodontal tissues were immaculate, as her oral hygiene efforts were exemplary.
On the Kinnie-Funt (K-F) Complaint Visual Index – a questionnaire regarding the client’s head, neck and face pain – Joyce listed two major complaints: neck/shoulder pain and migraine headaches. Pain experiences ran the gamut of severity from 2 to 10 on a 1 to 10 scale (1 = least painful, 10 = most painful) on 34 different questions.
Prior to clinical examination, Joyce said that she had undergone orthodontic treatment when she was 35 to relieve her TMJ problems. All four wisdom teeth and her upper bicuspids were removed before starting this therapy. She rated the therapy as successful, as the TM joint pain no longer caused discomfort. She then used retainers for 10 to 14 years but stopped when they broke. She later got a second set, but they caused the joint pain to recur. It only stopped when retainer usage stopped.
Clinical examination revealed some very noticeable TMJ issues. Though her dental clinical vertical dimension was clinically satisfactroy, revealing a 2 mm. vertical overbite demonstrated a clicking sound in the closing position on both sides at full closure. She could only open her lower jaw 33 mm. Digital palpation of the intraoral muscles such as the masseter revealed pain in both the internal and external pterygoids from 2 to 8 on the 1 to 10 scale.
Anatomical sketches. The masseter is shown in the center of the top image; the pterygoids, in the lower.
After reading both the offline and online information we gave her on TMJ issues, and having had a consultation about her complaints and requests, she opted not to have us further explore the TM joint issues. She said that she would be working with a variety of full body therapists in whom she had a lot of confidence. Her main request was to have all her amalgam fillings replaced.
Before anything else, Joyce had a Clifford blood serum test done for dental material sensitivities to determine which restorative materials would be best suited for her treatment plan. She also had an energetic evaluation. Only after these preparatory measures did we carefully remove the mercury, one quadrant at a time, with optimum precautions taken by the standards of the IAOMT protocol for safe mercury removal (PDF).
Full arch impressions were taken of each dental arch, as was a face bow transfer so the working models could be properly oriented on a semi-adjustable articulator to enhance her occlusion. Her chosen restorations consisted of one inVizion (YZ) full crown and 8 inLab Mark II inlay/onlay combinations.
Once her restorations were all in place, new full arch dental impressions were taken and the working models, mounted on an articulator. Using energetic testing, we found the optimum position for her jaw and had a lower removable thermoplastic splint made to achieve that positioning. On October 3, 2007, her splint was delivered and adjusted.
About six months later, on April 10 of this year, we received a letter from Joyce:
Dear Dr. Verigin,
This is a very overdue letter to thank you for your expertise in the safe removal of my mercury fillings.
When I walked into your office on June 12, 2007, I was just diagnosed with uterine cancer. Instead of having my uterus removed, I decided to have my mercury fillings replaced with a more compatible material as I felt that this could possibly be part of my health issues. Plus I had a severe shoulder & neck pain from an injury at work.
It has been nearly a year now since I had my fillings changed. My mouth has never felt better & I don’t feel the constant draining from the mercury that I had prior to the change. My body is able to maintain its pH balance and my health condition is improving. I still am detoxifying the heavy metals from my body. My range of motion in my shoulder has improved. I am also able to open my mouth wider which would have been a big help while I was having my dental work done.
I thank you for being patient with me. The removal of my mercury fillings was not an easy task for you and your staff.
(Used by permission)
In the top image, some of Joyce’s original mercury amalgam fillings; in the lower, the final restorations.
Our practice’s mission is to devote ourselves to educating clients about their body, how it works and how to heal it – then provide the best care and treatment possible in helping them heal. We do not throw out all the best elements of conventional school dentistry we were taught with the rest of the “bathwater.” What we do is enhance that training with the vast array of educational materials at our disposal in all disciplines of medicine and natural healing, both in this country and internationally. One nation does not control all the wisdom there is in our decision-making. We also carefully listen to our clients, their viewpoints, ideas and philosophies.
We strongly acknowledge and fully appreciate that oral health, symptoms, illnesses and disease are inseparable from total-person wellness.
In the above case history, the treatment plan was carefully crafted by Joyce. Though in consultation with us, of course, she was the main player. It was her body, mind and soul that eventually gave us permission to proceed as she had chosen.
The sequencing of her dental work may have been radically different in another person who was provided the same opportunity to learn not just from us but all available materials. Another person might have chosen splint therapy first, followed by orthodontics/orthopedics, then amalgam removal. After that, they would work with their physicians to chelate the heavy metals and lessen the oxidative stress burden on the body. Later, they might investigate the presences of hidden infections in the bone. If found, they might choose to have the lesions sanitized through corrective surgery and integrative medical therapies. And another person might choose yet a different path.
The development of a comprehensive treatment plan in the beginning is crucial. Having the client be in charge allows him or her to be treated as an individual, as well as tremendous cooperation in an atmosphere of trust whereby the client is being treated as a whole towards the goal of retoring their health to the level that they have chosen in a nonjudgmental environment.
From Biosis 21, May 2008; client name and case history used with permission
For more articles like this one, visit Dr. Verigin’s Biodental Library