Through recent years, it’s been wonderful to see more of the dental mainstream finally acknowledge that conditions in the mouth can have whole-body effects – a reality that was originally known as “focal infection theory.” Focal infection was a very big deal in the early 20th century. Much was published about it, especially about the impact of lingering infection in root canal teeth.
Yet by the 1940s, focal infection theory was denounced by the dental establishment. Too many dentists had been yanking out root canal teeth, often with no benefit to their patients’ overall health.
The problem wasn’t with the theory, though. The problem was the lack of healing support for the body. Dentists were removing potential sources of toxicity, but no consideration was given to the toxins still harbored in the body.
While conventional dentists today are much more aware of how oral health problems can have systemic effects, it’s limited mainly to the link between gum disease and other inflammatory conditions, from diabetes to heart disease, cancer to cognitive decline. Other sources of toxicity – “silver” mercury amalgam fillings, for instance, or cavitations (areas of dead and decaying tissue below healthy-looking gums – remain largely overlooked.
The Kind & Level of Toxicity Drives Detox Options
When a patient comes in for an initial exam and consultation, we take an extensive medical history along with a dental one. We want to see where the two may intersect. Does the patient have mercury fillings? Root canal teeth? Cavitations? Titanium implants or other metal dental work? Do they have a history of medical symptoms known to be associated with these issues or health complaints that physicians haven’t been able to fully resolve?
We also consider nutrition, sleep, exercise, substance use, and other lifestyle factors that affect both oral and whole body health. We explore any potential environmental exposures that may be contributing to the patient’s total toxic burden.
All of this information, along with imaging and clinical exam findings, helps our doctors fully understand how your mouth may be affecting your overall health, and develop a customized treatment plan for you. In the case of oral toxicities, that treatment plan will necessarily include detox protocols.
Again, it’s not enough just to remove any sources of toxicity. Oral toxins aren’t confined to the mouth. They can be inhaled, like the mercury vapor that’s released from amalgam fillings with every bite and swallow. They can enter the bloodstream through small lesions in the gum tissue, such as those caused by brushing or flossing too hard; likewise, through the tooth roots, which remain connected to the circulatory system even after all its living tissue – the pulp – is removed during a root canal procedure.
Because of this, it’s imperative to determine the level of infection or toxicity. Our doctors can then determine the specific detox protocols needed to support your systemic healing.
When a person isn’t dealing with any major systemic health issues, supervised detox isn’t usually needed. We provide the necessary supplements, remedies, and detailed instructions for taking them.
But when a person is dealing with serious health challenges, supervised detox is a must.
In fact, in such cases, we work closely with integrative or naturopathic doctors from the outset, as we also need to determine whether the individual can successfully undergo the dental treatment without experiencing further harm. If not, the first focus becomes getting them healthy enough to be treated and to detox successfully afterwards. (Dr. G himself is a certified naturopathic doctor as well as a dentist.)
Preparing the body to detox – prior to dental treatment – is something we offer to all of our patients, of course, and generally recommend for best results, along with particular IV therapies to promote and enhance your healing.
It’s yet another way we show our mutual investment in your total health and well-being.