Biological dentistry focuses on correcting all types of problems in the mouth. Recently, biological dentistry has become popular and many people are replacing amalgam (mercury) fillings with non-toxic materials. Using non-toxic replacement materials is a part of biological dentistry, but that is only part of the practice.
Mercury has been recognized as a poison since the 1500's. Dental amalgam fillings, also known as silver fillings, may contain up to 50% mercury. This combination of materials has been used in dentistry since the 1820's. It is used because it is relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and because many people believe that it is not toxic.
Although the amalgam issue is most widely discussed in alternative medicine, there are many other dental problems that are thought to cause disease and imbalances in the body. These include: chronic infections of the jaw and gums, toxicity from root canals, toxicity from other dental materials, electric currents generated from mixed metal dental materials, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) from poor teeth and jaw alignment.
Some of the treatments used include neural therapy, oral acupuncture, cold laser therapy, homeopathy, mouth balancing, and nutrition. A biological dentist looks at the entire picture of dental health. The goal of dental work from a biological dentist is a mouth free of toxic materials, free from infection, and optimized for chewing food.
The current positions of the American Dental Association and the National Institutes of Health are that there is no scientific evidence that supports the theory that mercury is detrimental to a patient's health. However, the Environmental Protection Agency declared scrap dental amalgam as a hazardous waste in 1988. Researchers have found a clear relationship between the number of amalgam fillings and the mercury levels in the brain, kidneys, and heart.
Germany banned the use of amalgam fillings in 1992. The Swedish government pays 50% of the cost for amalgam removal because a special commission determined it to be toxic. Between 2000 and 3000 dentists in the United States are asking for a ban on mercury dental amalgam fillings.
Health problems that are thought to be improved with biological dentistry include: chronic fatigue, arthritis, fibromyalgia, numbness, allergies, anxiety, depression, and intestinal problems. Headaches, insomnia, poor concentration, low energy, memory loss, poor immune function, TMJ dysfunction, nervous system disorders (including MS), and tinnitus may also be helped with biological dentistry.
There are no specific certifications for biological dentists. Any dentist can offer the biological treatments. To locate a biological dentist in your area, contact one of the organizations listed below. For dental amalgam removal and replacement procedures, be sure to ask what precautions the dentist uses to reduce your mercury exposure during the procedure.
1. Burton Goldberg Group: Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide. Future Medicine Publishing, Puyallup, WA; 1994.
2. Sifton DW: The PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines and Healing Therapies. Three Rivers Press, NY, NY; 1999.