“Biodentistry” broadly aims to minimize the introduction of strong chemicals to the mouth, to avoid unnecessary uses of interventions such as antibiotics, and to consider approaches to dentistry broadly, as when looking at diet and nutrition as aspects of dental practice. Biodentistry also looks carefully at the effects of dental treatments on the immune system, as an indication of impacts on overall health.
Where does biodentistry fit in the spectrum of dental practice?
In some regards biodentistry draws on ideas of holistic dentistry, which views dental work connected to the operation of other parts of the body. Dentistry does not relate just to the teeth, gums, and jaw, but to the overall heath of the person.
This makes sense, as conditions in the mouth naturally affect the rest of the body. While dentists look at the mouth specifically, and doctors look at the body as a whole, clearly the parts of one’s body are interconnected. Biodentistry, focusing on the interactions of chemicals, antibiotics, nutrition, and the body as a whole, meshes with holistic dental practice.
Mercury amalgam fillings
One usual concern in biodentistry are chronic health effects from the release of toxic metals through prostheses, and mercury amalgam fillings. Health Canada is equivocal about the use of amalgam fillings, offering considerations for alternative approaches while suggesting that the risks are generally small. The FDA in the United States holds a similar position.
In contrast, biodentistry is more conservative on this topic, suggesting avoidance and cautious removal of amalgams. Biodentistry considers the accumulative and long term effects of exposure to mercury that is released from dental amalgams.
Biodentisty also looks at the biocompatibility of other dental fixtures such as crowns, veneers, dentures, implants, and so forth.
Antibiotics are used prevent or treat infections and have an important role in dentistry. The fight against oral diseases is important in overall health. On the other hand, antibiotics can cause allergic reactions in some patients, and the over-use of antibiotics can lead to pathogens developing resistance to antibiotics, leading to their reduced effectiveness. As with so many biodentistry topics, restraint and appropriate use are primary considerations.
Anesthetics and pain relief
The dental practioner has an array of drugs available for prevention and relief of pain. Local anesthesia, general anesthesia, nitrous oxide, or intravenous sedation are all possibilities for pain prevention and the dentist or dental surgeon will need to exercise judgement about which is applicable to a given situation. When bearing biodentistry in mind, the preference is to choose the least interventionist anesthesia that will ensure adequate pain prevention.
Pain relief can include prescription or nonprescription anti-inflammatory drugs, acetaminophen (Tylenol), anesthetics and topical analgesics. As with pain prevention, biodentistry prefers minimal use of these drugs while still preventing serious pain.
Other drugs used in dentistry
Many other drugs find application in modern dentistry. They each have their efficacy and use, and can include such things as anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, drugs to control plaque and gingivitis, drugs used to treat periodontal disease, drugs used to prevent tooth decay, dry mouth drugs, antifungal drugs, and antiseptics. The decision to use them is a matter of discretion, need, and experience.
Chemicals used in dentistry
Dentistry also relies on numerous non-medical chemicals to meet its goals. Etching acids, bonding agents, and so on are parts of the process. Reducing their use is largely a matter of reducing the need for work that involves these chemicals. Consequently, preventative care and prophylactic approaches are important to assist in meeting the goals of biodentistry.
It sometimes happens that infections are not apparent in the mouth, as when they are hidden beneath a root canal or crown. Such infections can have detrimental inpacts on overall health, and biodentistry aims to minimize the toxicity that can result from infections.
Benefits of biodentistry
Ultimately biodentistry is focused on exercising judgement, and navigating compromises. It defaults to using minimal amounts of strong chemicals, antibiotics, medications, and anesthetics in dental work, and also operates with conscious consideration of the effects of introducing foreign substances into the mouth.
The benefits of biodentistry are those of restraint generally in medications: fewer side effects, fewer unintended drug interactions, reduced impacts in other parts of the body, and often reduced cost.