What Is Biological Dentistry?

Dentists throughout history have been concerned with the relief of pain and suffering. Treatment focused on the surgical removal of infected teeth and bones. Looking back at Egyptian mummies, there is the occasional extraordinary attempt at replacing missing teeth with different devices. Until the introduction of antibiotics, the consequences of dental infection were frequently death, or if one survived- disfigurement. There have often been, throughout the centuries, fairly primitive attempts at restoring function, George Washington’s wooden teeth notwithstanding.

Starting in the mid 1800’s, surgery began to develop techniques that would not infect the individual more - asepsis and later sterilization. With the introduction of anesthetics such as ether and laughing gas that would reduce the trauma of the dental surgical procedures, dental surgeons could allow themselves the luxury of thinking about restoring the individual to function. As survival successes increased, the science of dentistry began to leap forward, particularly in the mid 1950’s with the introduction of the high speed dental drill. Suddenly, the dentist was in a position to manage the different diseases of the oral cavity and replace missing parts of the teeth and the mouth with a dizzying array of materials that would become increasingly functional as well as esthetic. Thus was born the age of cosmetic dentistry.

In the attempt to restore function, very few dentists gave any thought to biocompatibility, in other words, does the material that is being used to restore function have any negative interaction with the whole body and with enough time will an individual develop reactions to these materials. Moreover, it is possible that different materials placed in the same mouth may have their own set of electrochemical interactions. The most obvious example is mercury amalgam causing toxicity, but it is far from the only material that may be harmful to the individual. Modern dentistry uses thousands of materials.

The biological dentist is concerned with the consequences of the use of these materials, and working together with environmental medicine physicians, will remove known toxins from the mouth. The biological dentist seeks to utilize only those materials that are known to be biocompatible, often recommending testing to determine an individual’s sensitivities. In this manner, we hope to achieve true restoration not only of form but of function in a manner that is promoting health and vitality.