De-Mystifying Holistic Dentistry
Mar 27, 2016 12:24AM
● By Peggy Malecki
Andie Pearson, DDS, is the owner of Gaiamed Dental Spa, in Wilmette. Her approach to holistic dental care has evolved over time, and what started with safe mercury removal, a focus on healthy material replacement and non-surgical gum therapy in a relaxed safe place has evolved into her belief that there is more to holistic care than simply removing fillings and using eco-friendly supplies and soft lighting.
What are some common misconceptions of what holistic dentists do?
That we just take out mercury fillings, with no consideration for cosmetic options or superior dental materials. Yes, as a holistic dentist we place a special focus on metal/toxic substance exposure and reduction of the exposure to both patient and staff, along with biocompatibility issues and nutrition—but we also create beautiful smiles. In orthodontic procedures, we straighten the teeth, but with conservative, non-extraction techniques and non-enamel reduction techniques.
How does your approach to cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics, including whitening and straightening teeth, differ from a conventional dentist?
There are several approaches to straightening the teeth. It really depends on the degree of crooked teeth and crooked body (or asymmetry). The patient’s age is also very important. I combine the use of removable oral devices along with CranioSacral Therapy for most of the orthodontic treatment. This helps us address the body’s influence on the mouth and teeth and some of the compressive forces and rotations in the head. Once the major aspects of asymmetry and lack of mouth space have been addressed, the patient will need only a few months, if any, in traditional braces. There is also the option after the removable appliance phase for some patients to finish their treatment using clear tooth trays if their dental needs qualify them for that route. In much younger patients, earlier intervention with an appliance worn during sleep and one to two hours during the day means the need for braces could be complete eliminated.
My approach to cosmetic work is the same as most cosmetic dentists, with the exception of my additional detailed attention to biocompatibility of materials. I love making those movie-star smiles and knowing that they are completely safe. The tooth whitening process is completely safe for the patient and teeth, it just has to be done within reason. You can over-whiten your teeth, risk tooth/gum damage and disrupt the natural oral bacteria.
In your opinion, why should a person go to a holistic dentist?
If you want to get not only great medical/dental care, but you want it done in an environmentally safe, biocompatible way, you would want to choose someone who has done further and ongoing training in that area. Some people are very sick and have no choice but to seek alternative practitioners. There are also many people who live a very safe, clean, conscious life and choose to also receive medical/dental care that matches their lifestyle.
How does mercury replacement work?
There is a detailed mercury removal protocol that requires a specific drilling technique, along with adequate isolation and evacuation of not only the mercury, but also the other metals in the amalgam filling. The replacement filling should be not only a highly biocompatible material, but also one with longevity and that can withstand the chewing forces and acid environment in the mouth.
How does mercury or other metals in our teeth affect our health?
You need to weigh the danger. If the older amalgams are less dense and are actively leaking, the danger of keeping them in the tooth outweighs the danger of exposure during removal. When they are exposed and leaking, there is an issue with not only what is leaking out, but what is leaking into the filling—like food, liquids and saliva. Decay increases and the result is that a greater amount of the tooth is lost and could possibly lead to nerve damage. The further breakdown of the tooth and filling leads to even more of the metal leakage.
As a holistic dentist, how does your filling removal and replacement process differ from that of a conventional dentist?
A traditional DDS will have a heavy focus on technique, tooth preservation, design and architecture of the mouth and balancing the bite. These are all very necessary and essential. In addition to that, I will also be concerned with not only the patient’s exposure to gases released in the removal process, but also my own and my staff’s exposure. There is also a deeper focus on the materials used in respect to biocompatibility.
What are the top three things you do to help people move holistically from disease to health?
I empower them with the skills and knowledge of how to repair, improve and maintain great dental health. I help them reach the state of loving their dental health, being proud of it and never allowing it to go back to the stage of disease. And if the dental health issue is a spinoff of issues in their medical health, I network and combine efforts with their medical caregivers.
Gaiamed Dental Spa is located at 929 Ridge Rd., in Wilmette. For more information, call 847-977-1655 or visit HolisticDentalChicago.com.