5 Reasons to Switch to a Holistic Dentist
A Conversation with Dr. David Lerner of the Center for Holistic Dentistry
A visit to Dr. David Lerner, a holistic dentist in Yorktown Heights, may include acupuncture, kinesiology or even a heated neck pillow. But this kinder, gentler practice still offers all the standard dental procedures, and even the option of nitrous oxide for patients who are anxious or need a lot of work. Natural Awakenings recently caught up with Dr. Lerner to learn about the advantages of visiting a holistic dentist. Here are his top five.
I often have patients tell me they already see other holistic practitioners, and they sought us out because they also wanted to work with a dentist whose belief system is based on natural healing principles. Adding a holistic dentist to your wellness team allows collaboration between all your other integrative health providers. They speak the same language and can work together on your case to treat you the way you want to be treated. If you’ve ever had to explain to your primary care doctor what a thermagram is, you’ll understand the value of using an allholistic, integrative healthcare team.
It’s important to work with a dentist who’s properly trained to safely remove mercury. At our office, patients are protected so they don’t absorb any mercury as the fillings are being removed. We put a rubber dam over the teeth so they won’t swallow mercury; we put a mask over their nose so they won’t breathe mercury vapor; we cover their bodies so they won’t absorb mercury through their skin. We even use a special vacuum in front of their mouth to suction away the air as we’re cleaning out the fillings. My office staff and I wear protective gear as well. We’re serious about this. We know mercury is really bad for everybody who’s exposed to it.
Patients should be concerned about the materials that are being used instead of mercury amalgams. Most mercury fillings get replaced with bonded ceramic or composite filling materials. These historically contained a plastic compound known as BPA. Then it became known that BPA is an estrogen mimicker, which is why we now have concerns about the type of plastic used in water bottles.
What happened in dentistry is that a lot of the manufacturers of these filling materials just reengineered the BPA molecule so they could call it something else. So when we test people with kinesiology to see if they are sensitive, many still react to those materials as if the BPA were still mimicking estrogen. Now there are some newer materials with totally different chemical formulations.
Holistic dentists screen their patients for sensitivity to any materials before they’re used—whether they’re for fillings, crowns, implants or dentures. All these categories of dental restorations could involve materials that trigger an immune system response or are toxic to the body.
There is a growing controversy about the limitations of root canals, and whether they actually eliminate all infection of the tooth. Often they don’t, and the tooth then can then become the source of a problem. One of our mentors, Dr. Thomas Rau from Switzerland, says that 80 percent of his patients with breast cancer have a toxic root canal-treated tooth on the acupuncture meridians related to the breast. When patients at his clinic are dealing with autoimmune conditions or serious conditions like cancer, he and his staff strongly advise not only that any mercury be removed from their mouth, but that any root canal-treated teeth be evaluated as well. So an important aspect of holistic dentistry is how we deal with a tooth that’s become infected or that’s had a root canal already.
Imbalances of the bite will affect the whole musculoskeletal system, and the balance of the craniosacral system, through the acupuncture pathways. Evolving methods for evaluating and treating this have always relied heavily on applied kinesiology, like muscle reflex testing. We’re also relying more and more on using computer measurements to look for imbalances within the bite—forces on the teeth as well as muscular imbalances within the jaw that can cause reflexive imbalances elsewhere in the body.
A common occurrence is people having a bite issue after having a dental restoration done, whether it’s a filling or a crown. The bite might be too heavy on the tooth that was repaired, or it might be too low, leaving the other teeth to bear more of a load than they are able to tolerate. Either way, the teeth become sensitive.
Bite imbalances are also a major contributor to muscle tension, which is the most common cause of headache. Even with migraines, we often see that structural problems in the balance of the bite will have an influence.
The Center for Holistic Dentistry is located at 1 Taconic Corporate Park, 2649 Strang Blvd., Ste. 201, Yorktown Heights, NY. For more info, call the office at 914.214.9678 or visit HolisticDentist.com.