Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS • Nutritional Periodontist
August 2, 2016
“Open wide!” That’s what dentists tell you when you are in the dental chair. For good reason. They need to see into your mouth.
I tell my dental colleagues also to “open wide!” But, I don’t mean their mouths; I mean their minds!
What Dentistry Requires Of Me
As a dentist, I need to take a specific number of continuing education hours to maintain my dental license in good standing. I take far more hours a year than I need for this requirement.
This past weekend I attended a 3-day professional program that reviewed new therapies in dentistry and current controversies. I learned some great information on the cutting-edge of knowledge going forward. Very exciting!
However, I expected some old myths of dentistry and questionable concepts would have been explored and debunked. Not so!
While four prestigious gurus in the medical and dental teaching world presided over this 3-day informative meeting, some existing notions were not disputed. For example, fluoride was presented as critical and required for dental health; prescription medications were described as the ultimate method to treat many oral diseases; and genetic predisposition was explained as the most important determinant of disease.
What I Believe
Needless to say, any acute manifestation of disease needs to be treated first to make the patient comfortable and prevent severe outcomes – just as you would need to remove a deep splinter from your finger before moving on. Thereafter, in my opinion, the emphasis should move to addressing the underlying causes – those affecting individual cells that lead to various chronic diseases. This essential concept was not part of the conference.
My immersion into functional medicine, primal nutrition, and primal lifestyle has preoccupied my mind. I need to remember there is a huge world of professionals out there who don’t share my knowledge first hand, who don’t understand how environment is related to the development of disease, and who don’t know what they don’t know. I am constantly reminded that dentistry has a long way to go before its enlightenment.
Let’s Move Forward
There is so much dental research being published regarding new technologies with exciting potential. All dentists need to keep current with these exciting developments. But, the basics of human function are foundational. Whatever happens on the cellular level affects the entire body. Dentists need to learn about evolutionary nutrition and lifestyle and how both relate to dental disease. Dentistry needs to open its mind.