An evaluation of the methodology, and philosophy used in biological (holistic) dentistry
Fallago, Christopher A.
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This paper aims to evaluate the major alternative methods and practices recommended by biological dentists. The evaluation is based upon the most current research available. This paper will also evaluate the quality and quantity ofresearch or procedures that the claims are based upon. Biological dentistry, also known as holistic dentistry, as defined by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) is an alternative approach to dentistry that promotes the use of biocompatible dental materials and a whole body approach to oral health. Three specific topics will be addressed. The first, and perhaps the most widely recognized, is the controversy surrounding dental amalgam, with the IAOMT declaring amalgam as toxic and calling for removal of asymptomatic fillings and banning its use as a dental material. The second is the IAOMT's stance on water fluoridation. The IAOMT believes that water fluoridation is dangerous and the only acceptable level of fluoride in drinking water is zero. The last topic is the alternative methodology used in endodontic treatment. The IAOMT claims that mercury release from dental amalgam is associated with dysfunction ofthe immune system, multiple sclerosis, kidney ailments, chronic fatigue syndrome Alzheimer's disease and a myriad ofother health issues. This is their reasoning for recommending the removal of asymptomatic amalgam fillings, a procedure they claim a regular dentist is not properly trained for. While it is true that mercury vapor is continually released from dental amalgam, the absorbed concentration is well below any threshold toxic value. Clinical trials, and peer reviewed scientific studies demonstrate that dental amalgam is not associated with many of the adverse health effects as stated by the IAOMT. The only established risk is a rare delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction in individuals with metal allergies. Much of the early published research attempting to determine daily-absorbed dose from oral air concentrations of mercury vapor is flawed. This has resulted in erroneous and inflated estimates of daily mercury dosages as high as 29 µg per day. It is the erroneous research, much of which was also funded by the IAOMT that is used to support the IAOMT's stance. Newer estimates, confirmed by peer review, ofboth oral Hg air concentrations as well as urine Hg concentrations put the exposure estimate at a much lower range of 1-5 µg/day. Confusion also lies in the fact that the Reference Exposure Levels are based on a small sample exposed to an unknown mercury vapor concentration. [TRUNCATED]
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