Your mouth, gums and teeth can affect your whole body in more ways than you can imagine. My exploration into this topic for my own purposes brought me to Dentistry for Health in New York City.
My dental history is long and painful. As a child my growth was stunted which left me proportionate but petite; I never quite made the five-foot club. This is all well and good, however my jaw became quickly overcrowded as my teeth came in. This lead to two oral surgeries with permanent teeth removed (I only have twenty-four now), years of braces and jaw expanders, and failed periodontal visits and surgeries.
I had recently gone to yet another new dentist that my insurance would cover and was told the pain I was having in my back molar wouldn’t go away without a root canal. I was quickly referred to an endodontist and that was that. Oh, and yet again I was told my gums were receded too far for my age. Whispers from the hall confirmed the confusion on why this was so. This situation was a very common occurrence for me and the reason for my anxiety in facing my dental problems.
After leaving my new dentist’s office to call the endodontist for my root canal I stopped and asked myself why I had never tried a holistic approach to dental care when I treat every other aspect of my heath holistically. I immediately went online to research holistic dentists on the East Coast. After a thorough search I ended up in the office of Dr. Reid L. Winick at Dentistry for Health in NYC. He sat with me and took the time to ask me what I thought was going on with my mouth. No one had ever asked me that. We then discussed for over an hour the details of my life that could be affecting my teeth: clenching at night, bacteria overgrowth, nutrition, family history and so much more. Now mind you, I was still in pain thinking I needed a root canal when Dr. Winick took one look and said, “Your tooth is fine, however you’re biting down harder on one side, creating inflammation and trauma”. He ground down the teeth in that area to create an immediate fix to my pain. Within twenty-four hours my pain was completely gone. No root canal needed.
I still had to treat and resolve the root issue of why my gums were receding so rapidly. This led me to Nicole Bott, one of the hygienists at the Dentistry for Health. She took another hour to hear my story and test my bacteria down to the exact strains so that she could target it using laser, ozone, etc. I then met with the periodontist, Dr. Jonathan Richter. He took the time to hear my whole story and connect all the dots. Finally I was in front of a doctor who didn’t make me feel like I was incurable and was completely optimistic about my recovery. I was positive that I had found the right path and was in good hands. Everything Dr. Richter said made sense to me and I felt empowered being able to understand my own situation.
Gum disease is more prevalent than you might think. It unfortunately goes undetected by many people until it has progressed to a more serious problem. Gum disease is linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and systemic inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases. The beauty of holistic care is that there is so much we can do on our own to support our oral health. Bacteria can be present from the inside out. This is why digestive health is so crucial to controlling which bacteria is present in the body and maintaining the balance of your micro biome. In addition, exercise, low sugar diets, and emotional health all play a part in preventing and treating gum disease.
If you’re not in the New York area and are looking for a qualified holistic dentist, make sure you do your research. “Holistic” can be thrown around a lot but there are some key things you should look for and ask:
1. What procedures are used for heavy metal removal and detoxification
2. Length of experience in the field as well as knowledge of current technologies
3. What the appointments entail (you want there to be a thorough exam time along with a lengthy consult)
4. Knowledge of bacteria testing and treatment (ozone and laser are great for treating specific bacteria present in the gums)
Most of all trust your gut on this - you will know when you feel cared for.