Dentistry’s Bigger Picture
Jul 30, 2020 09:00AM
By Linda Sechrist
Reading through a list of titles for today’s TV shows and watching movie trailers, it obvious that viewers love watching professionals solve crimes with forensic science that analyzes physical evidence piece by piece. While ‘forensic scientist’ is a broad term reserved for crime scene investigators, it might be applicable to holistic and integrative dentists, who know how to collect clues and fit together the pieces of a patient’s health puzzle, starting with the mouth. From their holistic perspective, dentistry is a whole-body, whole person experience.
In the hands of skilled holistically-oriented dentists such as Chris Edwards DDS ND, of the Smile Design & Wellness Center in Rockledge, or Claire Stagg, DDS MS FAACP, owner of Health Connections Dentistry in Indian Harbour Beach, patients feel confident knowing that beyond dental school and many years of hands-on practice, much time and money has been invested in continued education. Their form of non-toxic dentistry integrating mind, body and mouth requires that they stay abreast of the latest research.
Smile Design & Wellness Center
“The general public is somewhat aware of the connection between mouth and body, especially that an unhealthy mouth presents a greater risk of heart attack and stroke. Many can’t relate it to themselves, as there is no pain. Trouble starts with the silent killer – inflammation,” says Edwards, a biological dentist also known as Dr. Xylitol. Inflammation under the gum leads to “leaky gum” which allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
After 42 years of practice, Edwards is still passionate about dentistry, particularly the subject of the microbiome, a collection of trillions of microbes living on and in the body. “Streptococcus mutans, an acid producing bacteria in the oral cavity, causes tooth decay. Xylitol is my number one game changer because it changes the ecology of the mouth rendering streptococcus mutans unable to replicate well, secrete acid, and dissolve tooth enamel,” advises Edwards. “A favorable pH, good diet and hygiene can reverse the beginning breakdown of the enamel. Patients are fascinated to look at their Live Plaque Analysis on a Darkfield Microscope, when they see the activity of their own bacteria swimming through their saliva.”
For precision, Edwards works with a surgical microscope and a high definition monitor situated above the patient. “It’s all about illumination and magnification. When performing an extraction, any pathology is perceptible all the way to the bone. This allows me to be certain that my laser clears away all infected tissues,” he says.
During examinations, Edwards educates patients with a video tour of the mouth. He slips a periodontal probe under the gum. If the gum bleeds, he points out that this is inflammation and explains that the gum is the first protective barrier against inflammation in the body. He helps patients get to the root cause of their conditions and disease. “I have a lot of other technology, such as ozone, air abrasion, Platelet-rich Fibrin (PRF) and Cerec to better serve patients,” he remarks.
Health Connections Dentistry by The Smile Professionals
When considering parenthood, it’s doubtful that anyone thinks far into the future to imagine a child’s long-term health problems that might result from decisions made about their teeth even before they appear. Stagg and one of her early mentors, Dr. Darick Nordstrom, creator of the Advanced Light Force (ALF) appliance concept and founder of the ALF InterFACE Academy, do understand the impact. “Darick is the genius who developed the functional dental appliances that I also use. His intention and mine is to improve a patient’s overall health, beauty and functions such as smiling, eating and breathing for a higher quality of life. The ALF designs simulate forces to the jaws and head that nature intended, and deals with the root causes of TMJ, sleep apnea and other sleep related breathing disorders. One of the reasons that holistic oriented dentists, such as myself, can see the need for early craniofacial intervention is because we see patients, from childhood to adulthood, and know from our hours of continued education courses how everything is connected,” advises Stagg.
“Without the development of proper nasal breathing, swallowing and balanced cranial function, teeth will crowd and faces as well as necks and bodies may grow crooked. Once you know this you can’t go back. The journey becomes one of figuring out the best options for the patient rather than applying cookie cutter solutions,” explains Stagg, who notes that patients frequently have the potency of their prescriptions reduced and the pressure on their CPAP machines changed after she orally treats the root cause of their health challenges.
Stagg’s patients have the convenience of an onsite Complex Motion Cranial Tomographic (CMCT) Imaging unit that allows practical, positional and highly diagnostic 2D radiographic images of jaw joints and head, as well as a Cone Beam Computed Tomography unit for 3-D imaging to see and measure how closed a patient’s airway volume is, and what type of treatments and appliance therapies are best suited to allow proper air intake.
Stagg has written a book detailing her professional journey as well as how oral health connects to overall health in language that lay people can understand. “When the public has a better understanding of the benefits of this kind of dentistry, there will be more demand for it.”
Health Connections Dentistry by The Smile Professionals is located at 2120 Highway A1A, in Indian Harbour Beach. To make an appointment or ask for more information, call 321-777-2797. Visit SmileProfessionals.com.
Smile Design & Wellness Center is located at 5445 Village Dr. Ste.100, in Rockledge. To make an appointment or inquire about more information, call 321-751-7775. Visit SmileDesignCenter.us.
Hear more from Dr. Claire Stagg about airway development and how it impacts snoring, sleep apnea and much more in our Video Interview. Hear from Dr. Chris Edwards and the dentists at Smile Design & Wellness Center about how technology can assist the healing process and learn how dental oncology can support those undergoing cancer treatments in this Video Interview.