Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Applying a biological concept to the practice of dentistry

Applying a biological concept to the practice of dentistry began in the late 1800s, when the National Dental Association recognized the harmful effects of mercury (amalgam) fillings, and mandated that members of the association not use these on their patients. As of 1997, this warning has been recognized and acted upon by several foreign countries that have either banned the use of mercury in fillings or are in the process of doing so. Supporters of holistic dentistry state that mercury in amalgam fillings causes ill effects when placed as an implant in the body.

Further beginnings of holistic dentistry are linked to a 1925 article by the dentist Weston A. Price (1870-1948). A former director of research for the American Dental Association, Price claimed in an article for the Journal of the American Medical Association that such degenerative diseases as heart troubles, kidney and bladder disorders, arthritis, rheumatism, mental illness, lung problems, and several kinds of bacterial infections arise from root canal therapy, or endodontics. To come to this conclusion, Price conducted research that involved implanting teeth from the root canals of individuals with symptoms of severe heart problems and kidney disease under the skin of healthy rabbits.

These same conditions arose in the rabbits, and within three days they died. Price then implanted the same tooth in another rabbit and found a similar response, but he also found that implanting a normal extracted tooth did not affect the rabbits.

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