A Holistic Approach to Cosmetic Dentistry

cosmetic dentistry smileWhen you look at your smile in the mirror, do you find items that you wish you could change? Maybe your teeth can be whiter or your teeth are a little crooked. If you think that you have to go to a traditional dentist to get that million-dollar smile, think again. Our holistic dental office has the same tools as a traditional dental office but use materials and products  that are safer and more biocompatible for your health. These alternative techniques and products are just as effective in producing a winning and long lasting smile.

Holistic dentistry is a great way to take care of your oral health while being mindful and conscious about how it is intimately related to the health of the rest of your body.

What is Holistic Approach to Dentistry?

Holistic dentistry recognizes the connection between the patient’s overall health and his or her dental health.  When patients take care of their bodies through proper diet, exercise and healthy living, their oral health also benefits. Holistic dentists will not only instruct patients on proper dental care, but also on ways to live an overall healthy lifestyle. Patients are educated on whole body health beginning with the health of their mouth.

A characteristic of holistic dental offices is the absence of certain services, most notably fluoride treatments, mercury fillings and root canal therapy. These services often contain toxic substances that can  potentially do harm to  your body. Instead, holistic dentists use materials that are more  compatible with their patients’ bodies, ones that are BPA and fluoride free and using ozone therapy  adjunctively.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry provides necessary, sometimes, elective dental procedures to improve a patient’s smile. Common cosmetic procedures include teeth whitening, veneers, onlays, inlays, crowns, and bridges. Cosmetic dentistry procedures are best for patients who do not  have major dental issues requiring extensive, prolonged dental work, but simply want to maximize the beauty of their smile.

How does holistic dentistry tie into your teeth whitening, veneers, crowns or dental bridges?

Holistic Cosmetic Dentistry

Holistic dentistry begins with the philosophy that the patient’s oral health is an outpouring of how well they maintain their overall health. If you’re healthy and take an active approach to maintaining good health, it will show in your healthy mouth. When you receive cosmetic dental procedures from a holistic dentist, you can be sure that the materials, techniques and substances used to enhance your smile will support your efforts of maintaining good health. Holistic dentists only use what is safe for your body in their cosmetic dental procedures.

Stacy Godes, DDS is a full-service holistic dental practice specializing in cosmetic dentistry. If you take your smile and health seriously, schedule an appointment with us today. You’ll leave with the smile you’ve always wanted and be equipped to continue taking good care of your health.

The Mouth-Body Connection: Your Teeth & Your Health with Hay House Radio

A few days ago, I was honored to have been interviewed on the air by Heather Dane who has a talk show on holistic lifestyles and how we can better take care of our health naturally.

Heather has been treated in my office for mercury filling removals and I truly admire her passion for educating others about the benefits of holistic living.

You can listen to the broadcast here.

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The Mercury Controversy and Why It is Bad for Your Health

Our discussion on the show started with the controversy of the use of mercury fillings. Mercury fillings have been used since the 1800s. They served a purpose back then, but are dangerous to use now. Mercury is a neurotoxin, affecting your brain, organs and health. Mercury fillings are made of 50% mercury.

What most people don’t know is that the greatest danger of mercury is the vapor it releases. This vapor is highly dangerous when inhaled. The risk of mercury makes it removal tricky and dangerous. When you want your mercury fillings removed, be sure to find a dentist who is certified in the safe removal of mercury fillings and has a certain, safe set of protocols.  These protocols include the use of HEPA filters, mouth guards, cold water spray, rubber dams, essential oils and proper protective gear over clothing.

It is important that the mercury removal is safe for the patient as well as the rest of the office. This is where a good air filtration system comes in useful. When mercury fillings are removed, a large amount of vapor goes into the air. An unhealthy amount of mercury also gets released into the mouth.

The Danger of Fluoride

Next, our conversation went to discussing the use of fluoride in tap water. I caution my patients to avoid drinking tap water because of the fluoride that is in it. Fluoride was first used in the tap water in Grand Rapids, Michigan with the belief that the added fluoride would prevent tooth decay.

Since then, it has been found that fluoride is a cumulative toxin, with increasingly negative side effects when combined with other chemicals. In some instances, fluoride is worse for your body than arsenic.

It isn’t fluoride that prevents tooth decay, but one’s diet. Therefore, by drinking tap water, you’re consuming unnecessary and harmful chemicals. Instead of drinking tap water, some of the water filtration systems such as Berkey Filters, and MultiPure Under-Sink Reverse Osmosis and Carbon System. When filtering your water, you also take away healthy minerals, so it’s important to add extra minerals into your filtered water.

Fluoride is also a common ingredient in toothpaste. I don’t use any fluoride toothpaste in my dental office. I personally recommend Holistic Dental Herbal Gum & Tooth Powder, Dental Herb Company Tooth & Gums Paste, Jason Sea Fresh, and Perio-Paste. When looking for a toothpaste avoid ones that also have SLS, glycerin, artificial flavors, chemicals and coloring.

The Connection Between Oral and Overall Health

I brought up the Meridian chart that I talk about regularly and which I have in my dental office. The Meridian chart shows the connection of your oral health to the health of the rest of your body. Each tooth and area of the mouth is connected to specific organs of the body.

I also brought up the Chinese concept of Chi which describes different energy pathways that are in the body. It was found that 80% of chi (or energy) disturbances affecting the body occur in the oral cavity.

Realizing the interconnectedness of my patients’ oral health and overall health, I pay extra close attention to each patient’s condition and often catch dental issues that would otherwise go unnoticed at a conventional dental office. When patients go in for a teeth cleaning at a holistic dentist, they also get an in-depth examination.

The Difference of a Holistic Dentist

Heather Dane then picked up on the importance of caring for yourself and that only you you’re your body. Holistic dentists will work with you and will listen to what you say.

She elaborated her point by describing her own, personal experience at my office. She needed four mercury fillings removed. Instead of Novocain, I use septacane, lycodine and carbocane for pain reducers. She, however, had a bad reaction to septacain. We had her take a muscle test and decided that carbocane would be better. This worked because her body was overly sensitive to epinephrine.

It was summed up that holistic dentist care for the whole patient, every patient. Heather illustrated the point that each patient is different and should be treated as such.

If you want a dentist who is concerned about your dental and overall health, be sure to check into holistic dentistry. For any questions, you may have, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Reversing Tooth Decay: Can it be as Simple as Changing Your Diet?

Mouth checkupAs a holistic dentist, we always strive to find the best way to treat out patient’s dental health concerns, in the most efficient, and health conscious way possible. We like to focus on overall health, along with the health of your mouth.

Many people have the false idea that damage caused by tooth decay is irreversible because teeth can’t be healed, repaired and fully restored.

The truth is that in some instances, it is possible to reverse tooth decay damage and restore your teeth to their former glory. It is as simple as changing your diet. That’s it. No gimmicks or special formulas.

The Best Diet for Teeth

Chances are, you’ve heard that your diet impacts your overall health. Your oral health is no exception. A poor diet consisting of fats, carbs, and starches lead to cavities and other dental issues. A healthy, well-balanced diet is good for your physical health. It is also good for your dental health as well to a certain extent. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals that work wonders in building up your teeth. Vitamins A, C, D, E and K as well as calcium and magnesium are also vital to teeth and gum health.

Here’s where the healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grain and lean meats take a surprising turn. While starches are things to be avoided, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans and some fruits are also on the no-no list if you want to heal and restore your teeth. Why? They contain high amounts of phytic acid.

Say No to Phytic Acid

What is phytic acid? Phytic acid is a type of phosphorous molecule that is not easily digestible and it takes calcium out from the body.  Your teeth, like the rest of your bones, need calcium to be strong and to heal.

A diet low in the consumption of phytic acid is the best diet to restore your teeth and reverse tooth decay damage. This diet excludes the sugars, bad fats and starches of a healthy diet, but it also excludes: oatmeal, brown rice, tofu, corn, seeds, flour, wheat, bread, soy, beans, chickpeas and lentils. Fruits should be limited.

You may have noticed that no meat was on the list.

If you want to confidently walk into your next dental appointment follow the diet listed below:

  • Limit grains, beans and nuts.
  • Replace starchy fruits and vegetables, such as potatoes, with vegetables rich in minerals
  • Consume foods high healthy fats, such as lean meat.
  • Substitute coconut milk in place of soy, or almond milk. Pasteurized butter is okay.
  • Bone broth. Lots of bone broth.
  • Fermented cod liver oil, vitamins C and D, coconut oil, magnesium, gelatin

For vegetarians out there, this diet may be appealing. You can still restore your teeth and gums with some alteration to the above diet. Whole grains, beans and nuts lose a lot of their phytic acid when they are soaked, fermented and dehydrated. While it is time consuming to soak, ferment and dry grains, beans and nuts, you’re removing much of the harmful phytic acid while still enjoying the many nutrients of those foods.

Your teeth can be restored and all it takes is some tweaking of your diet. A healthy diet will not only improve your dental health, but it will also improve your overall physical health.

If it’s time for your bi-yearly teeth cleaning and exam, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Stacy Godes. Dr. Godes is a certified holistic dentist who believes in natural dental treatments over the use of invasive and harsh dental procedures and products.

The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

foods that are good for your teethTaking care of your oral health is important. With unhealthy teeth and gums, chewing and speaking can become difficult and painful, and many additional dentist appointments and expenses can also result.

While cleaning your teeth twice a day at home as well as regular professional cleanings and check-ups at your dentist are important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums, your diet also plays a role.

What we eat everyday can have profound long-term consequences on the condition of our oral health.

To reduce your risk of cavities, gum disease and other potential health issues, here are five foods you should and shouldn’t eat:

Foods to Enjoy

Raw Dairy Products

Raw, unpasteurized milk, cheese and yogurt both contain calcium and protein necessary to strengthen and build up teeth and jawbones. The chewing of cheese produces additional saliva which lowers tooth decay risk. Yogurt has probiotics that is beneficial to your gums.

Raw milk, cream, butter, cheese, and yogurt from cows who are free range and pasture-fed is loaded with calcium, vitamin D, vitamin K2, and other important nutrients your body and teeth need. As it isn’t pasteurized, your body has an easier and quicker time absorbing these beneficial nutrients and minerals.

Vegetables

Leafy greens, carrots and celery all do wonders for your oral health. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale have calcium, folic acid and B vitamins that builds up tooth enamel and treats gum disease. Celery has vitamins A and C which are essential for gum health. Celery also works like an additional toothbrush, cleaning the teeth and mouth of food particles.

Animal Products

Bone broth and bone marrow contain vital teeth-building ingredients. Minerals, gelatin, and collagen needed for strong teeth can be found in homemade bone broth.

Bone marrow is packed with bone-building nutrients that rejuvenate bone cells and promote bone cell growth. Bone marrow rebuilds and strengthens your bones, jaws and teeth.

One important animal product that may not sound appetizing to many is liver. This super food contains more fat-soluble vitamins A and D than any other food. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that prevents gum diseases and lowers your risk of tooth decay. Vitamin D is essential in increasing your body’s ability to add calcium and minerals to your bones and teeth.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the world’s richest sources of saturated fat. It is also made of special triglycerides that also contains lauric acid.

When lauric acid is broken down, it creates monolaurin. These two compounds found in coconut oil are fundamental in killing harmful bacteria and viruses in your mouth.

Sprouted Nuts, Seeds and Beans

Consuming nuts, seeds and beans right from the package intact lowers the absorption the important vitamins and minerals they offer the body.

To get the full dental benefits of nuts, beans and seeds, you need to consume them after they have sprouted.

A way of sprouting these foods is through the process of soaking. When nuts, seeds and beans are soaked, teeth-building enzymes, nutrients and minerals are released and can be easily absorbed by the body.

Foods to Avoid

Processed Foods

Foods that are processed contain artificial additives that harm your dental health. Refined sugars, processed white flours and vegetable oils that are used to preserve and enhance the flavor of processed foods. These artificial ingredients block the absorption of teeth and gum building nutrients, and causes an increase in bad bacteria in the mouth which leads to cavities.

 Packaged Foods

Packaged, ready to eat foods are often heavily processed. These foods, while convenient and yummy are depleted of their natural enriching minerals and nutrients. Pre-cooked, packaged foods also contain significantly more sugar than natural, raw foods.

Packaged foods have been shown to weaken bone and teeth and those who consume a lot of packaged foods tend to have more cavities than those who don’t.

Sugar

Plaque is caused by the presence of sugar. When we consume sugar, we are feeding the bad germs and bacteria in our mouths. These germs and bacteria produce corrosive acids that destroy teeth enamel.

To give your teeth the best shot at warding off cavities is to abstain from consuming the fuel for the cavity-producing bacteria in your mouth.

Fruits

Fruits, while seen as the natural source of sugar, still contain sugar. Whether it is natural or synthetic, sugar increases the presence of enamel destroying bacteria.

If you need some satisfying sweetness in your diet, it is okay to have a small piece of fruit in the morning. Be sure to promptly clean your teeth after eating it.

Grains

Unfermented grains are those that are made with artificial leavening agents, like baker’s yeast. Traditional bread production consisted of a time-consuming air fermenting process with wild yeast.

Most grains are unfermented and are packed with refined carbohydrates that quickly and easily get converted into plaque producing sugar. This sugar blocks the absorption of calcium and phosphorous.

Unfermented grains are also bad for your teeth because they contain higher levels of phytic acid. This acid keeps the teeth from absorbing essential bone and enamel building nutrients and minerals.

In addition, it is strongly encouraged that you’re also mindful of what you drink. Water is the best thing to drink to boost your oral health.

If you take the health of your teeth seriously, contact Dr. Stacy Godes, DDS today to schedule an appointment.

The Hows and Whys of Safe Mercury Filling Removal

No Mercury FillingsMercury is a highly toxic substance, and yet many people continue to receive new mercury-amalgam fillings or go throughout their daily lives not realizing that this heavy metal is slowly accumulating in various organs.

We have already talked about how your silver fillings may be poisoning you and the environment, but now we want to take a closer look what you can actually do about it.

Why Would They Use Mercury in The First Place?

According to the FDA:

“Approximately half of a dental amalgam filling is liquid mercury and the other half is a powdered alloy of silver, tin, and copper. Mercury is used to bind the alloy particles together into a strong, durable, and solid filling. Mercury’s unique properties (it is a liquid at room temperature and that bonds well with the alloy powder) make it an important component of dental amalgam that contributes to its durability.”

In other words, mercury became the go-to metal for fillings because it was affordable while still providing some important characteristics, like pliability and durability. It also hardens very quickly and can stand up biting and chewing that happens every day.

Proper and Safe Removal

Just grinding away at your old fillings can, indeed, create a mercury vapor and potentially cause harm by getting into your respiratory or digestive system.

That’s why we follow the best protocols for minimizing your risk of exposure and take the necessary steps to keep you safe. Our removal process works like this:

  • Rather than grinding the mercury, we slice and cut the amalgam into pieces an then remove them individually.
  • We keep a steady flow of water and suction on the work surface.
  • A rubber dam may be used to prevent debris from going back into your throat.
  • A saliva ejector behind the dam can even prevent the accumulation of mercury vapor behind it.
  • We will cover your skin and face so the mercury won’t settle in your eyes or on your skin.
  • We can even provide supplemental air to make sure you’re not breathing in the vapor.

Will You Notice a Difference?

Of course, every case is different, but there have been studies performed on patients who have had their mercury amalgam fillings removed to see how they reacted to a mercury-free mouth.

While the study made it clear that it did not yet have all the answers, nor could it explain all the mechanisms behind the results, it did note some important changes after the removal of the mercury fillings.

The first notable change was a significant reduction in subjective health complaints. They surveyed these patients at certain intervals after removal, and they saw a decrease in complaints about their health situation.

But that’s subjective, you might say. So let’s really look at whether the removal of amalgam fillings really reduced the level of mercury accumulating in your body.

After all, the FDA says that the amount of mercury building up from your fillings is negligible.

Well, in this study, they took urine and blood samples before removing the fillings and three years later at the end of the test. Those results showed that, after removal, the mean serum concentration was reduced to half of what it was pre-treatment, and the concentration in urine was reduced to one forth.

So yes, removing toxic metals from your teeth will give the rest of your body a chance to clean some of those unwanted materials out.

Get in touch with us right away and we’ll help you understand everything you need to know about mercury filling removal.

 

Research Shows a Link Between Periodontal Disease and Breast Cancer

periodontal disease linked to breast cancerBreast cancer or just the “big C” in general is a horrible disease to suffer from or to watch a loved one suffer from. In the U.S. breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer. Periodontal disease is extremely serious and without proper care it can be linked between many other diseases, but research has discovered that there is now a new risk to be added to that list: breast cancer. Many women suffer from breast cancer, which is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells, but women who are postmenopausal and suffer from periodontal disease are more likely to develop breast cancer than those without, especially if they are smokers.

Despite the fact that oral-associated microbes have been found in breast tumors, very little research had been done on the link between periodontal disease and cancer. Recently The University at Buffalo has done research and discovered that gum disease has in fact been linked to breast cancer, strokes, and heart attacks. They monitored over 73,000 women who were postmenopausal, 26.1 percent of those women had periodontal disease at the beginning of the study.

At the end of the study, 6.7 years later, 2,124 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and throughout all of the women in the study those with periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

Research has shown several possible causes for the link to periodontal disease, such as:

  • When brushing, flossing and chewing, bacteria from the oral cavity get into the bloodstream and although the bacteria is cleared rather quickly, there is sizable exposure to tissues. Long term exposure to the breast tissue could be the cause.
  • Another possible cause that could impact chronic diseases is inflammation in other parts of the body.

Previous to the research done at The University at Buffalo only three very small studies were done in order to discover the link between periodontal disease and breast cancer. Because of  the small size of these studies they weren’t able to examine the possible effects from smoking and the research showed no significant increase in risk. However, the study done at The University at Buffalo was able to do their research on a much larger-scale of women, which allowed them to look more closely at how smoking affected the relationship between periodontal disease and breast cancer.

“There’s been an explosion of information recently that makes it clear that many different parts of the body that were thought to be sterile contain bacteria and other microbes,” Freudenheim says. These bacteria may influence diseases that were previously thought to have no infectious component.”

Periodontal disease or oral disease of any kind is very serious. Now that there has been research that links this disease to breast cancer it makes it even more of an issue for woman, especially for those who are postmenopausal. Having good oral hygiene is important for your health and that includes regular visits to our office. Call today and schedule a checkup. Our trained and knowledgeable staff is ready to make sure you have a healthy mouth.

Top Foods and Drinks That Cause Your Teeth to Yellow

Teeth whitening, before and after shots

We live in a society where beauty standards are remarkably high. The media puts great emphasis on how people look. For example, many people go to great lengths to have a perfectly white “Hollywood” smile. However, you don’t have to be a movie star to have a magnificent smile. Some are born with one, others seek treatment to get the smile they have always dreamed of. Either way, if you want to keep your smile bright and healthy, there are certain foods and drinks that you should avoid. The wear and tear they have on your teeth, over time, will cause them to turn yellow.

Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

Tooth enamel is naturally white. However, the layer beneath, dentin, is naturally a more yellow tone. When your enamel wears down it becomes translucent and the dentin becomes visible, making your teeth look yellow. Wear and tear on enamel is unavoidable, which is why elderly people tend to have yellow teeth. It is just a part of the aging process.

Although there is no way to stop aging (although many have tried), you can do your smile a favor along the way by avoiding these enamel staining and damaging foods and drinks:

1 – Tea, Coffee, & Red Wine

Coffee may be your morning pick-me-up, tea may be the perfect way to get warm on a cold winter’s night, and a glass of red wine can enhance the flavor of a home-cooked meal, but the rich color of these dark drinks is damaging to the brightness of your teeth. The outer layer of the tooth is extremely porous, which makes it the perfect surface for absorbing their

intense-dark color. Avoid them if you can, but here is a tip if you must indulge, add a bit of milk to lighten the color (maybe not the wine). Bonus, milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, which helps keep your teeth strong.

2 – Tomato Sauce

There is nothing better than a plate of delicious pasta smothered in a perfectly seasoned marinara sauce. Unfortunately, tomato-based sauces will do damage to the color of your teeth. Not to worry, next time you make your grandma’s famous lasagna with Bolognese sauce, start with an appetizer of broccoli or spinach. Not only are they both rich in vitamins, they cleverly form a film over your teeth, which protects them from stain-causing foods.

3 – Blueberries & Blackberries

They may be considered superfoods, and are without a doubt rich in antioxidants, but their deep-dark color will wreak havoc on the luster of your smile. Although, they can stain your teeth, berries have healing powers and can be beneficial to your health. If you love these tasty-little morsels, throw them in a smoothie, top your salad with them, or eat them by the handful. Just make sure to either brush your teeth quickly after or, at the very least, swirl water around in your mouth after you’ve eaten them.

4 – Curry

There is no denying that curry is incredibly delicious. The bold flavors are simply unmatched. However, the intense color of curry can be detrimental to the color of your teeth. If you are among the millions of people who simply love a perfectly seasoned chicken tikka masala, make sure you do your best to brush immediately after or rinse your mouth with water.

These foods and drinks made the list because, quite simply, they are everywhere, which makes avoiding them altogether a challenge. But being aware of how they may be affecting the color of your teeth can help you make smart decisions, which will benefit the color of your teeth in the long run. For more information on how to keep your smile healthy, beautiful, and white, contact our office today.

How Your Silver Fillings May be Poisoning You and the Environment

A vector illustration of mercury with chemical symbol Hg

What is the danger of mercury?

The mercury found in silver filling is a neurotoxin, which makes it hard to believe that anyone would find it acceptable to have it placed only inches away from the brain. Those who are at a higher risk of these neurotoxins are children, fetuses of pregnant women, extremely sensitive individuals, and those who have kidney problems.

In 2010 the FDA made it so that dental offices were required to educate their patients about the risks that come along with amalgam fillings. Especially those who are more susceptible as mentioned above. Dr. Suresh Kotagal, a pediatric neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, summed it up nicely: “no place for mercury in children.” If it is harmful to the most resilient of our population, then it has no business being a part of anyone’s oral health.

Dr. Tom McGuire, one of the leading authorities on Mercury Amalgam Fillings, Mercury Poisoning, Mercury Detoxification, and Holistic Dental Wellness has some of the most in-depth websites that covers all of these subjects: http://mercurysafedentists.com/.

Dr. Tom McGuire also shares his knowledge with us in the video “Poison in Your Teeth,” where he demonstrates the release of mercury vapor from silver fillings.

Check it out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp8Rg8hNGwA

The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology also has an extremely informative video on the subject of mercury contained in amalgam fillings. This video takes a slightly different approach from Dr. Tom McGuire by using a Jerome Mercury Vapor Analyzer, an instrument that is accepted by regulatory agencies.

Take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXB2AzqCjTE

Mercury not only affects your health, but also plays a big part on the environment. Amalgam accounts for 240-300 tons of mercury in the market each year. In the United States, dental offices are the second largest users of mercury. This tends to find its way into our environment though one path or another, causing pollution, such as:

  • Water pollution – caused by dental clinic releases and through human waste
  • Air pollution – caused by cremation and sludge incineration
  • Land pollution – caused by landfills, burials, and fertilizer

Once in the environment, dental mercury converts into methylmercury, this is a major source of mercury found in the fish that we eat. The only way to eliminate the damage that is being seen on the environment, fish population, and wildlife is to put an end to the use of mercury in dental practices and transitioning to safer alternatives all together.

mercury-removalOur office is proud to be mercury free and we want to make sure that our patients are educated on the dangers that come along with silver fillings. It’s never too late to make the switch by replacing existing amalgam with natural-tooth colored fillings. Because they bond to the tooth they are not only safer for your health, but are stronger, have a natural look, and can easily last a lifetime.

For more information on how our office can help you make the safest choice when it comes to holistic dental treatments, call us today and our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

How Stress Effects Your Body and Oral Health

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Keep your body, mind, and oral health happy by eliminating toxic – everyday stress. Meditation, a well-balanced diet, and proper oral hygiene can rid your body from the negative affects of stress.

What Is Thermography and How Can It Help Dental Diagnoses?

Thermography, also called medical thermal imaging, is the study and application of bio-thermal processes in an attempt to assess and diagnose potential health problems and diseases. It is, in effect, the use of thermal imaging to visually evaluate changes that are currently happening in the body.

This is opening up a lot of potential uses in dentistry. It can be used to look for things like infections and inflammation in the head and neck areas, and it can do it without shooting the patient full of radiation. Thermographic diagnoses are non-invasive and don’t rely on ionising radiation. No physical contact has to be made with the patient, so the procedure it painless, and it can all be done within minutes.

How Does it Work?

We’ve all see what a thermographic image looks like on TV and in the movies. So how do those orange, red, and yellow images actually help diagnose dental problems? Isn’t it just about spotting people in a building from a satellite or something?

Modern thermography in a clinical setting can be done on a given spot or over a larger area. It is possible to measure changes as small as 1/100th of a degree in the body’s radiant heat. This allows us to pick up physiological and functional changes in the tissues before they become noticeable structural changes that adversely affect the body. These are often referred to as “bio-markers” and they are good indications that something is going on.

For example, increased heat in a specific area means there is likely some kind of inflammation there. This could mean that there is a nascent gum infection, possible inflammation in the maxillary sinus, or abscessed teeth, or a number of other things.

And, because it could be a number of other things, it’s important to note that thermography isn’t something that is used alone to make a diagnoses. It can be used to find the approximate location of a potential problem, but then we’ll use visual examinations and other tools to confirm the initial findings.

Getting the Best Results

In order to ensure that thermographic diagnoses are providing the best results, it must be done in a highly controlled environment so that all the potential environmental variables don’t create false data.

This means that the room where the images are taken must maintain a consistent temperature, have no reflective surfaces, and doesn’t allow draughts or unexpected heat sources. The patient also needs to have time to acclimatize to the room’s temperature so everything is at a nice, even baseline.

Before taking any measurements, it’s also important to make note of any skin irregularities that could show up on a thermographic scan to make sure the things we’re seeing are, in fact, the things we think we’re seeing.

Current Dental Applications

Thermography is an effective, non-invasive way to identify problematic areas in the mouth that might get missed by other detection methods (or at least missed for many months until real problems begin to develop). By focusing on this technology, it’s possible to catch those functional and physiological changes before problematic and painful structural changes occur. For example, this technology can be used to diagnose things like:

Chronic orofacial pain – Thermography makes it easier to classify the type of pain that patients are feeling and what and where the source of the pain is, and therefore it’s easier to determine a solution.

TMJ disorders – Using thermographic technology can help us distinguish between patients who are suffering TMJ disorders and those who are undergoing other active orthodontic treatments.

Inferior alveolar nerve deficit – This nerve connects the molars and second premolars with sensory branches, and they can be damaged during certain procedures like wisdom teeth removal. Thermal imaging can help us assess this nerve deficit so we can start working on solutions.

Studies have shown that thermography can help in the assessment of various dysfunctions, diseases, and other concerns in the head and neck region. With this technology it is possible to get real qualitative and quantitative diagnoses on your dental situation. For more information, go to psytek-labs.com . We work closely with this company, and trust their work!