What Is Biocompatible Dentistry?
If you have had dental work in the past, you may not realize that some of it may contain toxic materials. Many of us have silver amalgam fillings, yet are unaware that they contain as much as 50 percent mercury by volume. Fortunately, there’s an alternative to traditional silver amalgam fillings, and this is due to the advent of biocompatible dentistry.
What is biocompatible dentistry?
Biocompatible dentistry is a relatively new concept that involves using non-toxic materials for dental crowns, tooth fillings, dental implants, and other types of dental restoration procedures. Another common term for biocompatible dentistry is holistic dentistry, but these two types of dentistry are not identical.
By definition, a biologically compatible material must not damage or cause harm to the body. Since the tissues in the mouth are particularly absorptive, it’s essential that we refrain from placing anything hazardous in the mouth; this includes silver amalgam fillings and other toxic substances. The basic premise of biologically compatible dentistry is that physical health encompasses all aspects of the body, including the mouth and the teeth. Using toxic materials in the mouth is counterintuitive for those who want to maintain their overall good health, and a biological dentist or a holistic dentist can provide you with quality dental care that doesn’t use toxic substances.
Traditional dentistry uses up to 50 percent mercury in silver amalgam fillings, yet mercury is one of the most toxic, non-radioactive elements on the planet. Metal posts, orthodontic wires, brackets, and crowns use nickel in their construction, and even though it’s not as toxic as mercury, it doesn’t belong in your mouth. Toxins from these substances leach into your system on a daily basis, and they can cause innumerable health problems over time. Many countries have banned the use of silver amalgam fillings since mercury has been shown to cause birth defects, behavioral and learning problems, cancer, and impaired brain development in unborn children.
Sometimes, patients develop a sensitivity to the substances in their dental work, and the work must be replaced. Sensitivity occurs when your body rejects a substance that it’s been exposed to, so essentially, the toxins in your traditional dental work can poison your body. Research has indicated that more than 20 percent of those with traditional dental work will, at some point, develop an adverse reaction to it.
Biocompatible dentistry uses non-toxic substances that have been proven safe for the mouth, such as porcelain, composite fillings that don’t contain BPA, resins and acrylics that don’t contain monomer, and braces and wires that don’t contain nickel. For those who have a bridge with metal posts that are fused into the gum, replacements are available that use either resin or porcelain cement and are not toxic to your system. An added advantage of the newer types of bridges is that they look more natural. Traditional bridges and crowns sometimes have a chalky appearance and don’t match the natural teeth. The new types appear much more natural and are therefore much less noticeable. Traditional crowns and bridges use titanium posts because titanium will osseointegrate with the bone, but titanium isn’t always biologically compatible and sometimes, the gums don’t respond well to titanium. Our biocompatible dentistry uses ceramic or zirconium alloy implants instead of titanium implants for three reasons: A small number of people are sensitive to titanium, the zirconium alloy is stronger than the titanium, and the dental work looks more natural.
What are the benefits of biocompatible dentistry?
One of the major benefits of biocompatible dentistry is that it’s healthier for your body. It doesn’t use substances that are toxic and will leach into your circulatory system on a daily basis, and you don’t have to worry about an adverse reaction to it in the future. Overall, if you need dental work, then biocompatible dentistry is a much healthier choice than traditional dentistry. You won’t have toxic substances entering your body every day, and you needn’t worry about an adverse reaction in the future.
An additional benefit of biologically compatible dentistry is that it looks very natural. Gone are the white, chalky crowns and bridges; in their place, you have natural looking, translucent dental work that looks like the surrounding teeth. Since the substances used in biocompatible dentistry are not toxic to your body, there’s less disruption to your sensitive oral tissues during the procedure, so you’ll have a quicker recovery time.
Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ
What’s the difference between holistic dentistry and biological dentistry?
Although both types of dentistry emphasize the use of natural substances that aren’t harmful to the body, holistic dentistry involves other parts of the physical body as well as the entirety of the spiritual aspect of the body in order to facilitate overall health. Holistic dentistry may involve the use of aromatherapy or other homeopathic remedies in order to alleviate stress, anxiety or negative emotions that may accompany the patient. Past experiences may contribute to the negative energy that may accompany a dental patient, so the holistic dentist will try to enhance the patient’s overall wellness rather than just their oral wellness. A holistic dentist may address issues that will affect the teeth and mouth, such as breast cancer or a compromised immune system.
Biological dentists use materials that are compatible with the overall body and that, over the years, won’t leach toxins into your body, but they are less focused on the spiritual aspect of the patient. The fillings used will be mercury-safe, any metal in braces won’t be toxic to your body, and materials used may be tested to ensure that they’re compatible with your unique physiology.
Why is mercury dangerous?
Mercury is one of the most toxic metals on the periodic chart, and it’s a powerful neurotoxin. It can cause autoimmune diseases, compromise the kidneys, lower fertility, induce resistance to antibiotics, and more. Unfortunately, because it’s mixed with other metals when the amalgam is prepared, it was presumed safe in silver amalgam fillings until recently. Personal habits such as drinking carbonated beverages, chewing gum or grinding your teeth, can exacerbate the deleterious effects of the mercury in silver amalgam fillings and increase your toxicity level.
Should I have my old fillings removed?
Research has shown that the mercury that was contained in silver amalgam fillings can, in fact, leach into the body, and the toxicity increases with the number of fillings that you have. If your fillings are more than 20 years old, it’s probably a good idea to replace them with one of the newer types of dental fillings. Particularly for those with compromised immune systems, replacing old amalgam fillings with a non-toxic filling can provide health benefits. Older adults can benefit because their ability to fight infection and detoxify will gradually deteriorate as they age. If your old, amalgam fillings are beginning to crack, then you should consult your dentist about replacing them, so that the mercury doesn’t leak out into your circulatory system.
Do I need a special dentist to remove my old amalgam fillings?
If you have old amalgam fillings that you want to be removed, either a holistic or a biological dentist may be your best choice, and at Smile Angels of Beverly Hills, Bruce Vafa DDS. can do both. It’s important to use a specialist when you need specialized work, and Dr. Vata is one of the best in the Beverly Hills area for both biological and holistic dentistry. It’s important to properly eliminate the dust, fumes, and debris of an amalgam filling removal because you don’t want to inhale any of it, and at Smile Angels, we ensure that toxins and debris are removed efficiently and thoroughly.
Are your braces free of metal?
Many types of braces are available that are completely free of metals. If you have allergies to certain metals, it’s particularly important to have plastic braces. Invisalign is one of the most popular non-metal braces, and we offer the Invisalign system to our patients.
What are my options for implants?
If you need dental implants, but don’t want to have metal posts, we can use zirconium alloy implants. Although technically a metal oxide, zirconium implants act similarly to porcelain and are an excellent alternative to the titanium posts used in traditional dentistry. We recommend zirconium posts because some patients exhibit a sensitivity to the titanium posts used in traditional dentistry.
Can you diagnose my health problems if they’re related to my teeth?
We are unable to diagnose any health problems, you’ll need to see your physician for that. However, we can determine whether you have a healthy mouth or not and recommend procedures that will restore your oral health. This may help with any physical health issues you may be experiencing.
Will you take x-rays?
Although we endeavor to minimize the number of x-rays we take, sometimes they are necessary. We frequently use digital x-rays because they expose the patient to 90 percent less radiation than traditional x-rays. We use the Acclaim Intraoral camera to provide the clearest and truest pictures of your teeth and gums, and this helps reduce some of the need for x-rays. We use advanced DIAGNOdent technology to spot small areas of decay sooner, which prevents the spread of decay. This means you’ll have a smaller filling that will also be compatible with your body.
Does it take longer to recover from biologically compatible dentistry?
The recovery time for biological dentistry is often shorter than that for traditional dentistry. Since your lymphatic system doesn’t have to cope with the intrusion of metals and other foreign substances, it can devote its energy to healing, so you may heal more quickly than you anticipated.
Do you provide pediatric dentistry?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a dentist prior to their first birthday. We strive to make dental visits enjoyable for our young patients; we don’t want them to dread going to the dentist. We ask that parents refrain from speaking negatively about their dental visits so that their child won’t have any preconceived and negative opinions on the subject. Good dental health needs to be a lifelong commitment, and we want to ensure that your child establishes good dental habits at an early age.
Do you accept dental insurance?
We recognize that dental work can be expensive, so we accept the majority of insurance plans; a full list of those we accept is available. Insurance billing is complex and can be confusing, so we’re happy to bill your insurance company for you. During your initial consultation, be sure to let us know which dental insurance provider you use, as well as your account number so that we can provide you with all of the benefits to which you’re entitled.
Do you have references that I can talk to?
Although we can’t provide the names of our patients, we have many before and after pictures of our work. Whether you need cosmetic dentistry, implants, reconstructive work or a complete smile makeover, we can help you. Be sure to look at the numerous pictures on our website so that you know how much better your smile can be. Dr. Vafa works with several local talent agencies to fix and maintain their clients’ beautiful smiles. His plush office serves many in the Hollywood community, and he has patients from around the world.
Why should I choose your dental office over the others available?
Dr. Vafa has served the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years and has the reputation of being one of the best dentists in the area for emergency dental work, cosmetic dentistry, and pediatric dentistry. We have hundreds of happy patients in our extended dental family, and we’d like to include you as part of our dental family.