Just yesterday I was involved in a conversation with another dentist and staff where I was reminded that many people view dentistry as drill and fill. To be fair this is a very real part of the job but it is by no means all of it.
Today I was reminded once again of the view that many have of dentistry when a health based company could not see the input that we as dentists have in their vision for better health. Over forty years in the industry and I feel that I have failed in my personal mission of enlightening those who do not see the contribution dentistry can make to better health.
— AFTER ALL THESE YEARS — PEOPLE STILL DON’T GET IT!
For most of my years in practice I have been treating head, neck and back pain of dental origin. Many of the people I see are worried, anxious, stressed or in different stages of burnout. The myriad of symptoms they present with often disguise the underlying problems that they face. While dentistry may not address these problems face on, by alleviating the dental stressors we help the body to deal with the hidden burden.
Reducing stress in the system is so important as research shows that chronic stress increases the risk of disease, further dental inflammation has been linked to inflammation in the rest of the body and the ensuing systemic problems.
I wrote about this back in 2002 when I was asked by Credence Publications to write a book on toxicity in dentistry. “Toxic Bite” was well received and while I may no longer agree with some of the research I quoted at the time, nothing has changed my mind about stress and the reaction of the body to any demand placed upon it. Nor to the fact that a poor bite impacts the body both soma and psyche.
So much that goes on in the body can be traced back to the mouth. As general healthcare professionals we cannot ignore this fact and relegate dentistry to just drill and fill.
Do the health companies, Facebook gurus, network marketers understand what thy are missing when they do not consider dental health as important. Do they understand that their products could prove more effective if they were in command of all the facts rather than just the ones used to persuade people of the need for their products alone. “ The greatest products on planet earth!”
We move on and as we do we will come to understand the relationship between dehydration and oral/systemic problems, of poor nutrition and not just dental but systemic decay. We should recognise more deeply that those under financial strain often have poor mouths, treatment of the underlying stress relieving them not only of financial strain but also systemic symptoms.
Many who are anxious, clench and grind, suffer headaches, neck and back pain, that can be alleviated by a trip to the dentist. Our role in general health has never been more important.
When we are looking for true physical health, true mental health and true financial health, it would be good idea to consider the roll of the dentist in promoting all three!
Surely it’s time for people to stop seeing dentistry as just, drill, fill or extract!