The procedure we’d like to discuss and bring to light today is one that most practicing dentists, biological/holistic or not, literally do multiple times each work day. Together, let’s explore the impact that the simple filling on the chewing surface (called an occlusal filling) can have on the long-term whole body wellness of the patient.
To really consider the whole body implications of the occlusal filling on our whole body health, we have to get a strong grasp on the relationship the teeth play with the various internal organ systems in our bodies. Traditional Chinese Medicine has long been very aware (and has meticulously charted) that each of our individual teeth relates to specific organs in our bodies.
While it seems strange in our Western way of compartmentalizing the body into a bunch of separate organ systems, the fact is that Traditional Chinese Medicine has been, in regular practice, effectively addressing all sorts of illness of the human body for several thousand years. From our perspective, Traditional Chinese Medicine stands the test of time. Otherwise, it would have stopped being used thousands of years ago!
Here’s an image of one version of the chart which illustrates the connection between the teeth and the various internal organ systems and body regions. You can find an interactive ‘internal organ & tooth chart’ by following this link. (It’s really cool. You can click on a tooth and it will show you what organs relate to that specific tooth :))
So, let’s lay down some pieces to this puzzle:
1. Each of our teeth relates to specific regions and organ systems in our bodies.
2. Biting down on two teeth to chew generates pressure between those two teeth (and other neighboring teeth).
3. If the chewing surface is disrupted/disturbed by filling material, this can create disrupted conduction of the nerves associated with the specific teeth.
4. This disrupted nerve conduction has an impact on the internal organs related to the teeth in question.
Let’s face it, if a filling on the biting surface causes us to use our teeth differently, then we are going to be firing the nerves to the affected teeth differently. Nerve conduction runs closely parallel to bio-energetic flow in the body. In fact, nerve tissue is the closest connection western medical theory has to the Chinese medical model of energy flow. So, if the nerve is impacted by the different chewing surface, the energy flow to that associated tooth may very well be influenced, leaving our organ systems unbalanced. Therefore, it serves us well to make certain that any fillings placed in our mouths, or the mouths of our loved ones, have the least disturbance to our common bite and chewing patterns as possible.
There are parts that both the dental professional and each of us as patients can play to help move this awareness of the impact that ‘simple’ fillings can play in the health of the whole body. Below you will find a few things that anyone in the dental profession can do to help bring this whole body aspect to dentistry into the culture at large.
More importantly, each of us can empower ourselves with knowledge and patiently share this information with our dental professional. After all, we are the patients, right? We have to be patient when sharing these important points of discussion with those we hire to help us navigate to greater oral health.
If we as individuals (who have the financial power by the way) patiently help the professional community to become aware of seemingly new (yet very old) information, we are playing an active role in helping the profession adapt to our desires as consumers of their services. We think it’s crucial for each of us to realize the power we have in changing the system. After all, if each of us gently approaches dental professionals about these issues, they will realize that they have to educate themselves on this or be left unable to compete in a growing and adapting professional field. The power is within each of us in our own communities.
Steps each of us can apply:
1. The dental team becomes acutely aware of the impact that “simple” fillings can have on the whole-body health of the patient.
2. The dentist becomes gentler with the patient, while reducing the filling material (which helps minimize disturbances to the chewing surfaces). Ideally, we would like to see dental offices implement next-day, follow-up appointments with the patient to make room for any necessary adjustments to the filling (after any local anesthesia has worn off). This way, the patient is able to tell how their bite feels without the hinderance of being numb.
3. The patient becomes empowered with the capacity to slow down the dentist after the filling has been set and compassionately demand that plenty of attention be given to ensuring that the bite is adjusted until it is minimally impacted.
This bears repeating…
“Tap, tap please”
Regardless of the type of filling material used, the dentist will use a special piece of tape and place it between the teeth at the site of the new filling and ask you to bite down. This is what we all have grown to understand what the dentist means when s/he says, “Tap, tap”. It’s this step which must be patiently addressed and not rushed. Although the professional team is ‘done’ with this patient’s filling at this point, they need to stop and pay particular attention to ensuring that the bite surface is minimally impacted. Otherwise, they risk unknowingly imbalancing the whole body wellness of the patient by quickly skimming past this crucial piece to the puzzle.
We prefer to request that this important step is performed in multiple steps. First, the action of tapping is helpful (think crunching up something easy to chew like some softer nuts). But we must also have the dentist check our contact when grinding our molars (think chewing some pastured beef that you cooked a little too long! :)). So, explaining to the dentist that you would like to have your bite checked using all the ways in which you use your teeth daily to chew would help you immeasurably. Then be willing to take 3-5 passes at having the dentist place the disclosing tape on the chewing surfaces.
While it can be momentarily uncomfortable, the benefits far outweigh any awkwardness (coming from the cultural baggage we must bump up against) when we patiently explain what we need from the dental professionals. After all, we have hired them to help us navigate to greater oral health. We call this dental self-empowerment and it is a subject you will hear a lot more about from us! 🙂 We are passionate about providing you with all the knowledge you need to take control of your oral health.
Do you have an experience where you stood up for your rights and were willing to state your needs (either for yourself or for your child) in a dental/health office? Please share your story below in the comments so we all can benefit from your experience! 🙂
Of course, if you find value in this article, we ask that you share it so others can learn steps how to create positive change in their oral health.
If you’d like to know what questions to ask to find a dental team who will work with you on your journey to greater oral health, feel free to download our FREE Guide to Safe Dentistry.
As always, holler with any questions, we’re here to help!
Thank you and Aloha!
Will and Susan
Helpful, Related Resources:
Guide to Safe Dentistry [free eBook download]