You’ve probably heard the old joke about surgery. When asked how it went, the doctor replies, “The operation was a success, but the patient died.” That bit of irony has been circulating in print since the early 1800’s. Since then, it’s even made its way into military and business conversation. The unspoken message, clearly, is that people matter more than processes.
In an effort to make the art of medicine more humane – and, yes, it is a science-based art, not just applied science – several disciplines have developed during the last couple of centuries as alternatives to the medicine being practiced by convention. Hence, we arrived at the expression “alternative medicine.”
Well, one of these alternatives is that kind of medicine called naturopathy, or “naturopathic medicine.” Actually, it’s less a different kind of medicine than a different way of viewing medicine, and – more importantly – the patients to be treated.
As such, naturopathy operates under the guidance of six more or less codified principles, as espoused by The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, or AANP. Let’s have a look at the first and see how it applies to biological dentistry.
First, Do No Harm
Those four words (three in their more economical Latin original), are inspired by the seminal work of Hippocrates, the “Father of Western Medicine,” and the phrasing of the Hippocratic Oath, which all doctors still must take before practicing medicine. That should come as no surprise, right? After all, a doctor is about teaching and healing: teaching medical truth and healing bodies by its application.
In Dental Terms
Let’s recall what I wrote last week about the history of dentistry and the radically different paradigms it has witnessed. In the case of biological dentistry, it excludes the use of toxic materials. Of course, as I’ve often explained in these posts, no material that is not “us” will ever be entirely “non-reactive” to us. The important thing is to use the least reactive possible option.
God only knows the full extent of the havoc that has been wrought on human health, wellness, and livelihood, not to mention human life itself.
This clearly excludes known bio-toxins, such as mercury – in all its forms – and nickel. The latter is a carcinogen, while the former holds the dubious honor of being the most toxic naturally-occurring element on the face of the earth. That’s quite a distinction!
How we ever allowed ourselves to buy into the idea that this “most toxic element,” a biohazard before and after placement in a tooth, somehow mysteriously morphs into a non-toxic element once it is placed in a patient’s mouth, is one of the biggest tragedies of the past two centuries. God only knows the full extent of the havoc that has been wrought on human health, wellness, and livelihood, not to mention human life itself.
Keep in Mind
Remember our two paradigms: either the tooth is to be saved at all costs, or the patient is. The life of the whole person is what matters. That’s why we call the kind of dentistry we practice “biological”: pertaining to life!
Stay tuned for principle number two in next week’s post.
Dr. Blanche Grube