Is Your Dentist a Bricklayer or an Architect?Updated: January 25, 2018 Oral Health
Have you ever noticed that most dentists have a kind of “bricklayer” mentality? They peer into your mouth, examine your teeth and gums and then proceed to clean, drill, fill, or straighten your pearly whites like they are somehow separate from the rest of your body! A contractor installing pavers in your driveway or a mason building a brick and mortar wall around a courtyard approach their work in basically the same way.
The person installing the pavers doesn’t think of whether the bricks match the facade of the house and the mason doesn’t consider whether the brick wall blends appropriately in style and taste with the courtyard’s landscaping. That’s the landscape architect’s job!
The human body simply isn’t put together this way, as you may have already noticed! The teeth and jaw should be viewed as the primary archway into the body temple much the same as the Gothic arch identifies the entrance to Notre Dame Cathedral but cannot be considered separate from the architecture of the entire structure. The traditional practice of looking into a horse’s mouth and examining the teeth and gums reflects in a practical sense the correlation between dental health and the vitality of the rest of the body.
For this reason, it is essential to find those dentists that are true architects and not bricklayers. “Architect” dentists facilitate wellness of the entire body through the methods and techniques they employ, not just a cosmetically beautiful smile.
It is with this thought in mind that I interview potential dentists for myself and my family. By the conclusion of each consultation, it is extremely easy to determine whether a particular dentist follows a bricklayer or architect philosophy. Bricklayers tend to focus only on the speed and results of treatment.
Architects talk about results too, but are much less concerned about speed and more interested in the effects of treatment on the patient’s physiology. Architect orthodontists, for example, thoughtfully consider the effect of moving teeth and widening of the jaw on the cranium, spine, and neck. Architect orthodontists usually won’t consider the overly forceful , painful “crank the key” appliance as an option for widening the palate. They prefer lighter, more functional appliances and consider widening the jaw to be an orthopedic rather than an orthodontic issue. In other words, widening the jaw is a gentle procedure to be accomplished within the context of the entire skeletal system. It isn’t just a jaw problem to be treated in isolation.
Architect general dentists eschew amalgam fillings and instead do blood or muscle testing to determine the appropriate composite material for a patient’s unique body chemistry. Only bricklayer dentists use flouride treatments on children or insist on annual x-rays despite the negative cumulative effects of radiation exposure on their patients.
One bricklayer dentist I used to go to once insisted that I get an x-ray for a cavity despite the fact that I was pregnant. My response? “Give me my dental file please!” I walked out of that office, dental file in hand and found an architect dentist who would fill my cavity with no x-ray required. A few years later I read a study linking dental x-rays during pregnancy with low birth weight babies possibly from radiation exposure to the woman’s thyroid. An architect dentist doesn’t need a study to tell him/her that a dental x-ray on a pregnant patient is a bad idea. Only bricklayer dentists need a study for something that should just be plain common sense.
One architect dentist I talked with amazed and wowed me with his discussion of one of his patients who had a severe case of Tourette Syndrome which completely resolved with appropriate treatment of a jaw misalignment (within the context of the cranial bones, of course)! This same dentist also completely resolved a severe underbite in one of his adult patients with no surgery, after many a bricklayer dentist before him recommended only surgery and said that any other approach “wasn’t possible.” If you get silly answers like “it can’t be done” from a bricklayer dentist, or “dental x-rays have about the same amount of radiation as walking to your car on a sunny day” (all the while they are strapping a thick, lead vest to your chest), get out of there!