I had my first holistic dentist visit today and it was so impactful that I have to write about it.
Please keep in mind: I'm not a doctor, but we have to be our own best doctors. Nothing I write is medical advice, I am just sharing what I am learning (sometimes in super basic language so we can all understand it).
What do you mean we have to be our own best doctor?
If you know me, or have been following along on my Instagram, you know that I have been healing my body. That may seem vague, but it's not. My entire body was sick thanks to years of poor choices in my diet, lifestyle, and medications. I was always tired, suffered from migraines that used to knock me out (literally blacked out twice), was covered in psoriasis, had IBS, and more.
I don't make a lot of money, so most of my protocols come from the research I've done myself. I did visit a chiropractor in August that confirmed my fears that my entire GI tract was inflamed and something was wrong. I couldn't afford his protocol for continued visits, tests, and care, so I took the information he gave me, kept researching online, and dove in.
For the past 6 months I've transitioned to a plant based diet, with the occasional "cheat" meal and alcohol because I believe it's healthier to just let yourself enjoy life than worry obsessively about your diet. I also rotate through different supplements from Dr. Jess, Dr. Brighten, Biocidin, and Organic Olivia depending on what I feel my body needs support in.
I also exercise/sweat fairly consistently, have cut out endocrine disrupters such as plastic, and get in the sun as much as possible.
At first, I felt amazing. My body finally had nutrients!
Then, I felt like complete shit. As my body started to function, it found parasites and infections and heavy metals that had been hiding out and started to get rid of them. I even had a "flu" for a week of just a high fever as my body fought off infections.
Since then, I have steadily felt better and better. I haven't had a migraine in months, I've lost 15lbs, my body can handle cheat meals better, and my IBS has calmed down.
But something is still off. My healing plateaued. I can't seem to lose the weight around my hips. I still have psoriasis, so clearly something is still triggering my immune system.
Why did you go to a holistic dentist?
So just as I was wresting with the fact that my efforts didn't seem to be enough, Dr. Jess happened to make a post about "why you aren't healing." I stopped at the first item on the list: root canal.
Turns out, they aren't always good for you.
I never thought about it before, but it makes total sense that leaving a dead tooth in your body and putting a lid on it is somewhat risky.
While some people's immune systems can handle it, it also can become just a host for infections that can then be carried throughout your entire body because your mouth is connected to all of it. You can learn more about this through the documentary "Root Cause." I refuse to watch it because I was scared enough.
I was scared about having a little infected hole in my mouth, and the price it would cost to get it removed. So scared that I literally pushed it out of my brain and was determined not to think about it.
But I couldn't. Once I realized that many of my symptoms were directly connected (ear pain, autoimmune disease, swollen lymphs around the area), I knew I had to go in.
What happened at your first holistic dentist visit?
I visited the Pittsburgh Center for Holistic Dentistry. I filled out my paperwork ahead of time, and started off the appointment with x-rays and pictures by a technician. They did a great job of explaining and showing me what they were doing. They also had this really high tech tool that allowed them to see cavities - I remember something about a special light.
Side note, don't forget to take out your facial jewelry... taking out my nose ring on the spot was a little challenging haha.
While I was waiting, the technician brought me water in a GLASS jar. I know everyone thinks this is hipster, but if avoiding hormonal (endocrine) disruptors and working to have less painful PMS is hipster, then hand me a beard and a flannel.
After waiting about five minutes, the two main dentists looked over my images and sat down to speak with me about what they found.
Turns out ya girl is a mess.
The diagnosis: root canal infection, cavities, and mercury
Not only was my root canal infected (as I suspected), but I ALSO found out that I have a mercury filling (that was a surprise), and, wait for it, ELEVEN CAVITIES!
I barely had cavities as a kid, and one that I did have, they put a mercury filling in. If you don't know - mercury is toxic. You know the phrase "mad hatter"? It's because at one time, hat makers used to use mercury on their hats, and many went "mad" because mercury is toxic. There's a whole method created to remove it called S.M.A.R.T. that you can read about.
Thankfully, of the eleven cavities, I can restore 4 of them with diet and care. The rest will need to be filled in.
More than that, two of the cavities are beneath fillings. Who would've thought that fillings have a shelf life...
THE CRAZIEST THING THOUGH.
She showed me my cavities on a diagram that associates each tooth with an organ. Apparently there is a correlation between their health and the health of that organ.
Every tooth that has a cavity is directly related to my GI tract. This is crazy because when I went to the chiropractor in the fall, thats exactly what was inflamed and in poor health.
I don't know why we forget that everything in our bodies is connected.
There was good news.
I really enjoyed talking with the dentists. At first I was super intimidated and barely spoke, but then the one started bringing up topics I knew about from my own research, such as biofilm, hidden infections, and ozone therapy. I felt very comfortable sharing my thoughts and asking questions. They both had gotten their root canals removed recently so they were able to share a lot about their personal experience.
She did a quick pH level test with my saliva, and took a look inside my mouth. I could see the surprise on her face.
"Well you may have been sick at one point, but you are definitely much healthier now. Aside from the cavities and tartar, your mouth looks extremely healthy. And your pH level is exactly where it should be. That means your gut is healthy."
I shared that I was very very sick last year, but I had taken a lot of steps to restore my health. The problem was, my psoriasis just won't go away.
She explained that psoriasis is just a symptom of your immune system getting triggered by something else, most likely an infection in the root canal. It was wild to have confirmation of this because my dermatologist never even mentioned that it was an autoimmune disease. She prescribed me steroids and sent me on my way. My DENTIST seems to know more about it than her.
All in all, this means that the steps I take to heal my mouth will probably lead to really significant improvements in my health.
It was such a relief to have someone confirm my thoughts, and to have a clear path to finally being healed.
What steps are you going to take for your cavities, root canal, and mercury filling?
1) First, I have to stay committed to a clean diet and increase my supplements to support my immune system. This will help with the cavities and prepare me for the surgery. The supplements I will be taking are:
Vitamin C: immune support to find and kill pathogens
Chlorella: helps bind heavy metals from the mercury filling
Probiotic: healthy GI tract = healthy everything
Digestive Enzyme: helps break down food
Thankfully I have some of these already.
I will also be oil pulling with coconut oil - you just swish it around in your mouth for 20 minutes first thing in the morning every day. It generates antioxidants that damage the cell walls of microorganisms, and literally "pulls" the bacteria from your mouth into the oil for you to spit out. You can read more about the benefits and how to do it here.
Finally, to encourage regular drainage of my lymphatic system, I will be dry brushing & rebounding daily. Did you know your lymphs don't drain on their own? Yep, you need to stimulate them through dry brushing and jumping.
2) Next week I will be going back in to do a thorough cleaning. This will break down the biofilm and tartar that has built up on my teeth.
3) The following week will be my extraction surgery of my root canal tooth. They will do 3D imaging, remove the cap and metal insert, clean the area with ozone, and place my own stem cells into the hole.
Fingers crossed everything goes well. We are stopping back into Pittsburgh after we leave for our road trip just to get this taken care of. I will have 3 days to get back on my feet before we take off again.
4) After that, I will go to them or another dentist occasionally to get my cavities filled, an implant where the extraction was done, and at some point, the mercury filling removed and replaced. Honestly, I can't even process that step just yet, even though it is super important.
Was your holistic dentist visit expensive?
Long story short, yes. In my opinion, at least.
Like I said, I don't have a ton of money and holistic dentistry isn't really covered by insurance. Thankfully, I'm in a position where I can borrow it and pay it back.
Believe me, it hurt to see that treatment plan. Money is a tough subject. But I am grateful because they worked with me to prioritize what I need done first and are letting me spread it out over time.
Why spend money on your health?
Lately I've been reading a book on finances, and this one lesson really stuck with me. Liabilities are things you spend money on that cost you more money later, and assets are things you spend money on that make you more money.
If you don't invest in your health, your body becomes a liability. It will cost you more money to call off sick, to be less focused and less productive, and it even may - god forbid - it even may take your life.
But if you invest in your health, especially to be preventative, then your health becomes an asset. Your mood and your productivity will make you more money in the long run.