Holistic Dentistry… without the price tag

I wrote in my book ‘Love, Light and Mermaid Tails’ that I was keen to get my mercury fillings replaced for white fillings but that I wanted to have this done at a holistic dentist practice so that I wasn’t exposed to the mercury during the procedure. At the time the price per tooth was around £200 and, with eight black fillings in my mouth it seemed unlikely that I would be getting it done any time soon.

However, it still bothered me that I had these chemicals and heavy metals in my mouth and, potentially, in my blood stream and I was constantly in the pursuit of ways of reducing my heavy metal exposure.

Recently I went for my six month check-up with my NHS dentist and he identified that one of my mercury fillings was broken. I was horrified. Broken meant that it was leaking these nasties into my blood stream every time I ate or drunk anything. I needed this fixed and fast.

I chatted to him about my concerns and, while he didn’t 100% agree with them, he listened. I explained that I wanted to see a holistic dentist so that I could have a rubber dental dam fitted (this is basically a piece of rubber that fits around the tooth/teeth being worked on and covers your throat) and wear an oxygen mask for the procedure, thus reducing my exposure to chemicals. He explained that he thought this was ‘over kill’ and that sometimes when people use the word ‘holistic’ they can take advantage of a patient in pursuit of healing form a disease. I didn’t feel it was appropriate, at that point, to remind him that I use the word ‘holistic’ on a frequent basis in my business…

Our differences aside, we both shared a mutual respect for one another’s views and we both listened as we chatted through the options moving forward. I made the decision to contact a holistic dentist for the procedure of removing and replacing the broken filling and my dentist agreed to support me as an ongoing patient – I couldn’t help but notice the similarities of this to the conversation and decisions I had made alongside my oncologist when I had decided not to have chemotherapy, opting instead to peruse alternative and complementary therapies, following my cancer recurrence in December 2017.

However, despite my best intentions, getting an appointment with a holistic dentist wasn’t as straight forward as I had hoped. The waiting list was 2-3 months just for a consultation! I needed treatment faster than this to ensure that I wasn’t exposed to any more mercury and also so that my tooth didn’t become more rotten as inevitably food, and subsequent bacteria, would be getting trapped in the damaged filling. This, my dentist had carefully explained, could lead to me needing a root canal treatment; something I was not willing to accept given the vast amount of evidence indicating a connection between root cancel treatments and a later cancer diagnosis.

So I made the decision to contact my own dentist and ask him if he would do the procedure for me using a dental dam (albeit without the oxygen mask). “Of course”, came his unexpected reply. In fact, he went on to explain that this was his preference and that when he has treatments himself, he asks his dentist to use one.

I was once again surprised at the wonderful responses that can come when you honour and respect yourself and your values and speak up for your needs. I never expected this response from my dentist!

So, on Monday, I visited my dentist for the double appointment I’d been allocated (to allow extra time) and had a dental dam fitted and my filling removed and replaced. My exposure to chemicals and heavy metals was significantly reduced and I was only charged the usual NHS price for this procedure.

Following the procedure I had a lengthy chat with my dentist, quizzing him in the way my oncologist has no doubt become accustomed to. Instead of rushing me away, he took the time to discuss my dental health with me and its relation to my holistic health. I left feeling supported and informed. I was reminded that it is only by asking our questions, by raising our concerns and, essentially, by doing our own research, that we can develop the much needed respectful relationships with the people caring for us.

My dentist and I had started out as two people with very different views. Moving forward, however, we have a plan that supports both of our values and beliefs. He has agreed to replace my upper fillings using a dental dam and I have agreed to see a holistic dentist for the larger, and more complex, fillings in my lower jaw. He detailed his concerns about me having the necessary anaesthetic for these larger fillings in my lower jaw – this involves an injection next to a large artery that, if cut, can cause extensive bleeding which is less than ideal in any situation but could prove a major issue for me as I am on Avastin which can prevent blood clotting and healing. Rather than say that this is impossible, however, he gave me details of a holistic dentist that uses hypnosis to do dental procedures. Now that was an outcome I wasn’t expecting!

When I first started raising my concerns and views with my dentist and he voiced that his views were different from mine, my gut response was to walk away and never go back. I’m sure I childishly muttered something like “I need a new dentist” to my husband that evening. However, when I treated my dentist as a person and asked him to explain his views I created a dialogue that allowed him to listen to and value my views too.

As a result, I have been reminded, again, that this is the only way to move forward if we are to become holistically healthy. We won’t always have the same views as the people caring for us. Sometimes they are there to educate us, and sometimes we are there to inform them but, either way, this can only happen with mutation respect. However, walking away and seeking only people with the same views as us is not always the best answer, in fact, sometimes it may lead us to miss out on the optimal outcome….in my case a team of dentists, a saved budget and, potentially, dentistry under hypnosis to prevent bleeding (that part still feels a bit ‘eek!’)

So, I encourage you to have open discussions with the people in your health team whose views sometimes get your back up; to build a respectful relationship in which you listen to one another, even when you don’t agree; and to have an open mind about where these relationships can take you on your healing journey.

After all, isn’t this how we should view all relationships…

Love and light, Fi xx

Categories colaborative health care, health, holistic health

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