Biological Dentistry FAQs
Both traditional and biological dentists attend dental school and uphold standards of care set by recognized governing bodies. The main difference between philosophies occurs within their approach to patient care. It is generally believed that traditional dentists diagnose and treat dental disease, often with an emphasis on prevention.
Biological dentists approach patient care with a more holistic view, seeking to understand the root cause of oral disharmony, treat the problem with modalities that do not adversely affect the health of the patient, and collaborate with the patient and their health care providers to achieve and maintain the most optimal oral and systemic health outcomes.
The term holistic dentistry dates back to the 1970s when it was made popular by the Holistic Dental Association which was developed in order to collaborate on methods of care that incorporated whole-body health. Since then, the field of holistic dentistry has continued to evolve as more understanding is gained about the role nutrition, environmental toxins, sleep, bite or TMJ disorders, and potentially toxic dental materials play in systemic health.
In more recent years, holistic dentistry has been referred to as biological dentistry. Some practitioners feel that this differentiation highlights the addition of greater surgical expertise within the field. Yet, although each individual dentist may resonate with one title over another, both terms are generally accepted as comparable.
- Root Canal Therapy/Alternatives
- Toxic Dental Materials, including:
- Metals (often related to amalgam/mercury dental application and dental implants)
- Cavitations or FDOJ (Fatty Degenerative Osteolysis of the Jawbone)
- Health Supportive Factors
- Mercury Safe Protocols
- Ozone Therapies
- Platelet-Rich Fibrin
- IV Supplementation
- Ceramic or Zirconia Implants
- Minimally Invasive Techniques
Dr. Sharon Dickerson has been practicing biological dental care for over 20 years. Throughout her career, she has worked diligently to remain educated on the innovative developments within the field. She has also invested ample time in creating a patient experience that is supportive, comprehensive, and transformative.
Dr. Dickerson has played an integral part in helping healthy patients maintain their well-being. She has also supported health-compromised patients (most notably those suffering from Lyme disease, mold toxicity, and autoimmune diseases) in making positive strides towards vitality by consulting with their medical and alternative health care providers. With this collaborative approach, dental treatment plans can be staged for optimal long-term outcomes for her patients.
Bioclear Dentistry FAQs
When treating damaged and decayed teeth with crowns or aesthetic problems with porcelain veneers, a certain portion of the tooth structure must be ground away. These traditional techniques have been shown to statistically increase the potential for nerve death within the tooth, which often leads to root canal treatment or extraction.
Conversely, when addressing damaged teeth or aesthetic concerns with Bioclear, the natural tooth formation is largely maintained. In turn, this vastly minimizes the risk of nerve damage and/or tooth loss. Furthermore, the unique Bioclear process incorporates techniques that have been shown to reduce post-care sensitivity, strengthen tooth structure, and deliver stunningly beautiful results.
Stemming from a variety of causes, nearly 30% of adults present with gingival embrasures, more commonly known as black triangles. Not only can these dark spaces be of cosmetic concern for patients, but they also create an environment where food debris often becomes trapped, leading to plaque buildup and decay. Bioclear offers an innovative solution for repairing black triangles, creating a more stable oral environment and thus ultimately elevating the vitality of the entire systemic body.
- Unlike traditional crowns and veneers, Bioclear offers a long-lasting solution with durability that can extend 10 years or longer.
- Bioclear provides a stain-resistant composition and is designed to allow for easy repairs if/when necessary.
- Bioclear offers a more affordable option when compared with treatment such as large crowns and/or porcelain veneers on back teeth.
When determining if Bioclear is appropriate for you, Dr. Dickerson will begin by facilitating a comprehensive exam. During this appointment, they will seek to understand your highest oral health priorities while also diagnosing the root cause of any disharmony within the oral environment. With this knowledge, you and the doctor can then decide if Bioclear offers the best solution for your unique dental requirements.
Bioesthetic Dentistry FAQs
- Disharmony within the bite can be associated with a wide array of signs and symptoms:
- Intra-Oral Indications: broken teeth, worn teeth, or gum recession
- Systemic Symptoms: sore/tender jaw muscles, chronic headaches, neck/shoulder pain, limited ability to open mouth widely, clenching or grinding, jaw clicking or popping, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), digestive problems, and difficulty chewing
At Dr. Sharon Dickerson, our process of thorough diagnosis begins with the comprehensive exam. During this appointment, the patient and Dr. Dickerson will begin by reviewing the patient’s dental concerns, oral and holistic health history, and primary goals for care. With this information in mind, the dentist will then proceed with an intra-oral examination. Dr. Dickerson will implement her expertise by carefully analyzing the mouth for any signs of disharmony between the bite and the jaw joints. Oftentimes, this process also includes capturing a detailed analysis of 2D and 3D imagery (utilizing our advanced low-radiation x-ray machines). Through this gentle process, any indication of TMJ or bite problems will be systematically uncovered and discussed.
Dr. Sharon Dickerson has been practicing this technique of bite rejuvenation for over 20 years and now serves on the Board of Education for the accrediting body OBI.
“Bioesthetic dentistry is the only discipline that uses optimal natural dental system biology as the guide for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment. The best human dental systems are not random. The scientific validity of this approach has been proven at the clinical level with quantifiable, existence-based, living morphology.”
– James R. Benson, DDS
In practice, the jaw is gently stabilized into its most physiologically stable position. Natural tooth form is then added where necessary to bring the jaw and the bite into long-term harmony. This organic approach serves as a major differentiating factor between this form of bite therapy and other modalities.
- After completing the bite rejuvenation process, our patients experience restored equilibrium of the oral structures. This modality routinely:
- Relieves symptoms related to jaw and bite discrepancies
- Promotes and maintains a healthy chewing system
- Supports systemic health and lymphatic flow
- Positively impacts the nervous system
- Creates a sustainable, natural, and youthful smile
- Restores comfort and functionality of the bite
Solea® Laser FAQs
Solea® is the top-selling soft, hard, and osseous tissue laser in the field of dentistry. It is the first laser of its kind to be approved by the FDA and utilizes a sophisticated computer to deliver a unique wavelength. It features isotopic CO2 technology that produces a very narrow, intense beam of light energy. As a result, this laser is able to gently reshape and/or remove oral soft and hard tissues (i.e., gingiva, dentin, enamel, and bone tissues) with fast and safe precision.
- The Solea® dental laser offers many benefits that greatly enhance the patient experience:
- Reduced Need for Needles & Drills: Nearly all dental treatments are able to be accomplished with the Solea® laser, which significantly decreases the need for needles and drills. This offers patients a more comfortable appointment and shortened recovery time.
- Reduced Need for Anesthetic Injections: The Solea® laser harnesses a wavelength of light that delivers thousands of pulses per second and results in an analgesic (numbing) effect. Thus, it temporarily removes sensation on the targeted surface. As a result, most patients can receive care without the need for anesthetic injections and prolonged numbing.
- Clinically Beneficial: Solea® affords many clinical benefits to the patient. It often minimizes bleeding, reduces the need for sutures, sterilizes treatment sites and lowers risk of bacterial infection, promotes healing of wounds, expedites tissue regeneration, and involves less damage to surrounding soft tissue.
- Peaceful Procedures: With the need for noisy drilling greatly reduced, patients are able to enjoy a much quieter and calmer experience.
- Shorter Visits: Since patients do not have to wait for anesthesia, appointments are able to be completed in a much shorter time frame.
- Efficient Appointments: By offering shorter procedure times, the Solea® laser enables the doctor and patient to accomplish more care in a single visit. This translates into fewer appointments and less time commitment from patients.
- Enjoyable Experience: With needle-free, drill-free, comfortable, and shortened dental appointments, Solea® helps to eliminate the dread that some patients can feel when approaching dental care. Rather, it creates a positive and uplifting experience that results in oral vitality.
Solea® can be used in the majority of dental procedures including routine cavity fillings, crown placements/removals, and restoration of old fillings.
Solea® is safe and effective for pregnant women. It is also safe for those who have preexisting health conditions, pacemakers, and orthodontic devices. Due to its biocompatible (and radiation-free) nature, it is also supportive for those who are immunocompromised.
Implementation of Solea® technology during dental procedures is relatively safe when operated by a qualified and experienced dentist. While there are potential side effects to consider in any dental procedure, those related to laser dentistry are much less significant when compared to traditional methods. The most common potential side effects are damage to surrounding gum tissue and/or injury to the tooth pulp. However, when managed by a skilled professional, these risks are minimal.
Minimally Invasive Dentistry FAQs
- Preserves as much of the natural tooth structure as possible, which vastly minimizes the risk of nerve damage and/or tooth loss
- Often less expensive than more invasive reconstruction (e.g., a dental crown)
- Regularly used as a means of treating dental caries/cavities at early stages, thus preventing progressive levels of decay that may have required more complex treatment if left unattended
- Improved comfort during dental procedures as a result of more gentle treatment (less drilling)
- Supportive method of care for those patients seeking a trauma/anxiety-informed approach to their dentistry
Methods of dentistry considered to be more invasive are procedures that involve the manipulation of the gum tissues, extraction or implantation of teeth, and degradation of the natural tooth structure to a significant degree. While these methods of dental care are sometimes necessary, Dr. Dickerson first performs a comprehensive diagnosis to determine if a more subtle approach may be viable. The goal is to address the root cause of disharmony in the mouth while inflicting the least amount of trauma to the oral and systemic environment.
Depending on the severity of diagnosis, some form of drilling may still be necessary in minimally invasive care. However, the goal is to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible. Therefore, any grinding or drilling would be done with a very conservative approach.
- Bioclear – a cutting-edge technique used for smile rejuvenation and treatment of black triangles
- Bite Rejuvenation – this unique approach to TMJ and jaw disharmony requires no surgical manipulation
- Advanced X-Ray Imaging – used to pinpoint diagnosis and target care
- Dental Microscope – our state-of-the-art Global A-Series Dental Microscope allows Dr. Dickerson to diagnose and treat patients with enhanced precision
- Laser Dentistry – allows for precise and gentle care that often minimizes the need for anesthesia or drilling
Dental Implant FAQs
Dental implants are one possible form of restoration when there is tooth loss and replacement is necessary. A dental implant is a surgical element that affixes within the jaw in order to provide a stable support for a dental prosthesis (e.g., a crown).
- Cosmetic Advantage: Metal implants often present a gray hue through the gums or around the edges of the crown. Ceramic implants are white and mimic natural teeth exquisitely.
- Metal-Free: Research continues to suggest that the dental application of metal implants can result in negative health implications for the patient. Therefore, the use of non-metal ceramic implants avoids any such potential ramifications.
- Immunologically Neutral/Biocompatible: Zirconia has no free surface electrons, making it an inert material. Thus, studies show that it does not act as an interference field within the energetic meridians of the body.
- Healthy Integration: Growing research indicates that zirconia poses little to no risk for peri-implantitis. In other words, it generally heals readily to healthy bone and rarely accumulates inflammatory bacteria. Therefore, many of the leading biological dentists find zirconia implants to have higher long-term success rates than metal implants.
As with any care provided at Dr. Sharon Dickerson, the decision to use ceramic implants first begins with a comprehensive exam and a thorough diagnosis using advanced 3D radiographic images when necessary. If after this conversation the patient and doctor determine that a ceramic implant is the ideal choice for treatment, then we will begin assisting the patient in preparation for that process.
Dr. Dickerson and our team implement special measures to ensure each patient is sincerely and holistically cared for before, during, and after their dental procedure, taking any steps feasible to safeguard optimal results and a positive experience
Once the ceramic implant has fully integrated and healed, Dr. Dickerson will replace the temporary prosthetic with a long-term solution (e.g., a permanent crown) that is custom fabricated to enhance the patient’s smile. During the delivery of this prosthetic, a holistic approach is taken to provide optimal functionality, esthetics, and biocompatibility.
Trauma-Informed Dentistry FAQs
Emotional trauma is the result of events or experiences that lead one to feel deeply unsafe. The source of this trauma can manifest following one isolated incident or repeated/chronic experiences (e.g., abuse, bullying, discrimination, or humiliation). While an emotionally traumatic experience may also encompass an element of physical harm, emotional trauma can be sustained without any physical harm.
Emotional trauma is characterized by a persistent sensation of being unsafe and may result in feelings such as fear and/or anxiety. One may also have physical responses to trauma such as insomnia, disassociation, and health issues. If not addressed supportively at the time, traumatic memories may be stored in our psyche and body. This can result in trauma imprinting or repressed memories which may then present at a future date in triggering contexts.
- Sensitivity of Mouths
On a biological level, the human mouth is a very sensitive area of the body. “In fact, it’s estimated that up to 46% of the sensory nerves responsible for motor control and feeling run through the face.” The teeth are host to a complex system of sensory receptors. Each individual tooth is also related to an acupuncture meridian which connects to various organs, tissues, and glands throughout the body. The facial lips contain over a million separate nerve endings, causing them to be one of the most sensitive parts of the human body (100 times more sensitive than a fingertip). Lastly, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) encompasses hormone receptors which heavily inform our autonomic nervous system (involuntary bodily actions). Thus, it is apparent that the oral environment is an inherently sensitive area of the body on a physiological level.
Furthermore, it is believed that our mouths also relate to our emotional and energetic well-being. As a prominent physical feature on our faces, the mouth often holds a symbolic value in one’s self-esteem. It also serves as our means of verbally expressing ourselves and communicating with others, an experience that can incorporate a wide breadth of emotion. In the chakra methodology, the mouth is categorized within the throat, or Vishuddha chakra, indicating its relationship to the emotional expression of truth, purpose, creativity, and individuality.
Due to the sensitive physical and emotional nature of the human mouth, it is logical that this part of our body may be more susceptible to trauma.
- Patient Vulnerability
For the patient, the experience of receiving dental care inherently demands a high level of vulnerability. Oftentimes, the patient is in a reclined position, being asked to expose a very sensitive area of their body (the mouth), and entrusting an acquaintance (the dentist) to perform treatment while the patient is either conscious or sedated. The implied level of trust in this professional relationship is immense and can create a context of discomfort for many people. This discomfort can instigate an emotional trigger.
- Previous Traumatic Experiences with Dentistry
Unfortunately, it is possible that one may have had a traumatic experience related to previous dentistry. Thus, the event of returning to a dentist for further oral care may trigger a negative emotional response. Research shows that 77% of adults plan to visit the dentist within a year but only 37% of them do so. Of those who do not proceed with an appointment, 22% cite that “fear of the dentist” is the primary reason.
- Dental Shame
Based on a survey conducted by the American Dental Association, 35% of Americans are embarrassed about their oral health and 33% avoid smiling because of their oral condition. This emotional relationship to oral wellness is often linked to feelings of shame and can prevent someone from seeking care for fear of being judged. This subsequently creates a predicament (i.e., “snowball effect”) in which the patient delays care, the disease worsens, the patient becomes even more ashamed, and is, ultimately, less likely to seek care. When circumstances such as this develop, going to the dentist becomes an emotionally traumatic undertaking.
- Consent – Beginning with the very first phone call, our team is trained to ask the patient’s consent at every step of the process. We want each patient to feel that they are in total control of their body and decision-making.
- Calming Experience – Our office was uniquely designed to cultivate a comfortable, nurturing, and safe atmosphere. We utilize soft lighting, non-intrusive music, heated & massage chairs, and pastel décor. We help orient new patients to our facility and ensure that each individual gets ample, uninterrupted time with the doctor.
- Cultivating Trust – In order for patients to feel at ease receiving care, it is critical for Dr. Dickerson to first develop a level of trust. Each new patient at our office begins with an hour-long conversation with the doctor. This affords both individuals a time to become better acquainted and comfortable. From there, Dr. Dickerson aims to instill increasing levels of trust by demonstrating her clinical expertise.
- Empowering – Our practice aims to empower each individual to make proactive and informed decisions about their health. It is our goal to offer supportive and approachable options for implementing steps towards oral vitality.
- Gentle Care – Dr. Dickerson is focused on practicing minimally invasive dentistry and is specially trained to perform procedures with gentle movements.
- Well Informed – Dr. Sharon Dickerson completed her bachelor’s degree in both psychology and biology. She has continued to invest in further education related to behavioral well-being over the course of her career. It is her personal hope to ensure that any individual in her care feels emotionally & physically safe and understood at all times.
Comprehensive Dental Analysis FAQs
At Dr. Sharon Dickerson, our patients are invited into our practice by means of a comprehensive exam. The first portion of this appointment centers around the patient and doctor first connecting in our welcoming consultation room, Amethyst. During this conversation, the doctor will guide a dialog that empowers the patient to share their highest oral health priorities, while also sharing relevant aspects of their systemic health history and personal story. This intentional discussion most often results in the patient feeling understood, supported, and truly acknowledged. The outcomes of this exchange are then carefully factored in to each step of the patient’s dental care.
The second portion of the comprehensive exam focuses on the clinical diagnosis, utilizing innovative technology in order to construct an accurate diagnosis of the current status of the patient’s oral health. This diagnosis is carefully imparted to the patient in a manner that is educational, approachable, and informative. Based on this conversation, the doctor will then offer possible means for addressing any care necessary to restore oral vitality, ensuring that the proposed treatment remains in alignment with the patient’s previously articulated goals. Ultimately, the results of the comprehensive exam are translated into a thoughtfully customized plan for treatment.
Dr. Sharon Dickerson is focused on creating treatment plans for our patients that consciously address the underlying causes of dis-ease within the mouth. In other words, the planned dental care is targeted towards resolving the inherent causes of toxicity and disharmony. Our doctors follow a systematic approach that ensures optimal results, remaining ever cognizant of the patient’s whole-body health, financial resources, and primary concerns.
Our vitality-based treatment plans are presented through thoughtful one-on-one conversation, ensuring that the patient has ample time to express any questions or concerns. Each customized treatment plan will address the following:
- The proposed procedures for biological dental care (indicating the areas of the mouth that will be treated)
- Information about which practitioner will be performing the dental care at each stage of the process
- Estimated fees for each appointment
- Options for staging and prioritizing care over time
All too often, patients have previously only experienced transactional dentistry. This method of care does not focus on addressing the underlying causes of oral disharmony, nor does it provide long-term solutions. Rather, it fosters a dynamic in which the patient receives “band-aid” care, only addressing the acute issues as they present.
At Dr. Sharon Dickerson, we make every effort to ensure that our patients receive an elevated level of biological dental care. Our doctors and team have carefully crafted a methodology of care that provides lasting results, restoring oral vitality and often supporting the renewal of systemic health as well.
We invite you to connect with our office and discuss whether our approach may be in alignment with your needs. Our friendly team will be delighted to share more with you about our comprehensive exam, vitality-based treatment planning, and biological dental care.