Spotlight on the Biological Dental Group at National Integrative Health Associates
Holistic and biological dentistry are terms used synonymously, notes Dr. Mark McClure of the Biological Dental Group at National Integrative Health Associates (NIHA), in Washington, D.C., near Chevy Chase. Holistic refers to the structure of how the mouth, teeth, jaw, head and neck are intricately connected to the whole body. Biologic refers to using products and remedies in dentistry that are the most biologically compatible with one’s health and well-being, such as herbs, homeopathic and other natural remedies (like ozone), non-toxic fillings and ceramic implants (without unhealthy mercury or titanium).
In addition, biologic implies that all dental interventions respect the natural development and processes of the body. McClure note, “As an example, instead of just moving a child’s teeth (orthodontics), we may realign jaw bones to accommodate the teeth, widen the arch to accommodate the tongue and airway, and assess the cranial rhythm/ lesions to positively affect the skull and spine development, using functional orthodontics.”
Biological dentistry refers to using the best of both conventional and holistic worlds, but in addition, understanding the root causes of diseases and dysfunctions. Clients with serious health issues such as cancer, autoimmune disease, brain degeneration, chronic pain, autism spectrum disorders or fatigue, may have some part of the root cause traced to the mouth. According to Dr. Klinghardt, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally renowned health expert, up to 80 percent of chronic health patients can trace their health condition to the mouth, requiring a holistic dentist’s intervention.
McClure and his colleagues at NIHA offer fillings, crown and bridges, extractions, children’s dentistry, orthodontics, periodontics (gum work) and dental implants utilizing a holistic, biologic approach, noting that dental treatments should impact the rest of the body as little as possible. At NIHA, all the practitioners are holistic and health-oriented and enjoy helping their patients with other health issues, or point them in the right direction to one of the medical practitioners within the clinic.
The dentists at NIHA note that holistic dentistry is particularly important for children because their bodies and brains are developing. Mercury fillings will never be used, and no fluoride will be used as it can be toxic for many. Each child’s oral development will be guided by the principles of functional orthodontics: move the jaws, correct the face forms and then straighten the teeth. McClure suggests, “This approach often prevents future TMJ problems, sleep apnea and other airway problems, as well as enhancing the cranial rhythms, which leads to better brain functions. We work with each child, including those with special needs, to minimize drugs and make the experience as non-invasive as possible.”
While there is no current formal training to be a holistic dentist, McClure and his colleagues have taken years of professional classes and training, joined holistic organizations and obtained degrees to lead them on the path to become not only a holistic person, but also a holistic professional.
For McClure, the journey into holistic dentistry started in 1979, involved thousands of hours of courses, involvement in many holistic organizations and an advanced degree in Integrative Medical Dentistry at Capital University of Integrative Medicine (CUIM). After graduating, he served as provost of CUIM for 10 years, working with leaders in the field of integrative medicine. His colleagues at NIHA have similar backgrounds.
NIHA, in operation since 1995, is the largest and oldest integrative medical and dental center on the East coast—possibly nationally. Spawned from CUIM, the dentists, physicians, naturopaths, health coaches, Chinese Medical doctors, chiropractors and others learn and evolve by working together. McClure notes, ”We have been privileged to participate in collaboration with a vast network of integrative medical and dental professionals from around the world—all forging this new American Medicine brand—based on finding and treating the root causes of health problems. We are creating a personal health system that places the patient at the center of the health team.
American New Medicine (Integrative Medicine) understands that given the right circumstances, the human body is self-correcting, and that professionals don’t heal but the whole human being—body, mind and spirit—is what can truly heal. Their assessment tools include genomics, functional medicine and energetic medicine, as well as conventional medicine to determine where the problem(s) originate, and then create effective and efficient strategies to obtain the healthy desired outcome.
Dr. McClure and his dental and medical colleagues are available for consultations, gatherings and any other way we can spread their message of health and hope to clients and others. Location: 5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW, #402, Washington DC. For more information, call 202-237-7000 or visit NIHADC.com/Biological-Dentistry/Biological-Dentistry.html.