Whether your dentist is a member of the IAOMT or not, it is very important that you know your dentist! Knowing your dentist means that you have a clear understanding of any treatment plans for you and how these treatments will be performed. The IAOMT advocates and promotes such patient-doctor dialogue, as it establishes a collaborative effort, reasonable expectations, mutual respect, and in the best case scenario, improved health.
Note also that just as every patient is unique, so is every dentist. Even within the membership of the IAOMT, each dentist has preferences for which treatments are performed and how they are performed. While we offer educational programs and resources to all of our members, it is up to the individual dentist as to which educational resources are utilized and how practices are implemented. This same concept can basically be applied to all doctors: In the end, each doctor makes decisions pertaining to practices and patients based on their own knowledge, experience, and professional judgement.
That being said, taking that time to know your dentist can be very helpful to you as patient. You might consider asking questions such as the following:
What is your position on the mercury issue? How much knowledge do you possess about dental mercury?
If a dentist is knowledgeable about the mercury issue and understands mercury biochemistry, it is likely they will take biological dentistry or the amalgam filling removal process seriously. Be concerned if you hear, “I don’t think the mercury in fillings is a big deal, but I’ll take it out if you like.” This is probably a dentist that isn’t very concerned about recommendations for safety measures.
Familiarize yourself with the terminology of dental practices associated with measures to reduce mercury exposures. There are a variety of methods dentists employ to address the harms of mercury, so it is essential to acknowledge the specific aims of each of these types of dentistry.
- “Mercury-free” is a term with a wide-range of implications, but it typically refers to dental practices that do not place dental mercury amalgam fillings.
- “Mercury-safe” typically refers to dental practices that use rigorous safety measures to limit or prevent mercury exposure, such as in the case of removing previously existing dental mercury amalgam fillings and replacing them with non-mercury