The Road Less Traveled
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In your life when confronted with two choices, do you take the road less traveled?
Let me tell you how I have…
I’m always curious to hear how people got into the world of integrative or holistic health because there’s always a journey that has led them to seek answers outside the traditional models.
As a biologic dentist, my clients will often ask me how long I’ve been practicing this way because their own journey has, for some reason, brought them to our clinic.
Like all my dentist peers, I was “traditionally” trained. There are no Holistic dental schools. However, afterward, I took the road less traveled and had to seek additional training to learn more biologic principles.
My own journey into biologic dentistry is woven together with that of another individual whom we will call Diane.
Diane's Story and My Story
Many years ago, early in my career, Diane came to my dental office with some hard questions. She’d sought me out because even though I was not yet biologically trained, I had become well known for providing high-quality biomimetic dentistry using less-invasive techniques and more biocompatible materials.
Diane had Lyme disease and had been dealing with chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivity, and other issues associated with systemic inflammation.
Her naturopath had been helping her through many of her issues with detox protocols, dietary changes, IV therapies, and Lyme specific treatments, and she had experienced a steady improvement.
However, her progress had reached a frustrating plateau and she was no longer progressing. Her naturopath, who had been trained in biodentistry in Germany suggested that Diane be evaluated for any dental issues.
Fast forward to my office…she asked me how her dental condition could be affecting her health and how we should resolve it. Well, I was at a crossroads and two paths lay before me.
The Road Less Traveled
On the one hand, my dental school training had provided no solutions to the type of questions she was asking, and I didn’t know where to find them.
- There was no statement by the American Dental Association about the toxic effects of mercury fillings.
- There was no official policy advocating the removal of root canals because they are a source of chronic infection and inflammation.
I felt that Diane would best be served by going to another dentist. I could have “kicked the can down the road” and wished her the best.
But… I like to have solutions, I like to help people. So I decided to have lunch with Diane’s physician and maybe gain some insight into why he felt so strongly that I could help our mutual patient.
That was the beginning of my journey.
This was how I took the road less traveled.
Dentists Have an Effect on Overall Health
This naturopath was not a “quack”, but well-spoken and more knowledgeable about dentistry than I’ve found most physicians to be. During this and other discussions together, he shared books with me and opened my eyes to the connections between the mouth and the rest of the body.
The implications were HUGE!
What he shared with me suggested that as dentists we could have significant effects on our patients health.
Well, I decided to seek some additional training. Together, Diane, her naturopath, and myself systematically began resolving her dental problems.
We began with careful removal of all mercury and metals from her mouth, using a mercury-safe protocol. After this step, her naturopath had her do IV chelation, detox, and other therapies, and she again began to progress in her health journey. We proceeded to remove root canals that were not painful but turned out to be infected. She again made some incremental improvements in her health.
This experience was transformational for me.
I saw that by following biologic principles as a dentist, I could influence the overall health of my patient.
Well, Diane moved on, and I imagine she is still progressing on her path to better health. I have finished a residency in naturopathic medicine and as part of the Total Care Dental team am caring for our family of patients and helping train other dentists.
There’s a poem I love by the American poet, Robert Frost about two roads that lay before a traveler.
I have chosen to take the one less traveled…and that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves, no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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Dr. Sergio Montes
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