Recently I interviewed Dr. Eric Kempter, who is my biological dentist. And so not surprisingly, Dr. Kempter and I chatted about biological dentistry and thyroid health. If you would prefer to listen the interview you can access it by Clicking Here.
Dr. Eric Osansky: It’s pretty cool that I get to interview another Dr. Eric. With me, I have Dr. Eric Kempter, who is an accredited member of the IAOMT along with serving as the chair of their student scholarship program, which allows students to attend IAOMT meetings at no charge. He is also certified in atraumatic restorative treatment, ozone therapy, and a member of both the Academy of Laser Dentistry and the American Laser Study Club. Dr. Kempter provides specialized services at Kempter Holistic Dentistry. He is one of only a few infant lip and tongue tie release providers as well as treating all ages for lip and tongue tie releases. He is also a certified Invisalign provider, ozone treatment provider, and certified platelet rich provider. I also need to mention he is my dentist. It is a pleasure chatting with another Dr. Eric. Thanks so much for being here.
Dr. Eric Kempter: You’re very welcome. I’m happy to be here. It’s interesting I get to talk to another Dr. Eric. It doesn’t happen for me very often either. This is a fun thing for me to do. Glad I can come on and talk a little bit about what I do.
Dr. Eric O: Why don’t we start by how you started doing biological dentistry? If you could give a bit of your backstory, I’m sure the listeners would enjoy it.
Dr. Eric K: It’s not just me in our practice. We also have my older brother, Dr. John Kempter. I will give him credit that he did get me interested in dentistry at first. I can thank him for pushing me down the dental path.
As far as biologic dentistry, I don’t think most people go into dental school thinking they want to be a holistic or biologic dentist. It’s something you come to the conclusion of after doing your research and critically thinking about some things you’re being taught at dental school.
How we got into this, it was a journey with my brother and me at the same time. My grandfather actually had a pretty bad case of Alzheimer’s. John and I both have degrees in chemistry and backgrounds in microbiology. He had had a mentor that he worked with that started mentioning safe mercury removal and this organization called the IAOMT. That’s the International Academy of Oral Medicine Toxicology. It’s a fancy, long acronym for the biologic dental association or holistic dental association. We got talking when I was in dental school. He did some research into the IAOMT. We attended a meeting together. It’s history from there.
It opened our eyes to a lot of things about the danger of using amalgam or mercury fillers. It’s dangerous to us as practitioners because if we had a grandfather that had Alzheimer’s with a mouth full of mercury fillers, now we are in a profession where nobody seems to care about drilling these things into people’s mouths. We worried about our long-term occupational exposure. I certainly didn’t want to end up down that path. We started there.
Of course, in biologic dentistry, you start with mercury removal and end up down a bunch of rabbit holes. You get trained in all these different things. You start putting the big picture together: how your mouth ties into your overall systemic health. It’s not just drilling and filling cavities; it’s looking at everything from a 30,000-foot view and how all the puzzle pieces fit together.
My brother had opened the practice when I was in dental school as a traditional family dental practice. Once I got out, we took a deep dive and wanted to be honest with people about being a holistic practice. We changed our name to Kempter Holistic Dentistry.
Dr. Eric O:The name, Kempter Holistic Dentistry. I want you to talk a little bit about the difference between biological dentistry, conventional dentistry, and even if you might want to expand on the difference between- Years ago, before seeing you, I actually saw a holistic dentist who really wasn’t a holistic dentist. They did some holistic things, but they weren’t really a biological dentist. If you could talk about the differences between conventional dentists and what someone would look for if they are truly looking for a biological dentist, someone who will get into the root canals and all that.
Dr. Eric K: In terms of biologic and holistic, that is pretty much apples and oranges. They are both fruits. They are both relatively the same thing. What makes us holistic versus a conventional dentist, especially, is knowing what we’re putting in your mouth, looking at things from a 30,000-foot view, working with people like yourself, working with some sort of systemic doctor to make sure that oral health is not negatively contributing to your overall body’s health. On top of that, more things like using laser, using ozone. There are dentists out there who advertise as holistic, but they just dabble a bit. I’m not sure if it’s because they don’t believe in just about everything we believe in in holistic dentistry, or they are worried about having some sort of consequence for it. We’re not. We want to provide the best for our patients.
For holistic stuff, using things like PRF. Making sure we are not using toxic things. Not settling for using things like root canals. Saying, “That stuff is not healthy for you.” We will get into fluoride and root canals, and I will explain why. The best way I can put it is there are some dentists out there who just dabble.
If you want a holistic or biologic dentist that is actually certified, make sure they are an accredited member of the IAOMT. On their website, they have a search directory. The accredited members will be highlighted. That indicates somebody who has done extra training. They have been vetted for sure for the IAOMT. They make you send pictures of your procedures, state your removal process. They are making sure you are doing it the right way. Anybody can sign up for the IAOMT, but you want an accredited member because they have been properly vetted at that point.
As for what other things to look for, is that dentist offering root canals? That’s a big one. We don’t do them here in our office. It’s not that we don’t say patients can’t go get one. People can make whatever decision they want to. We openly don’t recommend them. There are more biologic and healthy options. If you see someone who says, “I think you should go get a root canal,” that’s a pretty big red flag in my book in terms of how holistic they are.
Knowledge of the materials you’re using. We do compatibility testing with our patients if we are concerned about reactivity. We know about what materials we’re using. You can ask us questions about it, and we have knowledge of what it does and whether it’s biologically compatible or not.
The other thing we do differently from a traditional dentist is we don’t believe in metal in the mouth. We will talk about titanium implants. There is an exception to the rule, but in certain instances with certain people. For the most part, you are not born with metal in your body, so you should not have metal put into your mouth, the gateway of your body, because it’s not naturally supposed to be there. There will be an immune reaction to it. It might be small, but it creates an electric charge in your mouth. It shouldn’t be there naturally, so we believe it shouldn’t be there. That is the most basic thing I can say. If it’s not natural or biologically compatible, we are not going to use it.
Dr. Eric O: Speaking of root canals, that was my experience when I went to a so-called holistic dentist. There was a tooth that was too far gone. He was trying to convince me to get a root canal. I knew that biological dentists didn’t recommend root canals. I found you on IAOMT, which I’m glad I did. As you said, they can go through a weekend conference and still be listed on the website. As you mentioned, they need to be certified because there is a big difference between attending a conference and going through the certification.
Dr. Eric K: The IAOMT, I love them as an organization. But they will put your information in the directory if you have been to a conference. This goes for just about any doctor you see. You have to do your research. Look at somebody’s website. Get a vibe for what they are all about. What is their knowledge level? You can read on the website however many meetings they have attended and whether or not they are accredited. There are people on there that aren’t even safe mercury amalgam removal technique certified. If you have attended a conference, you will be on that directory. It’s something I hope they’ll change in the future. I’ll have to push them toward that at some point.
Dr. Eric O: Agreed. Can you dig a little bit deeper into root canals? Why biologic dentists don’t recommend root canals. Why you don’t either in your practice.
Dr. Eric K: If somebody is asking me their opinion on an existing root canal, or whether they should get one or not, I think the dentist community does a bad job of explaining what exactly they are, what the purpose of a root canal is. If I were to ask you, Dr. Eric, what would you say the purpose of a root canal is? If you were to go to a conventional dentist, and you asked them why you needed one, what would they typically say? It’s okay to say that you don’t know.
Dr. Eric O: As far as why they would recommend one, it’s to save the tooth. It’s a less extensive procedure than having an implant, is some of the rationale they would give behind it. You can clean out the canals, which we know is not true.
Dr. Eric K: I don’t think they even get into the canals. For your basic dental consumer or patient, they are going to tell you, “Hey, this tooth still really hurts, and the pain is not going away, so you need a root canal.” They don’t explain what the purpose of it is. You have done research, so you know, given your situation previously, what a root canal is trying to attempt.
Basically, what they are trying to do is disinfect the inside of the tooth. In a situation where you need a root canal, either the nerve has died, and there is pain, or a cavity has gotten too deep, and there has been a bacterial infection into the pulp of your tooth, which is not just your nerve, but it’s your blood supply, your artery and vein that goes into the life of your tooth basically. Your pulp is not just the main root canal that they treat. The inside of a tooth is that main branch, but it’s like a tree. It’s almost like a mini circulatory system inside of a tooth. There are all these accessory canals that come off of that main canal that range in size from pretty big to microscopic. Bacteria are pretty small, so it can live in just about any part of that. It reproduces asexually, so it doesn’t need a partner. It can just grow and grow and grow inside the tooth.
A root canal, they will try to shape the main canal, so they can get their liquid bleach in there. They actually teach you in dental school to call it sodium hypochlorite. Those of us with a chemistry degree know that’s conventional household bleach. They will have a special version that is dental rated. They are trying to put that liquid bleach down into that tooth to try to disinfect that tooth. That liquid cannot physically penetrate all of those accessory canals.
An interesting statistic that they figured out with cone beam technology is that there is almost up to three miles of canal structure inside one tooth if you stretched it all out. A single upper molar, you can find up to three miles’ worth of canal, which is insane to me, that you can find that much in a single tooth. I don’t think liquid bleach is traveling three miles. While it’s disinfecting that first part of the canal, it won’t get everywhere. If you leave a single bacteria inside that tooth, it’s going to reproduce at some point, especially the type of bacteria that is down inside a tooth. It’s anaerobic. It does not need oxygen to survive. It likes an environment that doesn’t have any light in it. A root canal inside of a tooth, you go and seal it off, and you seal this bacteria off inside this tooth with no oxygen, no light. You have given it the exact environment it needs. Essentially, you have left the dead, infected tooth in your mouth. Yeah, it doesn’t hurt because you don’t have a nerve in there.
From a biologic standpoint, as a holistic dentist, my problem with it is that it is a locus of infection. Your immune system has to contend with it. Especially given your expertise with the thyroid, it can exacerbate autoimmune issues. If you have underlying thyroid problems, that is not a great thing to have.
There are certain associations with teeth called meridians. We believe that if you put a root canal there, you are blocking a meridian. You will have some dysfunction, some association with some other area of the body. The most common one that I hear, and we have observed in terms of a correlation, is upper molar root canals and breast cancer. A study was done in Germany where researchers found that out of a select pool of their cancer patients, 97% of them had an upper molar root canal onthe same side as their breast cancer. Knowing that there is that correlation—and I’m not saying cause and effect, I’m saying correlation, so there is an observation they noticed—that is enough for me to sayI wouldn’t recommend a root canal pretty much anywhere in anybody’s mouth. Who knows what systemically it’s going to do?
The other problem I have with it is you hear about people needing root canals retreated, or it got reinfected. “I had this one done X number of years ago, and now I am back with a huge infection in it. ”They will say, “It got reinfected.” Yeah, it got reinfected with the same bacteria that was already inside the tooth. It just happened to find its way outside the tooth. You will then pull this thing anyway. It’s rare you will have it retreated a third time. I wouldn’t go back into the well a third time if something fell twice.
We feel in our practice, and this is our professional opinion based off some of the research we have done and some of the clinical observations we have made in our office: If you have a tooth that is failing with pain and bacterial infiltration, it is a much healthier and safer option to have that tooth removed, as daunting as that sounds. It’s healthier for you to have that infected, dead tooth taken out of your mouth.
It’s 2022. We have great replacement options for teeth. Implants work great. Is it a longer procedure? Does it take a little bit more work to do it? Yeah. This is our health we’re talking about here. In the grand scheme of things, the whole implant process can take as short as four months. Usually, our average is about six months start to finish. That is a relatively short period of time in somebody’s life, to have a healthy situation rather than having a root canal in your mouth for 15 years, dumping endotoxins into your system, and causing potential other problems.
That’s our main issue with these root canals. They can cause more problems, and it’s not worth it for us just to keep holding onto a tooth when we have a better replacement option that’s healthier for you.
Dr. Eric O: I think I heard on another podcast where a holistic dentist was talking about possibly Lyme being harbored in the root canal. Have you heard about that when it comes to infections?
Dr. Eric K: I have heard they are similar bacteria. The one thing I have heard, and the thing they have observed, and this is traditional researchers doing this, traditional allopathic medicine. If you scraped the plaque inside of a clogged artery, somebody who has had a heart attack, the bacteria that populates that plaque build-up in the coronary artery is the same bacteria. The only other place it’s found in the body is endodontic infections in teeth. The American Academy of Cardiac Prevention, if you check their website, they will tell you 96% of all heart attack-associated problems stem from bacteria in the mouth. Root canals are a huge source of that.
Dr. Eric O: Not physically removing the root canals, but assuming someone doesn’t have root canals, and that also leads into the importance of regular dental hygiene, seeing a dentist a few times a year, flossing. Some people will blow off the impact of gingivitis or periodontitis. That can be a big deal as well as far as cardiovascular health, it sounds like.
Dr. Eric K: If you have a periodontal disease in any fashion, bear in mind gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease. I’m not saying it’s localized. Everyone gets a little bit of bleeding here and there. If you have general gingivitis with constant bleeding, that same bacteria is going to affect cardiovascular health. People with periodontal disease, there is a much higher correlation with high blood pressure, diabetes, the chances of having cardiovascular problems. That same bacteria they find in the coronary arteries is not just endodontic infections; there is gum infections and periodontal infections that play the same role in that.
If your front door is dirty in your house, you have mud and all kinds of unsafe situations there. You are dragging all these things into your house. That is the best analogy I have. If your mouth is dirty, you are swallowing bacteria constantly; you are introducing bacteria not only through your bloodstream, but also through your digestive system, your gut health. It’s going to make it through there. This is one of the only accesses into your body. We only have so many, and your mouth is by far the biggest one and the one that is most used.
Dr. Eric O: What are your thoughts about oil pulling? If you have periodontal disease, oil pulling won’t reverse that, but as far as a preventative measure along with brushing and flossing?
Dr. Eric K: It’s the best adjunct in terms of mouth, that’s for sure. If everybody had 14 minutes a day to do oil pulling, we overall as a country would have much better oral hygiene. It’s such an effective natural way to do it. Everybody likes the minty flavors of mouth rinse. If you asked my colleague Dr. Gerry Curatola up in New York, who is a big-time oral microbiome specialist, anything that has alcohol, mint, anything like that is going to destroy your microbiome.
Coconut oil pulling or sesame oil pulling is not going to affect good bacteria like that. It will pull the bad bacteria out. There is a reaction that happens there. It’s the one thing that I see clinically in my practice. If I have a patient that has a gingivitis problem, and they change their oral hygiene habits to add oil pulling, it’s a night and day difference between that first recall and that next recall for your cleaning appointment. It’s something I highly recommend. People have been doing it for thousands of years. There are records of it from thousands of years ago.
I wish some of these oil pulling direction websites would have this on there: If you have mercury fillings in your mouth, do not oil pull. It will pull mercury off of those fillings. You will dose yourself with mercury moreso than even just chewing or drinking a hot cup of coffee. It is areally bad thing to do. I have patients say, “I have been oil pulling for the last six months,” and there is a mouth full of mercury. I tell them to stop until we get all of it out. If you have no mercury fillings in your mouth, and you want to add it in as your adjunct, it is by far the best adjunct you can use.
Dr. Eric O: Good to know about the mercury. That makes sense to me. With that being said, if you don’t mind shifting to talking about mercury a little bit. One question I have along those lines is: Is there risk with doing other things, like taking chelators or alpha lipoic acid, things that people use to detox mercury, if you have mercury amalgams?
Dr. Eric K: Detox is definitely not my specialty. I obviously do work with a lot of people that do it. From a logical standpoint, if you try to do a detox, and you still have these things in here that are dosing you with mercury, it’s kind of pointless, if you think about it. Most of my naturopathic referral sources and colleagues I work with, they almost require their patients to have all their mercury out before they go through any sort of detox protocol. Again, it doesn’t make sense to be dosing yourself in your mouth with mercury, releasing mercury vapor, and then you detox. You are just rebuilding up the mercury again. Especially heavy metal detoxes, makes no sense. My recommendation from a dental standpoint, you need to have your mercury fillings taken out.
Dr. Eric O: What do you say to patients who have had their fillings for 20-30 years, and they seem fine? They have 5-6 fillings, or only one or two. They’re not convinced that mercury is causing harm.
Dr. Eric K:That is ultimately their choice. I’m a big proponent of patient choice. If somebody says, “Doc, I’ve had these mercury fillings for 25 years, and I have never had a problem with them. I’d rather keep them in my mouth.” That’s your choice. We are not going to polish those fillings when you come for cleanings because that will expose my staff if they are not wearing the proper safety gear. I always explain to them it’s healthier to have them out. By no means do I force those people.
The analogy I try to give them is you might smoke cigarettes for 20 years and not have a problem. That doesn’t mean at year 22/23/24/25 and so on and so forth, you might not find some lung cancer after that. It’s something I’d rather be safe than sorry about. Ultimately, when it comes down to it, if they don’t want to remove it, that’s their choice. I can arm them with the information to make that conscious health decision.
Dr. Eric O: That is where I was getting at. You can’t force them to get their amalgams out. As far as education, just because they are feeling good, doesn’t mean that A) maybe it’s causing some underlying problems they are not currently aware of, or B) it may cause problems down the line as you mentioned. Of course, most people listening to this have a thyroid or autoimmune thyroid condition. There could be that connection, too. I don’t know if you want to talk about, or me to talk about how mercury can affect thyroid or immune system.
Dr. Eric K: It’s your podcast. I’m all for it. I love hearing about thyroid issues. It just reinforces the toxicity of these mercury fillings.
Dr. Eric O: Yeah, the immune response is my concern. Most people with thyroid conditions, as you mentioned, Hashimoto’s, the most common autoimmune thyroid condition. I have a history of Graves’. Everybody has different triggers. If someone comes in with Graves’ or Hashimoto’s, and they have a bunch of mercury amalgams, I can’t say definitively that’s what’s responsible. It’s just a potential trigger. There are a number of different potential triggers.
Like you said, in a perfect world, you’d want to get those removed. Not everybody I work with will get them removed. There are numerous reasons: cost associated with that or fear of going to the dentist. Ideally, in the future, you would want to get those removed, if not presently.
Dr. Eric K: Yeah, the way I try to explain it when I have someone with a health issue, and they are asking me what the benefit is of taking the mercury fillings out. The better example: You have a crown that is porcelain fused to metal crowns. A lot of crowns that were done back in the ‘80s and ‘90s due to constraints of labs, they used to do these metal-based crowns that they layered porcelain on to look like teeth. The problem with those is 1) they are made of nickel, and 2) we can’t see what’s underneath them. If you have an underlying issue, or potential for it, I would rather know than not know what’s underneath these things.
If you’re having an issue, while you said, taking the mercury out may not be the trigger that fixes their problems, I look at it as more like an elimination diet. You want to take any potential cause out, especially people with thyroid or other odd health issues. A lot of my patients are coming to me because traditional Western medicine has failed to help them with their problem. They are going down the natural way of approaching different things. Dentistry is one of those things where I get the question a lot, “Doc, is taking my mercury out going to fix my problem?” I don’t know. I know it’s not healthy for you. It very well could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back here in your situation. We have seen that. It’s just not healthy to have it. If I am in a situation where I have a thyroid issue or a gut issue, I’m going to want to make sure that my playing field is completely clear. I want to give my body the best chance to heal itself, to fix this issue, that I possibly can.
Dr. Eric O: It’s similar with root canals, too. If someone has a chronic health issue, and if they have one or more root canals, you can’t guarantee that removing the root canal will cure or help to restore their health, but maybe it’s a factor. Maybe it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back, and it’s a piece of the puzzle.
Dr. Eric K: It could be part of the equation. You could have root canals causing this bacterial buildup, and it could be one of the things that is making an autoimmune issue worse. It could be one of the things plus another couple issues that is causing your problem. We happen to catch people at the end, and this happens to be the last thing they need done that will solve their issue. We see really crazy health turnarounds with people.
I have others who are sick and do all this stuff, and they need other work done. They need other detox done. Sometimes, I get some discouraged patients, but I try to explain the elimination diet. This is just one piece of the puzzle. You need to see a naturopath. You need to check out other things. Get chiropractic care. Make sure we are on top of all that stuff. Optimize your body for healing. You may find that they go to another practitioner, get ozone IV therapy, something like that, that detoxes them out. The next thing you know, they are doing great. It just all depends.
For our side of things, we know these things are not good for you. The ADA may get mad at me. I know root canals are not good for you. I say it in the sense that there are better options out there. Nobody can prove to me that a root canal is going to last longer than an implant. Statistically speaking, nothing beats an implant in terms of longevity, safety, and the integration into the body is much better. While the dental board will take the company line here, those root canals fail pretty often. I believe in my professional opinion that they are not healthy for you. We think there is a better way. For those out there dealing with thyroid issues, if you just keep taking away pieces of the puzzle, a lot of times, that is where you find your success.
Dr. Eric O: You mentioned making the ADA mad. I don’t know if you want to touch upon fluoride because I’m sure they frown upon dentists- Do you mind talking about fluoride, why biologic dentists don’t recommend it?
Dr. Eric K: Dr. Eric, I’m pretty secure in terms of what I believe in dentistry. My brother and I have taken the stance that I’m not going to be afraid to speak my mind. We never have been, even since I was a kid. I am not afraid to speak my mind about what I believe because it is what I truly believe.
Fluoride is one of those things that the ADA has glommed on to. It’s at the forefront of dentistry, standard of care stuff. I’ll start off with this: Fluoride works in remineralizing your teeth in some fashion. I will say that. It can desensitize your teeth. It has to be on there for a really long time. I don’t think people realize that. The most effective fluoride is fluoride varnish. They paint it on your teeth at the end of your cleaning. They do it for kids a lot. It’s sticky, and it sticks there for 24-48 hours. That is when it’s effective.
Going into the history of it, they used it as rat poison in the early 1900s. If you type into your web browser, “fluoride rat poison,” you will see advertisements from the 1910s and 1920s. They used to sprinkle it around to kill rats. It’s not safe. It’s the most electronegative chemical on the periodic table. It’s the most reactive species on planet Earth in terms of elements.
In your body, it reacts in a lot of interesting ways that are not very good. Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor. It settles in your bones. It essentially in the most basic of terms can make your bones weaker. The thing I try to explain to people, and traditional dentist friends, about why I have a problem with it is if you look at kids’ toothpaste, it doesn’t have fluoride in it. I don’t think anybody has ever asked why. The dirty secret is that kids are not very good at spitting toothpaste out. If you look on the back of your fluoride-containing toothpaste, they tell you to call poison control if a kid eats toothpaste. It’s because of the dose of fluoride in there. As adults, the conventional thinking is an adult will spit their toothpaste out. How many people use mint toothpaste and swallow it because it makes their breath smell good? While it’s not a huge dose of it, over time, constantly swallowing fluoride is not great for you.
There was a study that was done with kids. My big problem with using fluoride in a pediatric sense is fluoride has a tendency to calcify the pineal gland. For those of you out there who are not anatomy specialists, the pineal gland is what they call the essence of life. It’s the gland that controls timing in your life. When it calcifies, it’s indicating to your brain that you’re getting older. Especially for preadolescents, it’s a good timer for when you’re supposed to hit puberty.
An interesting situation they did was they went to rural communities in China. There are a lot of these outreach programs about fluorinating the communities in well water areas around the world. In this particular village, they overfluorinated the water. Their conventional thing was, “We probably should give them more fluoride because their oral health is bad. Let’s up the dose of fluoride in the water.” They started noticing that girls as young as 7, 8, 9, were hitting puberty. That’s not normal. They had to knock back the levels of fluoride in the local drinking water because there was too much in there. It was calcifying the pineal gland. Their bodies were saying, “It’s time for us to get to child-rearing age. Let’s move along with this.” Here we are.
This probably applies to a lot of people in my age group. I’m 37. I don’t know if you had this in school: they had this swish and spit program with your school nurse. You’d swish some fluoride and spit it out. These were dental programs they did in the ‘90s. A lot of people my age have white spots on their teeth. I’m sure some of your listeners have them. What do these really white spots come from? That is actually a form of dental fluorosis. Too much fluoride can damage your teeth. You are trying to find this happy medium in a general public that does things like swallowing toothpaste because it tastes good and makes your breath smell good, even though it’s not healthy for you.
Our problem is it’s a toxic material. The long and short of this is you don’t need fluoride on your teeth if you have the proper hygiene regimen at home. The biggest driver of cavities and problems in your mouth is plaque and bacteria. While fluoride will demineralize your teeth and prevent cavities, which I don’t believe that it does, because I think some of the studies are really flawed.
I actually think there is a study out there that shows that rates of cavities are even in fluorinated versus non-fluorinated communities. I think it’s a moot point. I could go deeper into how fluoride got in our drinking water, but that’s another thing. The rates of cavities are the same. Why would you expose yourself to something that was used as rat poison back in the day when all you have to do is mechanically clean your teeth every day; use coconut oil pulling, which is much healthier; and even find a nice mineralizing toothpaste? My friend Dr. Gerry Curatola has a wonderful one called Revitin online. We also offer Risewell Toothpaste here. We are not sponsored by them, but it’s a great mineralizing toothpaste. They are out there. There are better ways to do it without having to expose ourselves to a pretty toxic chemical.
Dr. Eric O: The reason why I wasn’t sure is if you would share is because one of my past podcast interviews was a medical doctor, not a dentist, was talking about environmental toxins. When I brought up fluoride, she was like, “Yeah, fluoride is bad, but I can’t talk about it.” She didn’t want anything to do with it. I got the impression that she was concerned about getting in trouble.
Dr. Eric K: If you know some of the members of the IAOMT that I’m with, we have the science behind us that shows it’s not great for you. There is a documentary that is available on YouTube called Fluoride: Poison on Tap. It will give you a good idea of where our modern-day fluoride comes from in our drinking water. People would probably be appalled if they saw where it actually comes from, what it can do, and some of the effects it’s had on people. It may not get into it from a dental standpoint, what it does to your teeth, but it does show how we got to the point of- It’s a prescription drug. It’s the only one that our government forces you to consume by putting it in your drinking water. I encourage your listeners to check that out.
If you don’t have a filter at home, a Berkey water filter, which is what I recommend for most people, it’s a pretty reasonably priced water filter. Getting a reverse osmosis filter in your whole house, hopefully with some sort of remineralization in it, so you’re not drinking pure water, where you are getting cramps. You do need some minerals in your water. That’s the best thing I can suggest to get the fluoride out of your water and drink the safest tap water and shower in the safest tap water.
Dr. Eric O: Fluoride toothpaste. Cut that out.
Dr. Eric K: All of your brands of toothpaste should have non-fluoride toothpaste. Be careful about even if it’s a “natural toothpaste,” you need to check out who owns that company. The big boys like Proctor & Gamble, Colgate, those guys, have started buying up a lot of these smaller toothpaste companies that are “fluoride-free” and changing the formula on them. Keep a lookout for what you’re using. A base thing for toothpaste is making sure it’s slightly abrasive, so it will polish your teeth. Any other things in there are bonus.
Dr. Eric O: Cavitations. Can you talk about what cavitations are and why they are a concern?
Dr. Eric K: Yes. A cavitation is a locus of infection in your bone. How I can describe this is when you get an extraction done, a tooth removed, the things left over are the socket where the tooth was, where your roots used to be, and then the ligament of the tooth. The teeth are held in your head; they are not just fused into your bone. They are held in like any other bone to bone connection through a ligament. In your mouth, they are called the periodontal ligament.
After the extraction is done, if your dentist or oral surgeon doesn’t take the time to clean that site out completely, scraping the entire ligament out, treating the area with ozone, if you leave any of that material in there, the body is going to heal the bone over. That ligament tissue is going to turn into a necrotic bacterial infection essentially. While you may not notice any pain directly with it, you may have some health problems that are associated with it.
Some of the thinking of it amongst my holistic practitioners is that that locus of infection is located on a meridian, and it’s causing a problem with another organ system. The general gist of this is you need to find, if you are going to have an extraction done, somebody who will definitely clean it out the right way, and someone who uses ozone gas, which kills bacteria; sterilizes sites; and ensures that that ligament tissue is not alive and any bacteria associated with it is dead.
The other side of that is with the advent of using what we call platelet rich fiber, and I know you mentioned that in my intro, which is essentially stem cells. We take your own stem cells and white blood cells that are in that layer we extract and mix that with bone graft material or just put the membrane in on its own. That’s another way you can ensure you won’t have a cavitation form.
We have people come to us with really odd health problems. Usually, we’re looking at not only root canals and mercury fillings, but we are also looking for cavitations. The notorious place is wisdom tooth extractions. Generally, the lower jaw area, we will take a look on our cone beam CT. It’s an MRI for your mouth where we can look at your jaw bones and structures in all different directions to get a good diagnostic on it. If you go to a dentist, get a CBCT done. Get it analyzed by a radiologist. We do that for every single patient that comes to our office.
The CBCT will show an area of low density bone. Bone is supposed to show up white on a CBCT or an MRI. A cavitation will typically show up very dark looking. We will still see the outline of the old tooth root that was in there because that is the ligament tissue that hasn’t been scraped out or cleaned out properly. That is where we can see that infection. I have seen some really obvious-looking ones. Normally your gum tissue is healed over. We have to get in there, open the gum tissue out, and almost 10/10 times, we get in there and see that the bone is actually brown and soft. You can clean it out and scoop this material out. If somebody gets that treated, we clean it out, ozone it, put some PRF in there, stitch it back up. A lot of times, they will notice a big change.
That is where we see the most change with people after doing these cavitation surgeries. They start having a problem and notice that the problem got a lot better. “My immune system, I feel like I have more energy.” Their immune system is not constantly having to attack this area of necrotic bone that is here.
It is something we do recommend you have checked with your biologic dentist. Make sure they are checking for these areas here. Notoriously, it’s usually wisdom tooth spots.
Dr. Eric O: It seems like most dentists recommend for everybody to get their wisdom teeth pulled. Are you against that?
Dr. Eric K: It depends on the situation. From an anthropological standpoint, we have gotten smaller as a species. That includes our jaws. In ancient times, our jaws used to be bigger, so we had room for wisdom teeth. Some people still have room for those teeth, and some people can keep them clean. If you can keep your wisdom teeth clean, you can keep them. I don’t want to take teeth out for no reason.
The fact of the matter is that in most cases, people’s wisdom teeth are coming in weird. They are partially up. They are partially soft tissue impacted, so there is a soft tissue pocket around the tooth. They get infections on them. It’s hard to keep them clean and floss them. Rather than constantly having infections or the potential for very large decay that will cause an abscess in somebody’s teeth, we recommend you get them taken out.
Who should you have them taken out by? That’s the million-dollar question. I have several oral surgeons in my area I recommend. It’s because we’ve had that discussion about using ozone. They are open-minded to it or using platelet rich fiber therapy. I know for a fact they are really good practitioners and will take the time to scrape that site out and clean everything how it’s supposed to be cleaned the proper way.
Oral surgeons like making money, like anybody who owns a business. If they are seeing a high volume of patients, they will pull that tooth out and quickly scrape it out, not really taking the time to make sure it’s fully clean.
The best answer I have is it depends. It depends on the individual situation. That is a discussion for you and your holistic dentist.
Dr. Eric O: I’m one of the few people who have all their wisdom teeth.
Dr. Eric K: If I remember correctly, you have the room to clean them and do quite a good job of that. That is the rule of thumb.
Dr. Eric O: Thank you. You help with the cleanings regularly when I go to you as well. One question I had, which you already answered, is what newer treatments or procedures, technologies, like ozone isn’t new, but you don’t see conventional dentists use ozone. You mentioned the cone beam, which you do, and the platelet rich fiber. Are those the main things that you do that other dentists don’t do?
Dr. Eric K: That’s probably what you find as the most different in our office. People say ozone is this new thing. It’s been around since the early 1900s in terms of disinfecting surgical suites. They used to use it. It’s so old in terms of a technology from a medicine standpoint that it’s actually grandfathered in under the FDA. In other words, there is no regulation on it because the FDA can’t do it.
Platelet rich fiber therapy is relatively new. We use that pretty much in every extraction. That is something that has been around for about 12 years.
Another newer technology is CEREC. That is a relatively new thing we do. About 20 years ago, they came up with this German technology that can make inlays and porcelain crowns in office. You have taken out the middleman and given the dentists a lot more control in terms of custom-fitting your crown. I know there are plenty of people out there who have made a crown traditionally, where they send it to the lab. You wait two weeks, and the temporary doesn’t really fit well. You come back in two weeks to have the final crown put on, and it doesn’t fit. Then they have to put the temporary back on and take anew impression. It’s a very antiquated way to do crowns. The CEREC system has taken 3D technology to mill out porcelain crowns in house. You get instant feedback. They are much healthier, and you can pick the materials you are using.
The other technology I would say is relatively new is laser therapy in dentistry. They are now developing really nice lasers that can actually do fillings without anesthesia. The wavelength of laser light used under the erbium laser is done in such a way that it doesn’t irritate the nerve of the tooth, so you don’t feel pain. Is it perfect? No. It definitely will need more research and usage and clinical trials. But we definitely can do it where we don’t get pain during a filling.
For kids, I use the laser a lot on kids because I don’t want to get kids numb if I can help it. They are not the most fun people to give anesthesia to. And adults who are anxious about getting dentistry done. There are a couple lasers out there. If your dentist is using it, they usually advertise it. It’s a photon laser or water laser, something of that nature.
As for thinking of philosophy-wise in our practice, we have added a lot of things like making dental sleep a big deal. How is your sleep affecting your dentistry? I don’t think a lot of people realize when you snore, that can cause clenching of your teeth, which can damage your teeth. It’s not a new technology but a new philosophy.
There is a lot of cool stuff out there. I leave it to my patients to do their research into who they are seeing. If you are not in the Charlotte area and can’t come see us, research the technology. Ask your dentist what their technology is all about. They should know what it is, what it does, and how it works. If they can’t answer those questions, don’t have that technology done to you.
Dr. Eric O: The last thing I wanted to chat with you about is implants. You mentioned earlier how you don’t recommend titanium, but you recommend ceramic, zirconia. That is something most conventional dentists don’t do; they stick with titanium. I imagine if someone comes to you and already has a titanium implant, you won’t tell them to switch to zirconia. If someone needs a new implant, that is where you will recommend the zirconia.
Dr. Eric K: Preference is always to use zirconia. Zirconia is a ceramic implant. The technology is relatively new. We have placed thousands of these things. We have had some really good success with them.
Dr. Eric O: Including me.
Dr. Eric K: I was about to say that you have one, too. You know this intimately. It is always the preferred implant in our view because your body’s immune system doesn’t recognize zirconia. The integration into your bone. Implants aren’t in your jaw mechanically. You don’t screw it in, and it stays in that way. Your body fuses it to the bone. They found that the rates of zirconia, because your immune system doesn’t recognize it as a foreign object, and there is no electrical charge associated with it like a titanium implant has, your body integrates that thing really well, if it does it well.
The technology is limited in terms of, and I can get into it really deep, the connections inside of zirconia implants are still researching and developing those perfectly. In the next five years, it will probably be the standard of care. It’s the safest, most healthy implant to put in your mouth, in my opinion.
That being said, there are situations, like if I am working with very thin bone or certain bone type, a titanium implant that is mixed with zirconia, they have ones that are titanium/zirconia alloy. I am 100% okay with those because sometimes, you have to take the balance and weigh the good with the bad. Do I need teeth to eat? Yes. If I don’t have teeth, I need to have implants placed. If the titanium ones are the ones that are going to connect to denture the right way, which titanium has the best connections, zirconia can’t handle the type of forces on there quite yet. I’m sure they will get there.
The titanium zirconia alloy ones, we use in our practice because we find that people are not reactive to them, especially moreso the traditional titanium implants that have a titanium nickel alloy. That is my problem with traditional titanium implants. It’s alloyed with nickel. Titanium itself, while it’s a metal, is probably biocompatible. We use them in knee replacements all the time. People tend to do it pretty well. Titanium is not strong enough on its own. It needs to be an alloy of some sort in order to be strong enough to handle the forces in the body, like chewing.
Preference is always zirconia implant. 7/10 times, we are placing a zirconia implant. 3/10 times, we might need to place a titanium zirconia mix in there. They are okay. It’s not my 100% favorite, but I’m okay with it. If my mother needed one, I’d be fine putting it in her mouth.
Dr. Eric O:I didn’t realize that titanium implants weren’t pure titanium. You’re saying it’s titanium and some nickel in there.
Dr. Eric K: Most metals are actually pretty brittle on their own. Titanium especially. It will be malleable and bend and shatter. It won’t be able to take that tensile strain of chewing. It has to have some sort of alloy to strengthen it and make it flexible and give it some other properties to it. While somebody might advertise 100% pure titanium, that is patently false. There has to be some alloy in there.
Dr. Eric O: Thank you so much for sharing all this information. Anything else that you want to share? You shared enough, so it’s fine. We spoke longer than intended.
Dr. Eric K: No, you’re good. The message I have for people is just always do your research. My brother and I take our holistic dentistry very seriously in terms of how we treat people. if you can’t find someone who does that, if you can’t vet them properly, and they can’t explain what makes them holistic, or if they offer you a root canal, or they aren’t questioning these things, then you need to find someone who does. Don’t settle for your practitioner. Don’t settle just because somebody lists themselves as holistic. Do your research.
I tell my patients all the time don’t just take my word for things. I know a lot about dentistry, and I have done my research. Please do your research on your own. Question what I’m asking you. Ask me to show you proof. You should be asking every doctor that stuff. If they get mad at you, they are not the right person for you. Just make sure you do your research with it.
If you ever have any questions, or if anybody wants to contact us, it’s KempterDentistry.com. Our email address is Info@KempterDentistry.com. You can reach us there.
Dr. Eric O: You have locations in Concord, North Carolina, which I used to go to before you opened the location in Charlotte, North Carolina. Awesome dentist, or else I wouldn’t continue to go.
Dr. Eric K: Appreciate it.
Dr. Eric O: I have seen other dentists over the years, including other biologic dentists. Very open to questions. I mainly see Dr. Eric. When getting the implants, I saw your brother. I think I have seen all the dentists in your practice at one time or another.
Dr. Eric K: We have a good group here. We pride ourselves in training everybody the same way, having strict protocols, and keeping a high standard of care. We don’t get offended if you prefer other dentists here. I do work with my older brother, and I always say I’m the younger, better-looking Dr. Kempter. I always say come see me. He is a great dentist, too. He is my dentist.
If anybody needs more information, or if you want help finding someone in your local area, you could always shoot us an email. We’d be happy to help.
Dr. Eric O: Thanks for sharing your knowledge about biological dentistry. I look forward to my next teeth cleaning. I think it’s a few months from now. I appreciate this.
Dr. Eric K: You’re welcome. It was my pleasure. I look forward to seeing you in the office soon.