The future of dentistry
The future of dentistry
"There is much technological progress ahead but, and aside from the great good and evident shortfalls this also brings, we must not get distracted by allowing technology to make the obvious less obvious if we do not correct and arrest the lovelessness wherever it may be."Serge Benhayon Time, Space and all of us, Book 1 – Time, ed 1, p 419 - 422
There can be no question about the advancement of dental treatment in the past one hundred years. This advancement has accelerated in the early decades of the 21st Century to an extraordinary degree, resulting in standards of dental care that have never been so high. As such, many teeth that were unsalvageable a mere 50 years ago can be retained in a fully functional state. The teeth that cannot be saved can, in many instances, be replaced by sophisticated and effective tooth analogues.
Never before in our history has the entire spectrum of our community had access to this highly sophisticated dental care and never have so many people had access to elective, non-therapeutic dental procedures such as tooth whitening, cosmetic mouth makeovers and cosmetic orthodontics.
Never before has it been so simple to take care of our own teeth. A multitude of well-designed and inexpensive oral hygiene products and disease preventive aids are readily available at pharmacies and supermarkets, allowing all people to achieve levels of oral care that were impossible 40 - 50 years ago.
Yet the following paradoxical situation exists in Australia:
- The most prevalent health problem in Australia is tooth decay.
- Gum disease is the fifth most prevalent health problem.
- 48% of 12-year-old children have dental caries in their permanent teeth (2010)
- Dental problems are the most common cause of acute and preventable hospital admissions.
- Of the 40,000 hospital admissions for preventable dental conditions, 26,000 are for children under the age of 15. They are given general anaesthetics for fillings and extractions.
- Low socioeconomic status is associated with more tooth decay in children (aged 5 -10), and higher rates of complete edentulism (tooth loss) in Australians over the age of 65.
- “Dental conditions are more expensive to treat than all cancers combined”.
How do we reconcile the enormous gap between what is technically possible and the level of actual dental health of the people of our nation?
Those numbers are more than figures on a page. On a physical/temporal level, they represent pain, cosmetic disfigurement, difficulty eating hence digesting food, and in the case of children they are the perfect set-up for a lifetime of dental need and potential dental phobia. Add to this the fact that poor oral health has devastating impacts on our state of general health and wellbeing. Chronic periodontal (gum) disease exacerbates poor blood sugar control in diabetics and increases the incidence of diabetic complications. Strong links have been established between the presence of chronic periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease and stroke. There is a growing body of evidence showing causative links between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Gum disease is also associated with exacerbation of rheumatoid arthritis and has been linked to increased risk of early miscarriage.
Some of the gap can be accounted for by poverty. Private dental care is out of financial reach for many people and the paucity of government funding for dental services means that many low-income Australian citizens must wait for an overburdened and under resourced system to attend to them. Government funded dental schemes have proven to be resounding failures. The most recent well-intentioned scheme (the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme) was exploited by medical doctors, dentists and patients alike. The result was that costs blew out to an unacceptable and unaffordable degree. There is no evidence that the scheme impacted on oral disease rates in a meaningful way.
However, poverty and lack of access to services is not the only contributing factor to the poor oral health of Australians. Not every Australian with dental disease is poor or unable to access dental care.
The fact is that dental diseases are some of the most preventable diseases that afflict human health. And our understanding of how to prevent them is neither new nor is it veiled in secrecy.
The fact that bacteria cause dental disease has been known since the late 1800’s. Although our understanding has become more refined and detailed in the intervening time, for well over one hundred years dental professionals have been thoroughly educated in the fact that the progress of dental disease ceases when we remove bacteria from the teeth. Pierre Fauchard, the man considered to be the ‘father’ of modern dentistry, knew in the early 1700’s that sugar was the cause of dental caries. Although he did not know the precise mechanism by which sugar damages tooth structure, he stated in his book “The Chirgen Dentist” (1723), that reduction in sugar intake was essential to the prevention of tooth decay.
The message is very very simple. We need to thoroughly clean our teeth and reduce if not eliminate our intake of sugars and carbohydrates. This removes the bulk of bacteria and starves the remaining ones of the food source that causes decay. There is nothing difficult here. The tools to clean all surfaces of our teeth been made simpler to use, more accessible and less expensive than ever before. Education on how, where and when to use them is delivered by dentists, hygienists and oral therapists. It is freely accessible online in blogs and videos for those who cannot see the dentist.
Yet very few people apply this simple wisdom to their body.
The reality is that most people clean their teeth on ‘auto-pilot’. They have reduced this daily task to a token gesture – undertaken as quickly as possible and devoid of conscious presence in the seemingly inevitable rush that is modern human life. The crucial part of cleaning between the teeth is carried out regularly and routinely by very few people. Most people avoid this task altogether until they are forced to by a piece of food uncomfortably wedged between their teeth.
The message about reduction of sugar is simply not sinking in. It has been hijacked by health bloggers as a slimming method and fashion statement. But closely examine the trend and you will see that much of it is sleight of hand, substituting table sugar (sucrose) for more sophisticated, expensive and difficult to obtain versions of exactly the same sugar. The reality is that most people eat sugar excessively, and they do not stop when warned by doctors and dentists. Threats of pre-diabetes, actual diabetes and tooth decay fall on deaf ears. Even the development of several tooth cavities with the long dental visits and expense required to fix them is insufficient motivation for people to change their ways.
This is the moment for us to take pause and seriously and deeply contemplate how is it possible that a very simple message can be avoided by so many people for so long, especially when the consequences are so unwelcome, so expensive to fix, and impact so negatively on the health of the entire body.
"With the growth of illness and disease everywhere, and the fact that most cases, if not all, are not so simple today, that is, that most dental and medical patients are deeply multi-symptomatic, it makes no sense to defend anything. Remember well that – the human body cannot lie; it will always show you your choices!"Serge Benhayon The Way of Initiation, ed 3, p 119
We have assumed a very casual and careless relationship with dental disease. We have normalised it and assumed the role of passive victim when it occurs. In spite of our proclaimed hatred of the dentist and complaints about the costs and inconvenience of dental care, we prefer to rely on it to fix the problems we create – the problems that we neglect for too long and problems we never needed to have in the first place.
Dentistry does its job extraordinarily well. Perhaps too well. Substitute the word ‘medicine’ for ‘dentistry’ and this prophecy serves to precisely define the dilemma we are dishonestly avoiding:
"Conventional medicine is doing a great job at keeping us one step ahead of the absolute chaos we would be in without it. Humanity owes much to the impress of conventional medicine.Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 722
However, its current premise is not to prevent or to heal but to cure and or best-manage our ills. But, temporary cures, long-term cures and or managing our ills does not reveal the fact that our waywardness is and has been the root pandemic problem. We will one day exhaust the medical system completely if we keep our lovelessness, its disregard and its wayward behaviour, as our way of life. Be warned – ‘that day’, is already well and truly into its many days, weeks and months."
In many respects dentistry is worse off than medicine because it is more deeply seduced by its technological and biomimetic success, and deluded by the brilliance of its advancements. We have fallen into the trap of excitedly applying new technology to the same old problems. Our mechanistic approach to disease and our ability to control it better has created the unreal perception that we are ‘winning’. It requires a very high level of honesty to read beyond the scientifically assessed success rates, see through the glossy ‘after shots’ and ask why, after more than 100 years, are we still treating the same diseases?
It cannot be stated more clearly than the passage that opened this article and its continuance:
"There is much technological progress ahead but, and aside from the great good and evident shortfalls this also brings, we must not get distracted by allowing technology to make the obvious less obvious if we do not correct and arrest the lovelessness wherever it may be. Our root issue is separation from Soul. And no computer or gadget in this world can bring the Soul to you. Yes, some key symbols and techniques can greatly assist but in the end, it is your will that makes it happen. And, no one can influence your will; it is impossible to do so. And should it ever look like one has been influenced, it is a mere trick for one has allowed the influence and therefore it is one’s will in action, that is, it is one’s will to allow another’s view, belief or ideal to dominate them.Serge Benhayon Time, Space and all of us, Book 1 – Time, ed 1, p 419 - 422
This brings another great teaching and revelation to the fore. Will, the right use of will, is actually part of our evolutionary healing process and as such it is true medicine. Our will and its true use are part of what forms universal medicine, the multi-dimensional form of medicine that will critically and significantly add all the missing pieces to that which our great conventional medicine already offers mankind."
And if that is not clear enough; “The body is the marker of all truth”. Serge Benhayon
Truth cannot ultimately be avoided, no matter how much we deny responsibility, seek someone to blame, develop schemes or invent brilliant solutions. Our body reveals the truth of the way we live, the choices we make and the source of energy we align to and allow to impel our way.
This truth is exposed in the humbling and profoundly disturbing reality at the end of our dental patients’ lives. If we are honoured enough to serve them during the slow decline of their final years, the level of effort we have expended to sustain their oral health against the sheer lovelessness of the way they live (the way we all live) is starkly revealed. Dry mouth from multiple medications, arthritic loss of manual dexterity and the mental incapacity caused by the dementia lay to waste our best efforts. The immaculate crowns rot off with decay that attacks fragile tooth root surfaces. Implants, no longer able to be carefully maintained, develop chronic inflammation. Gum disease, once maintained in a ‘stable’ state by routine hygiene appointments, becomes active again through neglect. Extractions become a desperate challenge – complicated by the ill health and frailty of the elderly patient, the multiple medications they must take for the plethora of systemic diseases they suffer and the poor mobility that leaves them bound to their nursing home or their bed.
It is no surprise that we try to perceive geriatric dental disease a separate issue and divorce it from our complete assessment of the success of dental science. We laud our magnificent command over the human dentition as we distance ourselves from this ‘unsolvable’, and with the medically driven extension of people’s lives into advanced old age, inevitable disaster.
The fact is that the dental profession must keep doing what it is doing; it is essential and it is needed. It can certainly continue to advance itself, however, we as dentists and every human being we serve as professionals have equal responsibility to cease seeing dental care as the answer. It is not. It supports humanity by treating the consequences of our recklessness, but it does not stop the reckless trajectory.
Nor are information and education the answer. We are overwhelmed with information, and we have been educated to the point that there really can be no valid excuses anymore. Our minds know what we should be doing. We just do not do it.
Here it is the vital point if we missed it in the first reading…
"We will one day exhaust the medical system completely if we keep our lovelessness, its disregard and its wayward behaviour, as our way of life."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 722
It is our lovelessness that is the issue, and the seed that produces the wretched behaviours we have mastered to our own devastation. It creates the defiance that knows precisely what not to eat and eats it anyway. It fuels the mind that can compartmentalise, rationalise and justify any behaviour, and excuses self-harm with the moniker ‘moderation’. It becomes furious or resentful when the known consequences unsurprisingly occur. It is the driving factor behind the boredom with consistent application of the minute details that are the very fabric of self-love. It is the aspect of us that hates that it must care for this body, and loathes the honesty that the body portrays to us so unstintingly with its aches, pains and rots.
Do we continue as we are?
Or do we read the statistics, consider deeply all they are reflecting to us and heed the seer and their words?
"Only when, the actual human daily life struggle is declared as a way that is un-natural, will humanity as a coordinated whole, seek humbly the real answers behind their historically long and pain-full woes."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p 707