We live in an era of medical specialists. Cardiologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, gastroenterologists – each tends to focus on parts rather than the whole being. Yet as science continues to evolve, there is ever more evidence that oral health is intimately linked to overall health.
While the cardiologist who focuses on hearts may never take mouths into consideration, biological dentists recognize, among other things, that chronic inflammation in the mouth is related to chronic inflammation in the heart and other organs and tissues.
If you, like the specialist, rarely relate your mouth to your overall well-being , you may want to put Dr. Felix Liao’s new book Six-Foot Tiger, Three-Foot Cage on your reading list. Dr. Liao highlights the role that the mouth’s structure plays in total health and explains why understanding it is a vital first step toward finding effective solutions for issues other practitioners have failed to resolve.
We might even say that every disease, pain, and illness has an oral connection until proven otherwise.
Sharing case studies of his own patients, Dr. Liao recognizes the concern for what it is: a sign that the mouth structure is impaired. Being too small, the tongue easily obstructs the airway. This, in turn – and the sleep deprivation associated with it – can lead to many common medical, dental, and emotional ailments.
His cases also show you how impaired mouth structure can be redeveloped with oral appliances and supportive measures, including nutritional improvements and myofunctional therapy.
Then there are patients whose health problems mystify physicians, precisely because they never considered what might be going on in the mouth. In one example, a patient who took herself to the ER with dizziness and went through a battery of tests at great expense was told the doctor couldn’t find anything wrong. Though she was given a referral to a neurologist, a holistic-thinking friend referred her to Dr. Liao. Upon examining her, he determined that her dizziness had come courtesy of a new filling. Had this been diagnosed before the ER visit, this patient could have saved $11,000.
Six-Foot Tiger, Three-Foot Cage encourages all to
- Seek understanding about the role your mouth plays in whole body health.
- Understand that an impaired mouth can cause a domino effect that can lead to or perpetuate pain, fatigue, and many other conditions resistant to conventional treatment.
- Recognize that resolving difficult medical, dental, and emotional symptoms may have an oral element.
- Find holistic or biological dental support to address impaired mouth structure and conditions.
- Consider that every dental visit presents an opportunity to connect the mouth with its owner’s total health.
Intellectually, you might understand that all parts of the body are interconnected, but medically, we are in a system that doesn’t much act on this understanding. If it did, we might all understand that dental issues don’t exist in a vacuum any more than medical issues do. Persistent and chronic stress, in whatever form it takes, can throw the body off kilter. The good news is that biological dentists offer an opportunity to rediscover your body’s harmony again.
I had my lower right wisdom tooth removed a year ago and the remaining 3 removed 6 months ago (it was recommended by my family and dentist, I did not know any better at the time, because my lower 2 were constantly getting infected) and my surgeon did not take any measures for socket preservation. my lower mandible has receded just enough that i notice the aesthetic and functional change. I believe my tongue is being forced back against my airway. it has impacted my breathing and now I have noticed i now sleep with my mouth open unless i wear a sleep strap, and when i rest my jaws in a bite position my throat where my tongue is feels “snug”. The mouth breathing I suspect has given me chronic mucus, bad breath, and dry lips.
I signed a form in the office that consented to surgery and acknowledged it may have complications like slight facial asymmetry and the typical issues but this is much worse than I ever anticipated. I don’t know what to do. I feel like my entire life is ruined. I have issues breathing, and I have lost a VISIBLY noticeable definition to my chin and jaws. I am heartbroken. The surgeon never said I could have problems with breathing or even lose a full centimeter of jawline and mouth space. My quality of life has been impacted negatively, which was NOT mentioned in the “waiver” I signed.
I no longer have insurance, as I turned 26 and do not have a full-time job. So I cannot even go back to his office to address the issues. I don’t even want to see him. I feel so wronged. He was rude to me and my family, and NEVER mentioned anything about bone resorption or the need to preserve the sockets.
Additionally, my smile has moved off to one side, because I had a single wisdom tooth removed 6 months prior to the remaining three. It caused my jaw to recede early in one place, which shifted my bite and entire teeth off to one side.
What can be done? Am I permanently doomed to restricted breathing, and a shrinking jaw?? Will I need further surgery to correct this and create space for my tongue again?? I feel so trapped and helpless. I am in pain, have trouble breathing, and am getting the worst sleep of my life.
We’re so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. There are a variety of treatment options that may be able to help make things right, depending on what, specifically, is going on. If you’re in the St. Louis area, give us a call to schedule an exam. Dr. Rehme can evaluate the situation and make specific recommendations. If you’re outside the area, you can find a biological dentist through the IAOMT (http://iaomt.org).