In the medical profession there are many acronyms. PhD, DMD, ADA, and the list goes on and on. One acronym though holds a special place in this Jacksonville, Florida dentist’s heart, the IAOMT. IAOMT stands for International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. They are, “Leaders in science-based biological dentistry,” and their guidelines allow Dr. Shields to work with integrity and confidence that she is providing her patients with the most current, science-based treatments that are beneficial for their oral and overall wellness.
What is IAOMT
The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology is a non-profit organization that aims to educate dentists and their patients about the toxic substances sometimes used in dentistry. They also provide research that they hope will allow the dental community to begin minimizing the use of harmful substances while providing an effective level of care for patients. They describe themselves as, “A trusted academy of allied professionals providing scientific resources to support new levels of integrity and safety in healthcare.” They actively research the materials and procedures used in dentistry to determine the safest and least toxic methods. Members of IAOMT receive ongoing education, accreditation and certification on scientific findings of the research, and are able to meet with peers to identify solutions for wellness dentistry in every practice.
The IAOMT funds peer-reviewed science from independent medical researchers and scientists. They also do not limit their research methods and theories just to dentistry. Understanding that dentistry is one piece of the puzzle making up whole body wellness, they research all fields of medicine including neurology, cardiology and microbiology – to name a few.
This Academy was founded in 1984 after a group of dentists, a doctor, and a lawyer learned about the unsafe mercury levels in amalgam fillings. Although the seminar they had attended was informative, they realized there was very little science backing the jarring claims. They created the IAOMT to understand the real science of toxic materials regularly used in oral medicine and to educate practitioners on how to deal with them and begin integrating better science into their practices. Now there are 700 active members in the United States and affiliated chapters of the IAOMT in 14 other countries.
Toxic Materials Used In Dentistry
Dentistry has been practiced for thousands of years. In 700 AD a type of amalgam, or “silver paste” was used to fill cavities and halt the progression of dental caries in ancient China. Over the centuries many different types of materials have been used to fill dental caries. The use of a mercury alloy amalgam became commonplace because mercury is a moldable, durable substance that seemed to be a great solution for filling caries. The knowledge of how dangerous mercury is has always vexed dentists, however this solution was the status quo and relatively inexpensive option for patients seeking relief from cavities. Mercury is not the only potentially toxic material used in the dental profession however. Fluoride is another substance that the IAOMT is feverantly researching due to its harmful effects on bones and teeth. It takes looking into long standing “standards” to uncover which practices are science-based and healthy for patients in the 21st century, which is precisely what the IAOMT is here to do.
Mercury is a metal naturally found in the soil, water, and air around us. It is also widely used in amalgam fillings in the dental profession. Mercury exposure is extremely toxic and can cause damage to the brain, immune and digestive systems, skin, eyes, kidneys, and lungs. Mercury is so toxic that pregnant women are advised to avoid eating fish which can harbor high levels of an organic compound, methylmercury, that can harm their unborn children. So why is this substance commonplace in dental offices? The sheer toxicity wasn’t understood until recently, and only now after the IAOMT has provided the dental community with factual science-based evidence can dental practitioners begin to phase out the use of amalgam fillings. The IAOMT also provides dentists with guidelines on how to safely handle and dispose of amalgam fillings and replace them with safe, non-toxic composite resins.
Fluoride is another toxic substance that the IAOMT conducts research on and is helping dentists understand. It is a naturally occurring element that is found, like mercury, all around us. Fluoride can help the teeth resist cavities from within, however excessive exposure can lead to skeletal fluorosis and other complications. The amount of fluoride introduced into our systems through treated water and fluoride containing products may be problematic.
Dr. Shields is proud to be a part of the IAOMT. This means that she will always provide her patients with the safest, most current, science-based dentistry possible. She is practiced in the safe removal and disposal of amalgam fillings, and provides her patients safe and effective alternatives like composite resin and xylitol. At our Jacksonville, Florida dental office, we understand that wellness begins at dentistry and is completed by the whole body. There is no room for toxic materials here. If you have questions about the IAOMT, please don’t hesitate to ask at your next appointment.