What is the Huggins Protocol and Holistic Dentistry?
Dr. Huggins developed a protocol for dental treatment which was aimed at adopting safe dental practices and using safer dental materials that were non-toxic and did not cause any immune reactions. Is there anything in your mouth that is making you sick or can make you sick? That is what the Huggins Protocol is all about – a methodology in dental care to promote overall health. Few dentists are formally trained in the Huggins protocol. We accept patients with medical problems and those who want to stay healthy and receive biological dental care.
Despite what you have been told or think, any filling or restoration that is placed inside your mouth can have a direct or indirect effect on your physical and oral health. The Huggins Protocol basically aims at providing education and guidance to patients regarding the use of safer dental materials as well as the practice of holistic dental treatment protocols that do not carry any related health risks. The Protocol is what is the essence of our Holistic Dental Practice. Every Holistic Dentist should adopt the similar principles to the Huggins Protocol. We see healthy and sick patients from around the world.
Many dental materials such as Amalgam Mercury fillings contain toxins. Sometimes people can get sick after amalgam removal. It is very important to take these materials out safely according to the IAOMT and Huggins protocol for safe removal. Root Canals are dead teeth with foreign material filled in the roots. Many people are sensitive to the filling material and bacteria and toxins leak constantly out of the root canal tooth. Metal crowns and fillings create corrosion, electronic reactions and magnetic fields. All these things may be well tolerated by some folks, but for others it can spell health problems unless health in the mouth is restored.
What is the Huggins Protocol in Holistic Dentistry?
The Huggins protocol was developed by Dr. Hal Huggins about 40 years back, while he was pursuing his Master’s degree in Toxicology and Immunology at the University of Colorado. Dr. Huggins believed that various materials used during routine dental procedures were quite harmful for the body and caused more harm than benefit. The protocol was really the advent of Holistic Dentistry and many Holistic Dentists today follow much or all of The Protocol developed by Hal Huggins.
Today, various research studies have demonstrated a link between the use of mercury based dental fillings, root canal treatment materials, fluoride and certain toxic environmental agents in the development of various chronic health related problems like kidney, liver, intestinal and nervous system problems. Most Holistic Dentists do not use Amalgam Filling and Fluoride materials due to their toxicity and the links to systemic disease. Holistic Dentists most often use a Safe Amalgam Removal Protocol made very popular today by the IAOMT.
The Huggins Protocol
1. Patient Education
The most important component of the Huggins protocol is the educate patients regarding the importance of looking after dental and physical health, and to make them realize that their overall health is directly linked to their dental health. In fact, the definition of a Holistic Dentist is one who considers overall health in making dental treatment decisions. Another aspect of educating patients about the Huggins protocol is to make them aware of the damage various dental materials can cause to their health and physical well-being. Here are some very good books about dental toxicology that you may like to read:
• It’s All in Your Head, by Hal Huggins DDS, MS
• Solving the Mystery, by Hal Huggins DDS, MS
• Uninformed Consent, by Hal Huggins DDS, MS and Thomas Levy MD, JD
• Root Canals: Savior or Suicide? By Hal Huggins, DDS, MS
• Root Canal Cover-up, by George E. Meining DDS, FACD, FICD
When you have a thorough understanding of various toxic materials that are being used in dentistry, you will be better able decide the safest treatment option for yourself and your family.
2. Pre-operative Investigations
When you visit us for treatment according to the Huggins protocol, we may ask you to undergo the following biological testing so that we can have a better understanding regarding the safest practices and dental materials for your body. What dental treatments work for one person may not be safe for another.
• Blood Chemistry – tests for blood chemistry are required to assess the concentration of various harmful agents in your blood, and to prepare a treatment plan to normalize your blood chemistry. The complete Blood Count (CBC) provides detailed information regarding the number of various cells in your blood such as the red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelet count. Any aberration in the number of blood cells may indicate towards an underlying medical condition.
• Biocompatibility Testing – not every material that is placed inside your mouth may be safe for you. A restorative dental material that is safe for an individual might be toxic for another. Therefore, the Huggins protocol dictates that biocompatibility testing should be done for all patients, in order to determine what materials are safe for use in the oral cavity.
Several blood and usage tests will provide us with valuable information regarding the dental materials that can cause an allergic or toxic reaction inside your body. During testing, you should also let us know about any known allergies that you may have, such as Nickel, Acrylic and Latex allergies.
• Hair Analysis – when the amount of trace metals increases inside the body, they can cause various harmful and toxic reactions. We can measure the amount of these harmful trace metals inside your body including nickel, arsenic, aluminum lead, mercury and copper, simply by analyzing your hair! Don’t worry, you won’t feel any pain while we remove one or two hairs from your scalp! You can either send a piece of your hair directly to the testing laboratory or we can provide you with a kit for this purpose.
3. Safe Dental Practices
Another aspect of the Holistic Huggins Protocol is the adoption of dental practices that are not harmful to the human body. Some of them are discussed below:
• Detailed Oral Examination – after your diagnostic blood checkup, we will perform a detailed examination of your oral cavity and the head and neck region. In addition to recording any missing or carious teeth, we will look for any signs for underlying dental problems such as swollen and bleeding gums, periodontal pockets and other problems related to the jaws, head and the neck. We will also have a look at your x-rays to better visualize the status of your teeth and periodontal ligament.
• Removal of Old Amalgam Fillings – amalgam fillings are not only unaesthetic, but they are also quite detrimental to your health. Do you know why? Because the amalgam fillings contain 50% mercury and other trace elements that cause a multitude of medical problems such as renal, hepatic, immune and nervous system disorders. The Huggins protocol therefore recommends that existing amalgam fillings should be removed and replaced with safer and more esthetic filling materials. We use either porcelain filling material or Zirconia Crowns.
• Sequential Amalgam Filling Removal – an aspect of safe dental practices according to the Huggins protocol is the sequential removal of old amalgam fillings. This is because if an amalgam filing is removed all at once, mercury vapors are released in large concentrations which can be inhaled or ingested and can cause serious medical problems. Therefore, the Huggins protocol dictates that dentists break down large amalgam fillings into smaller blocks and remove them sequentially to limit mercury exposure to the dental team as well as the patient. We utilize a protocol called the IAOMT Safe removal protocol.
• Use of Rubber Dam – a rubber dam is a simple rubbery isolation device that is placed inside a patient’s mouth to isolate the field of operation from other teeth and vital oral structures. In this way, accidental inhalation of tiny dental surgical instruments is prevented and additionally, mercury vapor is prevented from being splashed onto the entire oral cavity. The use of rubber dam therefore significantly reduces mercury exposure. We actually use a latex-free nitrile dam, because it is impervious to mercury vapor.
4. Therapeutic Measures
Various therapeutic measures are adopted by the Huggins protocol to eliminate or reduce the damage caused due to the use of various harmful dental materials inside the oral cavity. Some of them are:
• Administration of IV Vitamin C – intravenous Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has been shown to provide excellent detoxification effects. In addition, Vitamin C has also been shown to enhance cell metabolism as well removal of harmful products from root canal treated, carious and dead teeth. We utilize IV Vitamin C during and after amalgam removal procedures. We also recommend liposomal Vitamin C solution to be used 3-5 days prior and 2-3 weeks after amalgam removal procedures.
• Massage – in addition to providing a stimulating and relieving effect, a massage provides three more benefits as well according to the Huggins protocol. Firstly, the efficiency of white blood cells inside the body is vastly enhanced, thereby improving the immune system and response of the individual.
Secondly, the removal of mercury effected red blood cells is accelerated. This means that these red blood cells are removed at a faster rate from the body, thereby reducing the chances of any toxic or adverse reaction caused due to the presence of mercury on red blood cells. Finally, massaging also enhances the release of non-biological form of calcium, which is essential in promoting initial healing of the body after surgery.
Another very essential aspect of the Huggins protocol is the detoxification of all patients. This involves the removal of harmful agents from the body. According to the Huggins protocol, once the harmful agents have been removed, the healing of the body is accelerated exponentially.
Detoxification can be done in two ways. Non-chemical detoxification can be performed through heat application such as saunas or heat therapy. Alternatively, chemical detoxification is carried out with the help of various chelating agents.
Huggins dentists usually do not perform detoxification very quickly as it can have very drastic effects on the body. Rather, they perform it very slowly so as to provide time for the body to get adapted to the changes that are occurring inside it.
6. Making a Treatment Plan
Once we have taken a look at all your records, performed a detailed clinical examination and initiated the detoxification process inside your body, we will provide you with treatment plan while making sure that only those dental materials are used that are completely safe for your body. Of course, while making your treatment plan, we will also keep in mind your aesthetic, functional as financial considerations.
At our Holistic Dental Practice, our top priority is to make sure that you are provided with the highest quality of dental services in a comfortable environment. We also ensure that all restorative materials that are used for your treatment are safe and carry no toxic or adverse effects. If you have any questions or wish to get more information regarding the Huggins protocol, please feel free to submit a message using our Contact US form. You can also schedule an appointment by contacting our Holistic Patient Program Manager by also using our Contact Us form.