I didn’t mean to become a holistic dentist.
Nothing in my training indicated that this was to be my destiny. During school and post-graduate training, I was obsessed with bringing cosmetic and restorative dentistry together to restore people’s teeth to be functional and beautiful. I didn’t see a place for a holistic approach when I was in school. I was trained, like all my colleagues in medicine and dentistry, to focus only on our respective area of study, and to refer everything else.
And then I got sick.
At first, it came on slowly. Aches and pains, fatigue, anxiety – all things I blamed on everyday stress and ageing. I became progressively more sensitive to various types of food, to a point where the bloating and the cramping got so severe, I couldn’t function after eating.
My MD sent me for various tests and came back with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Treatment recommendations included anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants (I wasn’t depressed…) and therapy. None of them worked. All left me feeling frustrated, hopeless, and still in pain.
So I decided to learn about this on my own. My research on IBS did not fix my issues but did bring an awareness to how common of a problem it is.
I eventually sought the help of a naturopathic doctor who ran a full thyroid panel (rather than the old school TSH only test) with antibody screening. I finally received a proper diagnosis: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
With proper treatment, optimal nutrition, and supplementation, my symptoms disappeared and the path to holistic dentistry began.
Connecting mouth health to overall health
During my IBS research, I made the connection between how many symptoms showed up in the mouth and how much of it I could see and diagnose early in my own patients.
My first breakthrough came when I learned about magnesium. The next when I learned about vitamin C and B complex. Then iron. All of which are so important for mouth health.
I recommended these vitamins and minerals to my own patients and noticed improvements with respect to decay, gum disease, ‘Burning Mouth Syndrome’, and general healing due to inflammation.
Why I chose Holistic Dentistry
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis was a turning point, not only for my health and well-being but also for my patients. I learned about diagnosis and treatment of thyroid issues, adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and many others that continue to afflict so many people. I learned about supplementation, nutrition, and general medicine, which led to many post-graduate certifications to strengthen my learning and ability to help my own patients.
So here we are – Dr. Agatha Bis, Holistic Dentist. I love what I do and am grateful for it.
Sometimes, people ask me what I would do if I couldn’t do this type of dentistry. And I honestly don’t know. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
About Dr. Agatha Bis
Dr. Agatha Bis, DDS is a board-certified Doctor of Dental Surgery. With 22 years of clinical experience, Dr. Bis has focused on working with patients who have responded poorly to conventional medical and dental treatments by seeking the root causes of their illness and guiding them on a path towards healing.
Her integrative approach emphasizes the importance of listening to patients, focusing on the root causes and epidemiology of diseases, respecting biochemical individuality, and partnering with patients to make meaningful changes in their health habits.
A strong understanding of functional endocrinology and its relationship to the oral cavity is one of the pillars of her practice. Another, is continued learning. Dr. Bis has extensive training in post-graduate programs including full mouth rehabilitation, TMJ disorders and treatment, and migraine treatment. Dr. Bis is currently enrolled to become one of the first accredited Biologic Dentists in Canada.
Dr. Bis is passionate about the journey to wellness: profound changes in health often follow transformative changes in lifestyle when supported by appropriately prescribed nutraceuticals, medications, and treatments.
Changing the paradigm of dental care
Two strong themes are emerging in the world of dental care:
- There are interconnections between mouth disease and food and nutrients, immune dysregulation, chronic diseases, inflammation, stress, liver function, brain and mood, hormones, and many other key systems.
- Patients want doctors and dentists who treat the whole person.
In this lies a massive opportunity to shift the paradigm of dental care. Dentists and dental practitioners can become the people who not only fix teeth and treat gum disease, but be on the forefront of diagnosis and treatment for many other undiagnosed diseases and issues, which ultimately impact our patients’ well-being, our practice, and how dentists are perceived in our community.