Groton Wellness: A Place to Get Well, Stay Well and Eat Well
Jan 30, 2013 12:26PM
● By Kim Childs
Dr. Jean Nordin-Evans with patient Don Jacobs.
In 2004 Drs. Robert Evans and Jean Nordin-Evans opened Groton Dental Wellness, in Groton, to practice holistic dentistry. Soon afterward, they expanded to create a wellness center that incorporates naturopaths, medical doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, nutritionists and other health practitioners. Today, Groton Wellness even features a farm-to-table café, serving healthy local and organic fare. Natural Awakenings spoke with Madelyn Pearson, a holistic dentist at the center, to learn more about Groton’s multifaceted approach to health care and well-being.
Can you explain holistic dentistry?
It’s basically health-focused dentistry. We don’t do anything that could harm the body, so we’re conscientious about the materials we are placing and the things we’re doing. Many people come to us to have their mercury fillings replaced, often at the referral of other practitioners who suspect that these patients’ health issues are rooted in mercury toxicity. Not every dentist is equipped to remove them safely, as the drilling of the mercury filling can cause health hazards to everyone involved. But we have the materials, training and equipment in place to do it safely.
Holistic dentistry also includes placing non-metal restorations in the mouth, using digital radiography to limit radiation, addressing any infections in the bone or teeth and looking at the patient’s overall oral hygiene and lifestyle. If someone has cavities, for example, we’ll look at their diet and any nutritional deficiencies, and we may refer them to our dietician, health coaches or herbalist. So we’re not just filling cavities; we’re getting at the root causes of why someone’s mouth is unhealthy.
What other issues might you see in your practice?
We address bite issues and chronic pain in the jaw or teeth, as well as the toxicity of existing dental work and how that can be damaging to the teeth and body. We often treat disorders of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which is the joint near the ears that opens the mouth. When the discs in those joints become displaced or inflamed, they cause pain upon moving the jaw and biting, and the pain can radiate to other areas of the head or face. TMJ disorders can be rooted in an abnormal or uneven bite, or clenching and grinding the teeth. So, while our treatment plans have a dental focus, we also address headaches, TMJ issues and chronic facial pain. Additionally, some of our patients suffer from sleep apnea and snoring, and our custom-made dental appliances can alleviate these issues and serve as an alternative to sleep apnea machines.
Is it possible to curb teeth grinding without cumbersome mouth guards?
Yes. First, we look at why people are grinding their teeth and we teach them to do some massage work on their jaws and in their mouths to help relieve the tendencies to clench and grind. We also look at stress factors and we may recommend massage therapy. Mineral deficiencies can also contribute to the propensity for clenching and grinding the teeth, and this can be determined by our herbalist. The appliances we prescribe for tooth grinding at night are more slender and comfortable than the ones most people use.
How does holistic dentistry approach prevention?
In addition to recommending check-ups every six months, we advise patients to eat a very nutrient-rich diet. Researchers have found that cultures with strong bodies and teeth eat nutrientrich diets. Our café at Groton Wellness has local, organic, nutritious food and conducts classes that teach people the basics of healthier cooking.
What led you to pursue holistic dentistry?
Actually, my father-in-law opened my eyes to this field after I graduated from dental school. From there, I became involved in different organizations. I’m currently on the board of the Holistic Dental Association, and last April, I become president of the organization. I grew up with parents who were very passionate about alternative health and the roots of illness and nutrition, so it made sense for me to follow this path. Also, learning about people who used holistic dentistry to clear up such issues as headaches, chronic infections and Lyme disease also strengthened my passion for the practice, and still does.
Groton Wellness is located in the Mill Run Plaza, 493-495 Main St., Groton. For more information, call 978-449-9919 or visit GrotonDentalWellness.com.