Holistic Dental Care for Overall Wellness: Dr. Pentti Nupponen
May 28, 2011 03:44PM
By Beth Davis
The Halifax Center for Holistic and Cosmetic Dentistry uses modern materials, procedures and equipment designed to minimize patient discomfort and support their general health. This includes safely and painlessly removing old, failed amalgam fillings and replacing them with non-mercury-based dental materials, the only type used in Dr. Pentti Nupponen’s practice for the past 17 years. “I have seen amazing outcomes as the result of removing a patient’s failed mercury fillings,” he explains. “Our goal is to deliver dental care of the highest quality, using materials and methods that are most conducive to the overall health of the patient,” he adds.
Born and raised in Helsinki, Finland, a young Nupponen came to the U.S. in 1966. Trained as a carpenter in his home country, he knew he wanted to pursue a different path once in the United States—one that would allow him to still work with his hands, help people and eventually be in business for himself. It was the dentistry practice of his brother-in-law Dr. Victor Hajjar that inspired the career direction for Nupponen.
In 1974, after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and earning the title doctor of dental medicine, he returned to Harrisburg to work with Hajjar until 1983, when Nupponen was able to fulfill his entrepreneurial dream and open his own practice in Halifax, Pennsylvania.
One evening in 1993, something happened that would change the way Nupponen would practice dentistry. A patient whom he had seen earlier that day returned to the office after everyone except him had left. In the process of eating, the patient had broken off an amalgam filling set earlier that day. Nupponen spent the next several hours rebuilding the filling without the help of dental assistants. The mechanical difficulty of working with the material left Nupponen pledging to eliminate amalgam fillings from that day forward.
Traditionally known as a “silver” filling, amalgam is actually an alloy of mercury and silver. As Nupponen informed his patients that he would no longer use the material, they began bringing him articles and sharing scientific information about the toxicity of the mercury-based amalgam fillings. Nupponen did his own research and was shocked to find evidence indicating that exposure to dental mercury could be one of the most serious health hazards known to mankind. He learned that mercury continuously leaches from amalgam fillings, leading to a gradual buildup of the toxin in the body’s organs, tissues and cells.
“I became concerned about what I had been doing to my patients, my staff and myself by exposing us all to this very toxic nerve poison for 19 years,” Nupponen comments. His findings inspired him to focus on holistic, also known as biologic, dentistry. He attended many teaching institutions, including the Institute of Natural Dentistry, International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, and the International Academy of Biologic Dentistry and Medicine. He is the area’s only dentist to be board certified by the latter.
Nupponen believes that whatever happens in the mouth has a tremendous effect on the rest of the body and that understanding the relationship between oral health, total health and chronic disease is crucial. He cites cosmetic dentistry, for instance; it is meant to last a long time and look great, but often fails because the dental materials used do not match the patient's biology, support their bite properly or achieve the desired result. The Halifax Center offers dental material compatibility testing to ensure that dental materials selected are specific to and will give the best results for each patient.
In 2000, Nupponen achieved a long-term personal goal by earning the rank of mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry, a status that relatively few of the 36,000 members have achieved. Nupponen is also a certified nutritional counselor.
“I love dentistry, and I know that dentists—both traditional and holistic—are working hard, doing the best they can at their craft,” remarks Nupponen. “Dental schools are selectively not teaching us about 'mercury toxicology.' If they would, it would save many dentists' lives. My door is always open to any dentist who wants to know more.”
The Halifax Center for Holistic and Cosmetic Dentistry is located at 207 Market St., in Halifax, PA. For more information, call 717-896-3911 or visit HalifaxDentistry.com.