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Galvanic testing

Galvanic testing prevents dental disasters (like this one)

Saturday, November 05, 2011 by: Mike Bundrant
Tags: galvanic testing, dental health, health news

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(NaturalNews) July 2, 2009 - our wedding day in beautiful Marin County, the San Francisco bay area. Hope and I are to be married in a few hours in a stunning redwood forest and then enjoy a drive along the coast to begin our honeymoon. In the present moment, we sit in a dental office for an emergency appointment. Hope's tooth seems to have suddenly abscessed, causing terrible pain, the worst since childbirth, she marveled.

The dentist reviewed the x-rays and tapped around it bit, then looked at us with a furrowed brow. "You have an infection and will need a root canal," he reported with a degree of finality. He knows this is not what we want to hear, especially on this particular day. The doctor offers to perform the procedure on the spot, or prescribe antibiotics to keep the infection at bay, easing the pain until we can get home to see our dentist. We opt for the antibiotics. Who wants a root canal on their wedding day?

No one can predict when these things might happen, but in this case I can't say we weren't properly warned. Two months prior, we had visited Dr. Carey O'Rielly of Integrative Dental in Encinitas, California. Dr. O'Rielly is a holistic dentist who performed galvanic testing for Hope, doing an analysis of the risk factors that lie ahead. He warned that the particular crown under which the infection lie was giving readings that suggested problems with decay. If we didn't address the issue, it could sneak up on us. We gave the good doctor our thanks and resumed our life. If only we had heeded the warning!

Galvanic testing is an inexpensive way to detect decay where x-rays often fail. At the time of Hope's galvanic test, I spoke with Dr. O'Rielly further about how it works. I can't help but notice the unusual irony of our conversation, given hindsight.

Mike: What is galvanic testing?

Carey: It's a device that measures galvanic readings off the tooth. If you have a metal crown, this unit can tell what kind of charge it is producing. You can know if there is any leakage around the restoration, basically from calcium ions coming off the tooth. If there is decay, the ions are detectable. You're leaking out of the filling or the crown. So it can tell you a couple of things. It's an early warning.

Mike: It's preventative then.

Carey: Yes, it's preventative. So, the galvanic aspect comes into place when you have dissimilar metals in proximity, like a silver filling next to a gold crown; or you might have an old silver filling under your crown that wasn't removed when the crown was placed. This unit can read that. It's very simple. We include that in our exam of our patients that come to us from the paper. It's quick and easy and it doesn't hurt. All you are doing is taking two quick probes and touching the tooth and the gum. We found that tells us information that we can't get in other ways. The Dental Board recognizes galvanic action in a couple of places, so it's an issue. It's not a big issue, but if you have other things going on it makes restorations less stable. That charge, this metal reacts with this metal and produces a bigger charge in that area.

Mike: If I have something that is leaking the galvanic will pick up on it?

Carey: We get the information from the unit. We can take a look at the area more closely. Like if the edges of the restoration are leaking really badly. It gives relative reading from all areas of the mouth. You can then make the determination if you and when you want to do something with that tooth. A lot of times it's not serious yet, but you don't want to wait two or three years for something to happen.

Mike: Will it pick up on issues that x-rays don't?

Carey: Yes it definitely will. Also, if there is leakage under a cap or crown that can turn into decay, you can see what's under there. A lot of times you don't know what's going on under there. Crowns hide a lot of stuff. It's a way to peek under a crown and see what's there. You might find out something you want to know. Some of these crowns come off and there is leakage and decay. We can find the problems before it gets bad.

Mike: It sounds like this is the type of thing that will prevent me from waking up in the middle of the night screaming in pain.

Carey: Or your doctor saying you need a root canal now with this tooth because I can see infection there. Before I couldn't see it because the x-ray didn't see it. That happens sometimes. To bring in some of these subtler issues within dentistry for people who are focused on health it's important to them. We find there are a lot people who are interested in how their dentistry can affect their health and that's the kind of work that we do.


The wedding was still beautiful, an unforgettable experience with loved ones and nature. The antibiotics and ibuprofen had even kicked in so that Hope was in much less pain. And we have an interesting story to tell. Still, we could have done without the wedding morning emergency. If we had practiced better prevention, we would have. Another life lesson in the book!

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About the author:
Watch the free video The AHA! Process: An End to Self-Sabotage and discover the lost keys to personal transformation and emotional well-being that have been suppressed by mainstream mental health for decades.

The information in this video has been called the missing link in mental health and personal development. In a world full of shallow, quick-fix techniques, second rate psychology and pharmaceutical takeovers, real solutions have become nearly impossible to find. Click here to watch the presentation that will turn your world upside down.

Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center and host of Mental Health Exposed, a Natural News Radio program.

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