by Erin Lehn Floresca
Certified Naturopathic and Biological Dentist Dr. Robert Herzog, Jr., FAGD, is a conventional dentist who uses a biological approach in his practice. With a dental career spanning more than two decades, Herzog has enjoyed continuing his education in holistic and alternative care so he can better accomplish modern dentistry goals in the least toxic manner. In addition to being a skilled safe mercury amalgam removal technique (SMART)) dentist, he is certified in ozone therapy by the American College of Integrative Medicine and Dentistry. Always on the search for cutting-edge modalities, this fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry also recently completed courses in neural therapy to further expand his alternative offerings.
What is your chief aim as a biological dentist?
My main goal is to help each patient get their body in the best possible state to promote healing. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including the use of non-toxic dental materials, naturopathy, homeopathy, ozone therapy, mercury removal and discussions about lifestyle choices, in addition to the standard tools I’ve been trained in as a general dentist.
My favorite part about being a dentist is having heart-to-heart conversations with my patients. A lot of them are systemically fighting something—like Lyme disease—and I enjoy working with them and their other practitioners to help guide them on their journey back to better health.
How does the health of our teeth impact our body?
Think of the human body like an electrical system. All the cells in our body are electrically driven. When they don’t perform optimally, we get interference fields which can affect body systems. Energy meridians run through our teeth, which can act like our body’s circuit breakers when interrupted by root canals or incomplete healing from extractions. Dental work such as metal crowns, mercury fillings, partial dentures and titanium implants can disrupt the natural energy flow. Using a modality such as neural therapy or replacing old dentistry work with something that’s more in tune with one’s biological makeup can help eliminate those blocked fields and help the body work better energetically.
Have you noticed any new trends in the kind of patients you’re seeing?
There are three types of patients that I’m seeing more frequently. The first group are very health-conscious patients in their early 30s who had their teeth filled with mercury-based amalgams when they were young. They’re mindful of what they put in their bodies and want any potential burdens to their health removed in a safe manner and replaced with something less toxic and more biocompatible.
Then I see patients who want their mercury-based fillings out because they’re struggling with some health concerns and feel there might be a potential link. Each case is different, and we always have in-depth conversations about whether going metal-free is absolutely necessary for them or not, based on their symptoms and conditions; knowing the choice is always the patient’s when it comes to having dental work revised.
Another group that I’m seeing more of are those looking for a like-minded practitioner. Many people still don’t realize that there is such a thing as a holistic or biologic dentist, so when they find me, I can tell they really appreciate talking to a dentist who doesn’t look at them funny when they question things like fluoride or want a professional opinion on alternative practices such as oil pulling. They’re an especially exciting subpopulation that I treat, and I enjoy being able to validate that they’re on the right path to maintaining good health.
Is there something that personally inspired your natural approach?
We are all on a life journey. Mine is currently health-related. A family member eight years ago was incorrectly diagnosed and prescribed pharmaceuticals which changed his personality until my wife and I said, “enough.” We found a different tactic which provided a more successful outcome. This started my education away from the current allopathic method to seeking practitioners with a functional medicine approach, while always questioning and learning about each treatment modality which supports body systems. I turned this philosophy inward and directed it toward my dental patients, which makes my daily office interactions invigorating and rewarding.
What kinds of self-care practices can we do at home to ensure better oral health?
You need a holistic approach to oral health care; a twice-yearly cleaning just isn’t effective enough. Good nutrition is the cornerstone for proper dental health. If a person’s diet is too acidic, it could cause a potential increase in dental decay. I always encourage people to reduce their sugar intake and stay away from drying agents like the blue mouthwashes. And of course, always brush and floss daily. I’m a huge advocate of water flossing.
Dr. Herzog’s dental practice is located at 651 Delaware Ave., in Albany. For more information, call 518-427-2447 or visit 651Dental.com.