Back to School Check in From Dr. Jill
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
To My Dear Sweet Patients and Your Families,
I know that at the ripe age of 37 going on 38, it may seem less appropriate to share my inner thoughts, struggles, and victories via a public format in such a “Taylor Swift, opening the pages of my journal” kind of way. Nonetheless, whether you’re team Kanye or Team Swifty, I know that speaking my authentic truth has been tremendously rewarding in my personal and professional growth. I’m fortunate that each year has brought with it countless opportunities to learn and give back, and a big part of what I’ve learned this year is that this community I so value benefits most when we exercise genuine compassion, open-mindedness, and an optimism that we can do a lot more good when we do it together. So, with a very nerdy dentist twist and a dash of a little Beyonce “Lemonade” spice, I’m here to share my take on 2019 thus far in addition to giving a back-to-school update on things to come at Central Dentist. If I could sing, I’d turn it into an album but alas, I’m no Ariana Grande (side note: I just impressed myself with how many pop star references I made in an opening of a “professional” email. Wow 💃).
First and foremost, I haven’t shared this with many, but I started the New Year with a super fun, rare cancer diagnosis for myself (obviously being sarcastic with the “super fun” part of that diagnosis). Peripheral T-Cell lymphoma. Ummmm.... what the heck, amiright? After consulting with a number of local and international specialists and a number of extraordinary friends and family members who have experience and/or expertise in this area, I found out that I somehow hit the medical “Whammy” again. Little is known about this diagnosis because the small number of middle-aged Asian men who typically present with this condition apparently do not qualify as a robust enough population to accrue massive amounts of cancer research dollars to understand more about the etiology and treatment options. So that's neat 😑. Long story short, I’m grateful to report that I’m currently in remission. On top of that, I'm certainly more educated than I once was on this specific condition as well as what it means to be "young" and to receive an uncommon cancer diagnosis out of nowhere.
During the discovery period, I will admit there was a lot of the typical fear, grief, anger, guilt, etc. types of emotions that I felt, and I know my family felt as well. With time, I’ve elected to reframe what this experience means to me as I’ve always tried NOT to be a “why me?"-type person, and I’m certainly not going to start now. I choose to see that I was “blessed” with my circuitous and challenging medical history (from heart surgeries to difficult pregnancies and L&D, and now cancer) so that I can understand better than most just how hard it is to be a patient; just how hard it is to be diagnosed with something you don’t expect; and how important it is to find a healthcare professional that you trust who will go above and beyond to partner with you during your weakest moments to help you reach your goals. I aim to show up like this every day for the people in my life. I’m certainly not perfect, and I welcome feedback – both positive and constructively negative, but I want to be explicit in telling you that this is my foundational intention each and every day.
For me, one of my greatest supports was Dr. Margaret Christensen, an MD, FMICD, who helped me understand that even though we might not know the exact or specific cause of this type of cancer, that we know a lot about the contributing factors that promote cancer’s growth as well as environmental and lifestyle modifications that can fight and prevent cancer cells from proliferating. I was previously familiar with the more popularized discussions on nutrition, specifically sugar, GMOs, chemically-treated plants and antibiotic-treatment animal proteins. What I was less familiar with were things such as topical products such as skin/beauty products, cleaning chemicals in the household, and environmental toxins effecting air/water/soil quality. Dr. Christensen is incredibly intelligent and will not settle until she helps her patients find a solution. I’m forever indebted to her and her amazing team for supporting me on this path to recovery. (Pictured below: many thanks to all who helped me maintain my smile in the toughest of times and helped my patients in all ways necessary along the way)
Mind you, I’ve been very happy to grow my practice over the past few years with a focus on children through education and early interventional therapy. This quickly became a passion to help my own children, my nieces and nephews, and their friends. Once I saw how I could consistently prevent most all dental and oral health diseases and chronic issues through guided growth and development to achieve optimal airway, sleep, TMJ, and dental outcomes, I realized I wanted to help any and all children in my community. As exciting as this has been to grow the pediatric component of my practice, I have been disappointed that I was limited in how I could help some of my adult patients who didn’t have this “growth” available to leverage in the effort to change their current state, or even worse, that many of my adult patients had already experienced a lifetime of misinformation and/or suboptimal treatment decisions related to their oral health.
Well, just when I was feeling a bit overwhelmed but knew that I needed to find a second wind to tackle all that was before me, my sister, Dr. Beth Rosellini, decided to come back to join my practice 🤗🎉.
If you didn’t meet her while she was covering one of my many maternity leaves, then let me introduce you to her...
Beth went to UT Austin and graduated with Honors in Math and Chemistry. She went on to Baylor Dental School in Dallas, the same dental school our grandfather attended back in the 1940’s. After graduating, she joined a private practice in Florida for a few years before deciding to dive into one of her biggest passions: research. She joined a research project as volunteer consultant/ the team’s leading expert in head and neck anatomy.
The overall project was aimed at improving clinical outcomes for patients with chronic neurological conditions such as ALS and MS; her specific role was in evaluating the efficacy of peripheral nerve stimulation to treat dysphagia, or the inability to swallow, as many patients who suffer from these chronic neurological conditions experience aspiration pneumonia and/or choking due to poor oral function and swallowing.
With a mindset to just go “figure it out” in the field of research, Beth engaged in more preclinical and clinical research programs, many of which went on to be funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health. To name a few of her favorites, she teamed with doctors from Texas Tech to evaluate intra-oral pathways to stimulate the sphenopalatine ganglion that would open the blood brain barrier and allow cancer pharmacotherapies to cross the barrier and treat brain metastases from breast cancer, with a hypothesized value of decreasing the overall systemic burden of these drugs on the rest of the body. She also collaborated with physicians and engineers in a handful of activated-biomaterial therapies for personalized, point-of-care medicine as well as peripheral neurostimulation, both implantable and external, for treatment of conditions such as migraines and chronic pain, as well as enhanced therapies to improve memory and other neurocognitive functions.
With her research, she spent an inordinate amount of time with the geriatric patients who suffered from these conditions, many of whom live in long-term care nursing facilities. She made friends that she describes as her “nursing home researcher” crew (didn’t know that was a thing, but to each their own 💁). Among many newlearnings, she was shocked to find a lot of credible research that had been around for decades that had not been popularized for the betterment of patients for a host of different reasons.
Beth learned about what I can now only describe as the “jaw-dropping” correlations and causations between mercury amalgam fillings, fluoride, and other non-biocompatible materials used in the dental field and dementia. Here are some interesting ones that I was most surprised by:
In 1975, there was a “new” mercury amalgam material grandfathered into approval for use by the FDA that boasted safer quality. From 1935-1975, there was a reported annual average rate of 8,800 cases of Multiple Sclerosis in the US. In 1976, the year after this “new” mercury material was being used, there were 123,000 cases of MS reported. That’s a 1297% increase, that has only continued to grow. Since 1991, the World Health Organization has been reporting that dental amalgam fillings account for more than 4x the amount of mercury exposure than all other sources including fish, non-fish food, air, and water. (Pictured above is Dr. Beth & Jessica performing the Safe Mercury Amalgam Removal Technique)
Systemic exposure to poorly monitored fluoridated city water and other unregulated, consumer products have been proven over and over again to be a way greater risk to society, contributing to an increased incidence of fluorosis (a brownish, mottling of the teeth due to overexposure). A peer-reviewed, reputable study out of China demonstrated a significant concentration- response relationship between the level of fluoride in drinking water and the children’s IQ. As the fluoride level in drinking water increased, the IQ fell and the rates of mental retardation and borderline intelligence increased. This study was corrected for other contributing factors such as location, parent education level, and other chemical exposures.
This was just the tip of the iceberg. Beth and I were shocked, and to be honest, kind of disgusted, that this data was never taught in dental school, but in fact, the opposite was very much promoted. She realized there was a lot of really rewarding work that she could be doing as an “alternative” or holistic dentist, so she decided to come back to Dallas to build this new branch of my practice with me. (Pictured here, Beth & I were trying on various gas masks at the IAOMT meeting in Indianapolis this past spring to use for future SMART procedures; I swear I'm smizing ála Tyra Banks behind that mask)
Never settling to be anything other than an “expert” in any field she pursues, Beth has since gone on to complete her accreditation with the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology. She has been selected as a speaker and educator in this space, and she has a variety of ongoing clinical research projects that we are collaborating on at my office and a few partnering healthcare providers in other offices and hospitals.
Beth is currently creating all new educational materials for our patients. She will be further expounding on the dangers of mercury amalgam (“silver”) fillings (I highly recommend you watch the 5 minute video on this page) and the proper technique for removal of this dangerous material. Other topics will include fluoride , nutrition, other biocompatible materials and therapies such as ozone and laser therapy, as well as environmental measures we are taking as a practice to drastically decrease our carbon footprint and make strides to replenish and bolster a healthy environment and community. (Pictured to the right is my Dad, Dr. Mike Rosellini, tryin out our new ozone sauna in our new ozone therapy room)
I’m super excited that expanding the biocompatibility component of our practice will also help my growing population of special needs pediatric patients and pediatric patients who are on the spectrum or present with another neurocognitive or behavioral diagnosis.
To receive these updates and stay informed, please subscribe to our “Holistic Oral Health Newsletter”. If you’d like more information on this sooner, Beth will be offering complimentary diagnostic exams and consultations every Thursday in August and September to help get this information out ASAP to those who want and need it. Please call our office to schedule at your convenience.
So, in a year that started off in a very unexpected way, I couldn’t be more grateful for where I have ended up. I’m beyond thrilled to have this new energy in our practice to ensure my team, my patients, and our environment are as safe and protected, happy and healthy as possible.
As a reminder, the easiest kind of dentistry we can do includes education and prevention. If you have yet to enroll your child in our Super Health Program, I’d encourage you to ask friends or families that have had success and/or come in and get started before school gets too busy. Sleep and airway health are critical components to your child’s foundational health and are gatekeepers to your kids achieving optimal wellness, now and as adults. Please don’t delay!
Also, please know that my intention in sharing all of this is because I’ve found through experience, that sharing and giving helps me heal, and oftentimes, helps others heal in ways I couldn't predict. I’ve found that by being open and vulnerable, I can create an opportunity to connect and understand others in a way I previously wasn’t able to see or hear. I certainly am not sharing for pity or anything with a negative sentiment. I’m sharing to connect, and if I can be so bold to say that I have the lofty goal of inspiring and empowering those around me. I selfishly get a great deal of peace when my aspirations to learn and be better can have a positive influence on the lives of those around me. It goes without saying that you all are one of my greatest sources of inspiration and education. So I sincerely thank each of you for choosing me to be in your life in the way that you have!
Other than that, thank you for attending my Ted Talk 😜 (if you don’t get that reference, just ask a millennial who understands memes). I look forward to seeing you all this Fall, whether it’s in our office or on the sidelines of a soccer game in the community. Hoping this school year is our best yet!
Family Dentist. Early Interventional Therapy Educator & Lecturer. Swifty & Beyonce Enthusiast.
"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." – Coretta Scott King