Dental News

Holistic dentistry draws controversy

Phoenix woman finds relief for hip pain

Maureen West
The Arizona Republic

March 05, 2001 12:00:00

Tom Tingle/
The Arizona Republic
Dr. Terry Lee uses the muscles to test for jaw problems in Shelly Redburn of Mesa.

Ruth Van Sandt’s left hip, hurting since 1997, was so painful last year that she couldn’t climb stairs.

The 81-year-old Phoenix woman turned herself over to a dentist who claimed the pain originated in her jaw. She had already spent a small fortune on other doctors with little results.

Dr. Terry Lee, a Phoenix holistic dentist,performed extensive surgery on her jaw, cutting out dead and infected bone and gum tissue.

“It was that or an expensive funeral,” Van Sandt said. Now she is walking better and credits the $25,000 dental work for her improvement.

The jawbone surgery and the diagnostic techniques that Lee uses to determine if patients need such surgery have placed the Phoenix dentist at the center of a fierce legal, ethical and scientific war over holistic dentistry.

At the Arizona Legislature, Lee is battling a skeptical state Board of Dental Examiners, which oversees Arizona’s dental community.