by Sheila Julson
Dr. Laura Railand of Holistic Dentistry of Port Washington came from a family of orthodontists, but she never thought she would go into dentistry. As a young artist in New Mexico, she made jewelry and stained glass. One day she happened to need some small tools to complete an art project, and those supplies were sold at a dental lab. “Everyone in the lab was sitting around making crowns,” she recalls, and she immediately saw a connection between artistic detail and the meticulous work that dentistry required.
However, she didn’t pursue dentistry right away. Railand went to Mills College, in Oakland, California, where she earned a degree in biology, and then she moved to Oregon to participate in an AmeriCorps program. During that time she worked as a water chemist, but later decided to study dentistry at Oregon Health and Science University. She had always been interested in natural health, and during her time in Oregon, she was further immersed in the holistic health culture dominant in Portland.
After earning her dental degree in 2010, she returned to New Mexico to do a residency at the University of New Mexico hospital, which served many low-income people. “There were a lot of patients who were not getting better. They brought us (dental residents) in to evaluate them, and we found that they had a lot of dental infections. Once we removed those infections, the patients were getting better,” Railand says. She became part of a dental team that evaluated patients for dental clearance before surgeries. “The hospital really saw the value of whole-body health, and that was a great experience for me: recognizing the mouth-body connection.”
In 2012, Railand and her husband moved to Wisconsin to be closer to his family, and once there, she decided to start a new practice in the former space of Dr. Steve Carini, a Port Washington dentist who practiced with a holistic philosophy. Carini had retired and closed his practice in 2014. Railand opened her practice, Holistic Dentistry of Port Washington, in September 2016. Since opening, the practice has grown quickly, and she believes it is because patients are recognizing the importance of their dental health and how the mouth affects the whole body.
Holistic Dentistry of Port Washington has a 3D imaging machine that can detect underlying infections in the mouth not shown on the standard 2D X-ray machines common in most dental clinics. The clinic is also metal-, BPA- and fluoride-free. Railand is certified through the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT) to safely remove amalgam fillings in a way that minimizes metal exposure for the patient and the practitioner. Patients can then have compatibility testing in order to determine healthier, non-reactive filling options.
In addition to detecting infections early, and offering amalgam filling removal and replacement options, Railand has another focus: children. Today’s environmental burdens and soft diets are causing malocclusion (misaligned teeth) in young kids, resulting in mouth breathing that leads to airway issues and sleep apnea. For this reason, Railand offers functional orthodontics. It identifies these problems early on, and gets children started on sleep appliances and myofunctional therapy in order to change the way their mouths develop, thus opening airways and sinuses.
Railand provides a calm, friendly environment where patients aren’t rushed through, and their concerns are heard. She is passionate about helping people not only look better, but also feel better. “There is a true body-dental connection, and patients shouldn’t ignore what’s going on in their mouths. If they feel like something is off, they should follow through; more often than not, the patient’s intuition is right.”
Holistic Dentistry of Port Washington is located at 222 N. Franklin St. For more information, call 262-235-4525 or visit HolisticDentistryWI.com.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.
This article was featured in the Milwaukee addition of Natural Awakenings