By Dr. Franz Hopfer
From Neural Therapy, Reflex Zones and Somatotopies: A Key to the Diagnostic and Therapeutic Understanding of Man’s Ills, a seminar guide compiled by the American Academy of Biological Dentistry, June 1989
During the IXth Congress of the FDI in 1936 in Vienna, Grumbach elucidated: “Focal infection constitutes today a problem which leaves all other diseases far behind itself in importance for the public health. This is a problem which presents entirely new prophylactic and therapeutic perspectives to the clinical practice and, finally, which is exceptionally well suited to verify the value of special research in the territory of holistic, natural-scientifically oriented medicine.”
Now, 30 years later, these elaborations still have their complete validity. Also, the long list of diseases which are focus-conditioned, as quoted by Grumbach, and likewise his statement that the teeth are the leading cause of illnesses, have not undergone any reduction.
The last three decades have brought a change in so far as the understanding regarding the focus-conception and the focus-happening have undergone a revision and that the list of those illnesses which may have a focal source has undergone expansion on the basis of practical experience.
The teaching about focal diseases has come about on the basis of medical observations, and only on the basis of practical successes has there been effort for finding an undergirding theory. Even though they cannot be completely explained scientifically even now, in spite of many hypotheses, yet they are moving more and more into the foreground of interest. The original imagination that a focal disease is maintained by diffused bacteria or toxins which issue from a focus is extensively rejected today because we know that the plurality of these foci do not contain bacteria. To avoid this traditional association of foci and bacterial happenings, the expression “disturbance field” has been coined as a synonym for focus. According to Siegmund, what is meant today in the larget sense of focus, resp. disturbance field, is: all local tissue changes which are capable of causing distant effects via their immediate surroundings. According to this definition, it appears reasonable that distant illnesses can be caused by an impacted tooth, surplus dental germs, incorporated foreign substances (particles), or also by scars.
On the basis of pertinent experiences it may be assumed that the focus changes also other organs in their function. Because it is not imaginable that a focus by itself can effect diseases, the attacked organ must have undergone prior changes. It is to be assumed that the stricken organ had a disposition, either hereditary, as, e.g., in rheumatic families, or through prior damages. Beyond that, it has to be considered that in focal diseases, not only may any organ become stricken but the total organism may undergo changes. The examinations by Pischinger have made these observations vividly explainable. According to him, every inflammation occurs in the interstitial, or as he calls it, the cellular soft connective tissue that is distributed throughout the body and, thereby, has the capacity of involving the total organism. This soft connective tissue contains nerves with their endings and is supplied, via the also contained vascular system, with nutrients and oxygen, but it is also influenced by hormones.
Till now, it has not been possible to prove that nerve endings are in connection with organ cells but there are always connective tissue cells surrounding them. Thus, it must be assumed that the connective tissues have fundamental regulatory capacities. With that, the association of a focus, in our case, the teeth, with the total organism is established.
According to the focus definition, it is explicable that a focus can cause nearly every type of disease, resp. promote it in a way that makes it clinically manifested by this influence, since every functional or morphologic change can become a starting point for a new disease and, as a fact, every particle of the organism stands in connection via the soft connective tissue, with all organs and systems. Moreover, a disturbance field can interfere in an existing ailment by hindering an otherwise effective therapy from effecting a healing.
That foci can even affect the hormonal balance may be indicated by the following case:
A 77 yr. old patient, F.M. - who had suffered for years from diabetes; her blood sugar was stable around 200 mg/% with observation of her diet and the taking of insulin - had two restotitic foci removed from the empty jaw as a focal clearing, because there was acoxarthrosis and spondylopathy current. Since then, her blood sugar values are around 130 mg/% in spite of cancellation of the insulin and extensive loosening of her diet.
In order to avoid the frequently raised objection of uncontrollable subjective declarations of patients or psychological influences of the doctor, I would like to enter here a partial territory of special interest for us: In collaboration with A. Stacher from the department of Prof. Fleischhacker and our own focal practice, we could unequivocally prove on the basis of hematologic illnesses the considerable influence of foci on the blood-forming system whereby the effect issues especially from the tooth-jaw area. In brief summation, we can report: only minor improvement of leukemia through focus-sanitization was observed, but extremely good results were attained with leukocytoses, leucopania, infectious anemias, and vascular purpuras - especially through odontogenic focal therapy. With prognostically infaust panmyelopathies, we were even able to reach a clinical healing in 50% of the cases. The following case has convinced even us as the first one regarding the focal-effect with panmyelopathies:
A 51 yr. old engineer, G.J., had been diagnosed in March 1960 at a well-known outlying hematologic department with panmyelopathy. Half a year later, he was accepted at the department of Prof. Fleischhacker and treated with Prednisolon, antibiotica, and blood transfusions - after all other means had failed. There was reached a temporary improvement, but the blood panels sank strongly again and again. Now, two devital teeth were extracted one week apart. After the first extraction, the patient already felt subjectively better, and he, himself, reduced the dosage of Prednisolon. There was a moderate increase of leukocytes in the blood panel. On the day after the second extraction, the values fell temporarily to 2400, then rose to 5500. Simultaneously, there was an improvement in the anemia and thrombopenia so that every therapy was discontinued. In the following weeks, the blood report normalized, along with the index for leukocytes-phosphatase and especially the marrow report, which previously had yielded only a strongly hypoplastic sign with a few isolated heopoetic presteps. Over the period of 4 years during which the patient received no treatments, all reports remain normal.
With this example, we also point out that foci not only are able to cause diseases which lower the patient’s joy-of-living through their painfulness, such as, e.g., in diseases of the rheumatic formaiton circuit, and can cause long-continued disease conditions which are a first class social problem, but they can also influence or cause life-threatening illnesses.
When we enter more closely the tooth-jaw area, which is a functional and pathogenic unit, asking a question about a possible focus in the odontogenic area, then more is required of the dentist than a mere search for granulomas. Therefore, not the roentgenologist but only the stomatologist can give a useful focus-related report on the basis of the complete x-ray status and precise clinical examinations. Every devital tooth is in question as a focus, without considering the apex report, just as every impacted or extra tooth or dental germs, every gum pocket or a general parodontosis, every root remainder, likewise cysts and chronically inflamed empty jaw, the so-called restostitides. These latter named conditions are much more frequent than assumed, only their recognition is generally difficult. Equally, one must look out for incorporated foreign particles, as also the presence of various mouth metals which at times have the capacity of causing distant disturbances.
On the basis of the many mutations findable in the tooth-jaw area which can take on focal characteristics, it seems reasonable why so frequently the cause for a distant ailment can be found just here.
Therefore, the dentist has in a heightened measure an important role for general medical problems beside the task of the maintenance of a highly functioning set of teeth. This role consists [of] the active collaboration in the discovery of potential foci and, if the examinations so indicate, [of] the odontogenic focal therapy. This therapy is predominantly promising success only when it is as radical as possible. In this is to be emphasized that the root tip resection has no qualification as a focal therapeutic measure. A further task for the dentist consists of prophylaxis, whereby works which may facilitate the development of foci should be avoided.
It is to be emphasized that the dentist, just as little as other specialists, can pronounce whether the discovered potential focus is actually the cause of a disease. The answer to this question is the task of the treating doctor who, to be sure, should be familiar with focal diagnosis and focal therapy.
In order to bring into the light the necessity of this collaboration, I want to close with the words of Mathis and Winkler from the book Dental Science and Interior Medicine: “Let us hold constantly in focus that an ‘inner, wholesome mind’ seeks connectedness in all branches of the healing science. The outer separation of departments is more incidental, but it is not lasting, only a temporary appearance. It is left to the individual to build the bridge which is not yet sufficiently built and walkable, through one's own knowledge and desire.”
Originally published in German, in Austrian Periodical for Stomatology, February 1966.