Holistic dentistry. What is It?
To some, it might just sound like a woo woo practice with magic potions and home remedies to “solve” any problems and toothaches you have.
What is it actually? Holistic dentistry is the practice of performing dentistry that is not just good for the teeth and gums, but the entire body as a whole.
Do you think it’s right for you?
Holistic vs standard dentistry
There can be a significant difference between a standard dental practice and one that is in the holistic practice.
Holistic dentistry is the practice of performing dentistry that is not just good for the teeth and gums, but the entire body as a whole.
Being a holistic dentist is not just someone who practices dentistry with different techniques, but someone who uses those techniques as a key role to overall health.
A holistic dentist will educate their patients on how dentistry practices play into their overall health and the importance of overall health in general.
Standard dentistry, on the other hand, is the basing of treatments on scientifically proven principles and treatments that are both safe and effective according to the American Dental Association.
However, it is important for all dentists to see the importance the mouth plays in a person’s overall health.
Recent research and studies are showing there is a correlation between gum disease and heart disease. And if that wasn’t crazy enough, they found that the risk of heart disease goes up by 20% if you have gum disease.
So with that, here is the perfect opportunity for a shameless plug. Schedule your next visit to the dentist with Wayzata Dental, and keep your mouth clean, and your heart safe.
Why people see them
A majority of the people seeking out holistic dentistry are going to be more health-conscious and looking for a different, healthier alternative.
Holistic dentistry offices also tend to have an environment with a calmer vibe around the office.
Individuals with concerns about mercury exposure may also choose to see a holistic dentist. I will cover this later in the post, but in summary, mercury is used with a combination of other metals and then used to make fillings.
People may also decide to see a holistic dentist so they can avoid having a root canal treatment. This is because some professionals in the industry will warn of various diseases that can come from this work. It is important to note, though, that there are no scientific studies that support this idea.
Examples of differences in treatments
In this section, both sides have a good reason as to why their side is better than the other.
I think we have enough evidence that the traditional practice of today is safe.
It would be very tough to argue against the hundreds of thousands of current dentists using these current methods for their practice.
However, holistic has very good reasons as to why they do things a little bit different.
Difference #1: Mercury Fillings
Traditional approach: Traditional dentistry uses mercury amalgam fillings to fill cavities and tooth decay. These fillings contain approximately 50% mercury and 50% mix of silver, tin, and copper forming a powdered alloy.
Why is mercury used for this? Mercury is used in this process in order to bind together to allow the particle mixture to make a strong and durable filling.
If you have a concern about health factors with mercury being used, there is no need to worry. The FDA has reviewed studies finding that there is currently no link between these fillings and health issues.
Holistic approach: Holistic dentists see mercury as being a toxin. Even in small amounts, they believe it is too great of a risk to a person’s overall health.
A true holistic dentist will not use mercury in their practice.
They will always be sure to meet, if not exceed, safety guidelines when removing any mercury from patients’ teeth.
Difference #2: Root Canals
Traditional approach: When a tooth has suffered extreme decay or is on the verge of dying completely, most traditional dentists recommend a root canal.
It is a proven procedure that has been done for centuries in order to keep a natural tooth.
If you give your tooth the correct care after your procedure, it can last for the rest of your life.
Holistic approach: A holistic dentist believes that a root canal cannot be effective unless the area is 100% sterilized and clear from bacteria.
They also believe that the chemicals used for the sterilization process are toxic and that any bacteria left in the area of work can lead to adverse health effects.
Difference #3: Fluoride
Traditional approach: Fluoride treatments are used in order to prevent the decay of tooth enamel and decrease cavities. Check here if you want a deeper dive into what fluoride is.
Traditional dentists are in support of using fluoride as a direct application to the teeth or ingesting it if you are 16 years and under.
Holistic approach: Fluoride treatments are not something that a holistic dentist typically argues for, but there are still some that do.
They will usually opt for alternative natural remedies instead.
Potential risks of holistic
Even though the goal of the holistic dentist is to make you healthy as a whole, there may be a few risk factors if you decide to see one.
As I explain in my fluoride page, we see that fluoride treatment is a proven method to prevent cavities in both children and adults.
If you decide to see a holistic dentist, you will not have the option to receive this treatment and could suffer from tooth decay as a result.
Since a holistic dentist does not offer a root canal for treatment, they may just recommend pulling out the tooth instead.
If you have a missing tooth, it can cause a shift in your teeth to fill that gap, as well as make it harder to chew. Who wants that?
Dentistry takes a lot of care, knowledge, and focus in order to do well. There is no one way to do everything, which is part of what makes this practice so interesting.
Every patient is unique, which means the approach we take with them is going to be a little different as well. The approach should match the patients’ needs and current situation, which means there is not a one size fits all approach to dental treatment.