Biological Dentistry (Holistic Dental)
Holistic dentistry is an approach to dental care that seeks to promote the health and wellness of the patients in conjunction with their physical and emotional health. It deals with the mind, body and spirit of the patient, not just the teeth. This field is part of alternative health science. Holistic dentistry is also called natural dentistry, alternative dentistry, unconventional dentistry, biologic dentistry or biocompatible dentistry . The term “holistic” comes from “wholistic,” meaning “the whole.”Holistic dentists perform dentistry that is good for the whole body, as well as the teeth and gums. This is the major difference between the practices of a holistic dentist and a conventional, or traditional, dentist.
Biological Vs. Conventional Dentistry
Conventional dentistry treats the symptoms in the teeth and gums and attempts to prevent such problems from reoccurring. Contrastingly, holistic dentistry offers treatment of the underlying problems that cause symptoms in the mouth and, hence, prevents the symptoms from reoccurring. It also ensures that the work done in the mouth does not adversely affect overall health. In essence, it can be said that holistic dentistry is more comprehensive and health friendly than conventional dentistry.
Founded in 1978, The Holistic Dental Association wrote about its origins:
In 1978, concerned, dedicated dentists came together to share their common interest in treatment modalities that were not included in dental school curriculum. Some of these modalities were very new and others were very old; the one thing that they shared in common was they offered additional options for treatment. These dentists wished to establish an organization that would provide a forum for the development and sharing of health promoting therapies. A shift from the early emphasis of the dentist on modalities to a consideration of the attitudes and feelings of the patient and the dentist has occurred. But the primary goal to teach and to learn has not changed since the founding members first met.
Holistic dentistry works on the following basic principles:
- Proper nutrition for the prevention and reversal of degenerative dental disease
- Avoidance and elimination of toxins from dental materials
- Prevention and treatment of gum disease at its biological basis
Biological dentistry was founded upon the research and work of Dr. Weston Price, who conducted extensive research and found the alternative dental therapies for treatment of dental disease. It was he who came up with natural ways of treatment. One of his research findings is that proper nutrition is very important for the overall health of body and, ultimately, for the prevention of dental diseases. According to Dr. Price:
There is a nutritional basis for modern physical, mental and moral degeneration.
He determined that correction of diet helps in healing the ailments of not only teeth, but also the body. He was the first one to give a nutritional diet protocol as means of natural treatment for dental caries. Many holistic dentists have adopted his philosophy.
Holistic dentists perform treatments and techniques that help the body (the mouth, gums, teeth and oral area) heal on its own, by enhancing the healthy immune system. Their approach is as non-invasive as possible in whatever is done, dentally. Holistic dentistry is strongly opposed to the use of amalgam fillings, which contain mercury, the most toxic material. According to recent studies, mercury is released from the fillings in the form of vapors and can be absorbed by the rest of the body. It can compromise the immune system of the body. See here for more information on studies of amalgam toxity.
Holistic Dentists and Mercury
A Holistic dentist will never put an amalgam filling in a patient’s mouth. If amalgam-filling removal is needed, then a good holistic dentist should be chosen. The carefully selected dentist should be one who practices the safety guidelines for removal of the amalgam to protect you from mercury exposure during the process. He will then assess the biocompatibility of the alternative materials. Conventional dentists do not offer biocompatibility testing to their patients, whereas a holistic dentist believes that the material used in the mouth can affect the body, should it cause a reaction. Most holistic dentists test the biocompatibility of the material to be used in their clinics. They use different composite materials after checking their compatibility with the patient. Go here to learn more about biocompatible dental materials.
Root canal treatment in conventional dentistry is hardly successful. RCT involves the removal of the pulp from the root to make the nerve dead and is usually filled with some material. However, there is always a chance that even after the nerve is drilled out, bacteria can stay behind and cause infection over a period of time. Holistic dentistry does not recommend the root canal treatment for this very reason. It either suggests extraction or alternative treatment, which is relatively safe and successful. If a root canal is required, then a holistic dentist performs the root canal treatment using Endocal, which contains calcium oxide, zinc oxide and a special liquid that swells into the tubules in the root and seals them to prevent chronic infection. There is a better chance that this procedure will not infect your tooth. However, the natural way of saving your tooth is through nutrition. Click on the link to see Ramiel Nagel’s holistic alternative to root canal treatment.
Gum disease is another major dental problem that people can face. In cases of inflammation of gums and periodontal ligaments, conventional dentistry suggests surgical removal of the infected tissue and a course of antibiotics, as treatment of this condition. Surgery is never a good idea as it is painful and expensive. Plus, in some cases, gums may bleed after the operation. For a holistic dentist, nutritional supplementation is significant for the treatment of gum diseases. Gum diseases are associated with decreased vitamin C in diet. So, a diet rich in a vitamin C source is advised to the patient along with the advice on how to properly clean and irrigate teeth to remove bacteria and plaque from the teeth. These measures improve the health of gums and periodontal ligaments.
Fluoride and Biological Dentists
Use of fluoride is very common in conventional dentistry. Conventional dentists advise using fluoride toothpaste, fluoridated water and topical flouride. But, it is unsafe in all the forms because fluoride is toxic and has adverse effects on not only teeth, but on overall health. It damages the enamel, causing a condition called flourosis, and weakens the bones of the body. Due to these reasons, holistic dentistry is strongly opposed to the use of fluoride in any form. Read more about hazards of fluoride here.
The practice of holistic dentistry is an integral part of alternative medicine. The health and condition of your teeth is a reflection of the health of your body. So, it is important that, when you go to a dentist, you must ask questions, and you must know what the dentist plans for you because it’s you who has to go through the treatment, at the end of the day. That’s why it is very important to understand your options when you choose either a conventional or holistic dentist. Hopefully, after reading this, you now have a better idea of how holistic dentistry works, and what dental alternatives are available.
Click here to find good holistic dentists.
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