As a child, I dreaded going to the dentist. I did not quite understand the importance of healthy teeth and thought it was just a painful place you were forced to go to. I remember this all changed when I had a bad earache. My mom took me to my pediatrician and she studied my ear and told me that my ears were fine, I was healthy, and any pain I was feeling was most likely due to a cavity in my back teeth. I remember this moment very clearly because it never dawned on me before that my mouth and my teeth can actually impact the rest of my body in positive and negative ways. I never thought having unhealthy teeth could cause other bodily complications such as an earache. The belief that our teeth, mouth, and jaw strongly impact our bodies health is the foundation of Holistic dentistry.
Holistic dentistry emphasizes the connection between oral health and our general health. These dentists work with many other doctors and health care professionals to get a comprehensive picture of the patient as a whole and not just as a mouth. The dentists aim to determine flawed areas of the patients oral health in order to understand how those sick areas are impacting their bodies functioning. A key belief in holistic dentistry is that our bodies are capable of self healing and dentists should always use the least invasive and toxic treatments. This is in order to just aid the body and give it a push so that its natural abilities can then take over. An example of this would be not using mercury fillings because of the toxicity.
A few of the differences between non-holistic and a legitimate holistic dentist can be easily seen in what procedures are done for the patients. Holistic dentists will not use amalgam or mercury fillings due to its toxicity and will even remove existing mercury fillings. Holistic dentists do not use fluoride treatments due to the controversy surrounding it; however, they will offer more natural products that serve the same function such as calcium and phosphate. Holistic dentists also do not approve of teeth extractions for purely cosmetic reasons. This is a practice commonly seen in orthodontics; removing some teeth due to overcrowding. The thought is that if your jaw is too crowded, getting rid of a few teeth will allow the remaining teeth to grow in properly. However, removing any teeth besides wisdom or the 3rd molars will cause changes in the size of jaws. Our jaws readjust and get smaller while our tongue stays the same. Having too large of a tongue can cause problems seen throughout the body.
Holistic dentistry can also help for people who like myself are very anxious at the dentist and generally dread going. Many different methods are used to ease a patients anxiety such as playing movies, listening to music, hypnosis, and if needed sedation medicine. Additionally, a special effort is given by the dentists to ensure they are always using the least painful method possible in the shortest amount of visits.
Before writing this article, I loved my dentist. But after discovering all this research I can tell you I will be calling up a holistic dentist in San Diego for my next appointment.