What Is Holistic Dentistry?
Holistic dentistry (also known as alternative dentistry, biologic dentistry, integrative dentistry, biocompatible dentistry, or unconventional dentistry) considers patients’ oral health in the scheme of their entire physical, emotional, and sometimes even spiritual health.
There is no set standard for practicing holistic dentistry, but most holistic dentists use a variety of healing traditions along with traditional dentistry. For example, if you need a cavity filled, from the holistic dentist’s viewpoint, it’s not enough to simply fill the cavity and send you on your way. A holistic dentist will take into account the biocompatibility of the material used as well as lifestyle that may have led to the formation of the cavity in the first place. The dentist will customize treatment so that the materials used do not adversely affect you, and then discuss your nutrition, diet, and home care, so that you avoid cavities in the future.
The same thing goes for gum disease. Holistic dentists will spend more time educating you about the health of your gums and give ways to properly take care of your teeth. Not only will there be a visual examination, but a plaque sample is taken and oral bacteria is looked at under a microscope. Sometimes, specific dangerous bacteria need to be treated in a special way. Confirming with a microscope (before and after cleanings) is an extra step that will ensure your gums are and will stay healthy.
Other holistic dentistry basic principles:
- Prevention and reversal of dental diseases with proper nutrition.
- Bite and TMJ prevention and treatment
- Gum disease can be prevented. It can also be treated without surgery.
- Metal fillings (amalgams and crowns), which contain potentially irritating and toxic metals, may need to be avoided. Existing metal fillings should be handled with care.
- Disease can be prevented. Genetics can predispose you to certain illnesses, but with the right preventative care most diseases can be alleviated.
Holistic dentistry is not a new phenomenon. The Holistic Dental Association was founded in 1978, but various advocacy groups existed long before that. The Holistic Dental Association was formed by dedicated dentists who were concerned that the dental school curriculum was too narrow. The doctors’ objective was to provide a forum to develop and share progressive healing dental therapies. I’m proud to say that I am not only a member of the HDA, but I sit on the board and impact major decisions that come from the organization. For more information on specific Holistic Dental procedures, please see the Holistic Dentistry tab.
Because we’re one of the few holistic dentists in the area, we have patients from not just Lakeview and Wrigleyville, but Wisconsin, Indiana, and the greater Chicagoland Area. Call the office if you’d like to learn more.