Before we look at the differences between holistic and traditional dentistry, it’s important to look at what the word “holistic” means. The word itself comes from “wholistic” meaning “the whole.” Truly holistic dentists will educate patients on the importance of overall health and how dentistry can play a key role in a person’s overall well being.
The true differences between holistic dentistry and traditional dentistry are philosophical: traditional dentistry is the practice of treating the symptoms in the teeth and gums and attempting to prevent such problems from reoccurring. Holistic dentistry, which I practice at AAdvanced Dental, is the practice of treating the underlying problems that cause symptoms in the mouth, attempting to eliminate those problems (and, hence, preventing the symptoms from reoccurring) while ensuring the work done in the mouth does not have an adverse affect on your overall health.
One of the major differences between traditional and holistic dentistry is the use of mercury amalgam fillings. Traditional dentistry espouses the longevity of mercury amalgam fillings and will also point to the ADA (American Dental Association) and FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) statements that the mercury in the fillings is stabilized and safe, leaking only tiny amounts of mercury if any.
Holistic dentists understand that mercury is a toxin and even small amounts are too great a risk to the body and a person’s overall health. While amalgam fillings last longer than composites, they put pressure on the tooth and often cause weakening of the tooth structure by creating fractures. Truly holistic dentists do not place mercury and use amalgam removal protocol in their practice, as we do at AAdvanced Dental.
Another difference surrounds the use of fluoride. Traditional dentists are in favor of using fluoride in both a topical and ingested form. They argue in favor of fluoridating water supplies and recommend fluoride drops for infants. They point to research showing a decrease in cavity rates in areas where the water is fluoridated.
Holistic dentists typically argue against any form of ingested fluoride, arguing that it is a toxic element. They also argue that too much fluoride can cause fluorosis and that fluoridating public water supplies is forced medication of the general public. Some holistic dentists are for topical fluoride and some are against it.
We now know that recent medical research has determined that poor dental health is linked to other medical issues, including major heart disease, gastro-intestinal problems, headaches and more. Taking good care of your teeth and gums will result in better overall health.
About the Author:
Inna Shimanovsky, DMD and Aadvanced Dental is a 100% mercury-free general dental practice specializing in advanced cosmetic/reconstructive dentistry and extensive dental care services using the latest science and technology in a caring and pain free environment.