What does it mean to be a “Holistic Dentist”? (also known as biological, mercury- free, alternative or whole person dentist)
The Simple Answer:
“Holistic dentistry”, as such, is not a formally recognized “specialty” in dentistry. Rather it may be considered an alternative approach to dentistry that believes your oral health is interconnected to your overall health. It focuses on using bio-compatible (low-toxicity) restorative materials, eliminating infections, and promoting optimal teeth / jaw / head / neck structural relationships. Because no dentist can “do it all,” they often work together with a variety of healthcare professionals promoting integrated, complimentary care. One focus of a true “Holistic Dentist” is to identify areas of oral disease and structural dysfunction that may be negatively impacting the health and well-being of the patient. True holistic care supports the body’s natural abilities of self-healing and regeneration.
The Detailed Answer:
All holistic dentists have in common that they have graduated from a Post Graduate (Doctoral) Program for Dentistry and are certified with the credentials DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine). Beyond that things get a little complicated…. For the most part, a “Holistic Dentist” at some point came to the conclusion that the impacts of dental therapies could be seen throughout the body. They came to believe that the mouth is not disconnected from the rest of the body, and that anything done in the mouth can have significant positive or negative effects on overall health.
Because there is no “School of Holistic Dentistry,” there is no standard by which the consumer can evaluate a “holistic dentist”. Every “Holistic Dentist’s” path is unique because their post-dental school education is unique and different. The education of some may have emphasized heavy metal (mercury) toxicity, or orthopedic orthodontics, while others may have focused on nutrition and preventative programs. Knowing a dentist’s educational background will give you a good idea what their beliefs and philosophies are, and will therefore help you determine who may be a good fit with your own personal beliefs.
These are some of the different beliefs / philosophies of holistic dentists –
|Not Using Amalgam / Mercury Fillings|
|Knowing and Practicing Proper Mercury Removal|
|Consideration of Heavy Metal Issues (Electrical / Toxic)|
|Multi-disciplinary (Integrated) Healthcare|
|Nutritional / Preventative Therapies|
|Non-surgical Periodontal Therapy for Periodontal Disease Association of Dental Health with Whole Body Health|
**NOTE: It is increasingly popular for dentists to call themselves holistic, mercury-free, or biological dentists simply because they no longer use mercury / silver fillings. Make sure any dentist you are considering has received advanced training in the proper handling of mercury / silver fillings that are already in your mouth – as prescribed by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology (IAOMT – www.iaomt.org). According to the IAOMT, Mercury / amalgam / silver filling removal without following these guidelines may be hazardous to your health as well as the health of the dental practice team.**