Many of us hate going to the dentist. Sometimes it’s just because it’s not fun having your teeth poked and prodded at with sharp tools. Others, it’s because they have an actual fear of the dentist for one reason or another. Some people may not like going to the dentist because they don’t like how things are done and the chemicals and materials they use, such as using amalgam in fillings and doing fluoride treatments. Many people also may not like how dentists use nonsurgical approaches to gum disease or may even believe that doing root canals can have adverse effects on the body.  Such people, both patients and those practicing in the dental community, who will prefer to take a more holistic approach when it comes to dentistry.

Holistic dentistry, also known as alternative dentistry and biologic dentistry, appeals to many people because its approach to dentistry includes considering the patient’s dental health in the context of their entire physical health as well as, in some instances, their emotional and/or spiritual health.

In general, holistic dentistry focuses on the health and wellness of the patient as opposed to treating whatever the disease or physical problem is and uses both modern scientific knowledge and tools as well as knowledge gained from various traditions of natural healing. Instead of focusing on just the health of a patient’s teeth as mainstream dentists do, holistic dentistry focuses on the well-being of their mind, body and spirit and tries to do so in a more “natural” way by practices such as:

  • Using proper nutrition to prevent and reverse dental disease
  • Not use dental materials that have toxins, such as amalgam or mercury
  • Prevent and treat bite problems, which are seen as physical imbalances
  • Prevent and treat gum disease
  • Proper removal of mercury
  • Integrated (multi-disciplinary) healthcare
  • Orthopedic orthodontics (TMJ)
  • Treatment & diagnosis of breathing problems
  • Cavitations

Those who practice alternative dentistry do, however, can vary widely in regards to their techniques and what services they offer.

There are many people who are health-conscious and try to avoid too many chemicals and such in their life. There are also many who are spiritual and believe in the power of nature. There are also those who are against medicine and science to one degree or another. Holistic dentistry and its natural and spiritual approaches can have a wide appeal to these types of people.

While there may be some merit in taking different approaches to dentistry, holistic dentistry does have its critics, especially in the medical and dental arena, which is grounded in the use of scientific research. Many of the criticisms refer to the practices of using alternative health remedies, such as homeopathic therapies, acupuncture, and herbal remedies. Those in the field of science criticise them because many alternative treatments have either been scientifically proven ineffective or have not been scientifically researched enough to be proven safe or to actually work.

Such criticisms haven’t stopped many people from seeking out treatment from holistic dentists, however. Nor, apparently, has the higher price tag for “specialized” holistic dental treatment compared to mainstream dental treatment.

Holistic dentistry may not be for everyone. But it may be for you.

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