ave you heard of holistic dentistry? This alternative approach to dentistry is gaining traction and attention, and it may be appealing to you as well.
Generally speaking, a dentist that practices a holistic approach, is concerned with the health of the entire body. Or, as WebMD puts it, “Above all, they believe in the principles of holistic medicine. That means they believe someone’s dental health is connected to their overall health.”
WebMD goes on to say that “You could see a holistic dentist for a number of reasons. As with any level of care, a dentist should fit your needs. If you are interested in alternative medicine, a holistic dentist is a good choice. Since they are licensed and trained dentists, they can provide needed services while using alternative techniques and natural remedies.”
But what makes a dentist holistic, and how does this approach work in practice?
What is the difference between holistic dental treatment and regular dental treatment?
A traditional dentist tends to focus on things like
- Tooth cleaning
- Cavity filling
- Root canals
And, of course, these are vitally important aspects of oral health and dentistry. Every dentist has an interest in preventing or treating tooth decay, and holistic dentists are no exception. As Healthline says, however, “holistic dentists do not perform root canals. They believe root canals aren’t totally safe due to the procedure and chemicals used.”
As WebMD explains, “Holistic dentists diagnose and treat conditions like tooth decay, gum disease, tooth infection, enamel degradation, or dry mouth. Instead of focusing on dental cleaning, a holistic dentist offers education to encourage personal oral hygiene.”
One way that alternative dentistry differs from traditional dentistry is in the materials that they use in procedures. Where a traditional dentist may use amalgam fillings, holistic dentists will often steer clear of them in favor of mercury-free dental filling options.
Holistic dentists often recommend avoiding chemicals such as fluoride. Healthline says “Holistic dentists opt for “biocompatible” or natural materials instead of the types of substances used by a traditional dentist. Biocompatibility refers to the way substances affect your body. This speaks to the whole-body approach of the practice.”
Holistic dentistry and TMJ
Another distinction between traditional and holistic dentistry is that the latter will often provide treatment for a broader range of issues. One standout condition that holistic dentists often treat are TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders.
Many dentists don’t provide any treatment options for TMJ at all. Others may be convinced that surgey is the first option for treating these disorders. A holistic dentist will understand that the jaw and face pain that TMJ causes are tied to the overall health of the body.
In our blog, we’ve discussed an array of non-surgical trearments for TMJ. These can range from muscle relaxation to realign the bite to physical therapy. Many times a holistic dentist will recommend talk therapy, understanding that TMJ and stress are closely related.
One of the most common holistic approaches to the treatment of TMJ is the utilization of an oral orthotic device. On our website, we discuss one such device called the anterior repositioning appliance. We explain:
This appliance allows for the lower jaw to re-nestle itself in a larger upper jaw. With this appliance, we are now able to help patients with sleep apnea, poor posture, and can allow the lower jawbones to accommodate all the teeth in a place that is in harmony with jaw joints, vertebrae, and muscles of the head and neck.
This is the essence of Face-forward Orthodontics or Jaw Development orthodontics or Orthopedic Orthodontics which allows the lower jaw to come down and forward creating happier muscles and more room in the joint space.
It’s this intersection of oral health and overall physical health that aligns this device with holistic dental care.
There are many potential benefits of holistic dentistry. The exploration of how your oral health may be connected to other health problems may help our overall health care. Avoiding certain chemicals or substances may be healthier for your body overall. And there are many reasons to avoid surgery for conditions like TMJ unless all alternatives have been exhausted.
Want to talk to someone further about holistic dentistry? Schedule a consultation today.