The basic tenets of holistic dentistry are simple: dentistry should do no harm, and dentists review mouth, sinuses, airway, teeth, jaw bones, gums, gingiva, tissues ties, and TMJ as integral parts of a larger, whole-body system. Holistic dentists as they have developed over the last 20 years have understood the oral environment as the key indicator of health, far more than than just a processing station for food. As holistic dentists we examine all related and seemingly unrelated healthy conditions while analyzing the oral environment and head/neck area including: teeth, gums, airway, joints, sinuses, blood supply and jaws and even spine alignment, all as an integral parts of a larger, whole-body system. One of the foundational aspects of the interplay between the full body and the mouth is the focus on meridian tooth charts.
To understand the basic tenants of holistic dentistry, one must first understand the meridian tooth to organ chart (interactive version available on naturaldentistrycenter.com’s website or email the practice for a copy) which aligns each individual tooth to acupuncture meridians or “energy highways” that have endpoints in organs, spine vertebrae and whole body systems. Indeed, the health and structural integrity of the mouth both influence and are influenced by everything else going on in the body — from skeletal mechanics to nutritional biochemistry and the gut microbiome.
Beyond those basic tenets, there is great diversity in how holistic dentists practice their craft. They may employ a wide variety of approaches to support and improve their patient’s overall health — and historically have focused on safe amalgam removal, removal of metals and fluoride free care. But holistic dentistry is changing and evolving into being one of the most transformative medical vocations in the industry. This evolution has successfully morphed into a field known as “biological dentistry” which focuses on so much more than just metal allergies, the potential toxic effects of mercury in metal fillings and avoiding root canals.
Over the years, I have been privy to patients seeking holistic and/or biological dentist from all over the country and even the globe. Patients from as far as Hong Kong, Russia, France, Spain and just about every corner of the USA from Texas, California, to Florida have expressed why they travel so far to seek care at Natural Dentistry Center although other “holistic dentists” were available locally. I will share the knowledge and opinions from patients seeking alternative dental care from all over the world, to help local patients in Connecticut understand the proper things to consider when choosing a biological, holistic dentist and knowing what to expect.
1. Safe Amalgam Removal
Not all dentists remove amalgam using the correct protocols. The IAOMT.ORG accreditation and the S.M.A.R.T Certification program ensures your holistic dentist has been properly educated and trained to remove amalgam in the safest way possible for both you, the patient and the dental staff. In addition, ask questions and compare what the dental office does in practice, once you’ve established the training and certification is completed. While some holistic dentists train properly, they may not apply all the tools available for the maximum safety during amalgam removal procedures due the time and cost of the additional precautions. Ask about items that reduce patient and staff risks like air evacuation, alternative air source for patient, room pressure, rough burrs, respirators, air filtration and patient protection gear. At our office, we use all the aforementioned items in additional to full face shields, full head to toe suits and 3 different sources of air filtration, air suction and air evacuation.
2. Root Canal Procedures
While most dentists can agree that root canals pose minimal risk to the healthy individual with a strong immune system, opinions begin to vary among biological/holistic and conventional dentists when faced with compromised individuals and those with multiple health risks. Ask your holistic dentist to explain their view point is on root canals, and whether they perform them or recommend them to be done by an endodontist. Many of the biological dental schools like the ACIMD – American College for Integrative Medicine and Dentistry and professional holistic dental associations like IABDM.ORG and IAOMT.ORG do not promote the use of root canals and often, biological dentists that are fully holistic and biological do not perform such procedures. At Natural Dentistry, we screen every root canal for possible signs of infection and always discuss risks with patients if an abnormality is found. We take the possibility that something may “look normal” but may actually be causing a cascade of ill health effects seriously and do not dismiss the possibility that even if a root canal is tolerated by the body, it may not be benign in terms of the patient’s entire health system.
3. Biological Surgery & Grafting
Many of our patients seek us out because their local holistic dentists were not able to offer the full suite of surgical services in their office that follow biological dental surgery protocols. To better understand why that is, historically most biological dentists are general dentists, and do not train in surgery nearly as much as specialists like periodontists or oral surgeons, making them focus more on metal free, mercury free and fluoride free aspects of dentistry and less on surgeries, which often get referred out to non-holistic specialists. My interest early on in my career was to avoid referring patients to non-biological and non-holistic specialists for things like extractions, implant placement, sinus lifts, bone grafting, ridge splits and infections in the jaw. This way, I could control the entire treatment from start-to-finish and simultaneously ensure my specific biological protocols like ozone irrigation were applied and overall reduce risks of complications. Patients appreciate having less visits, less dentists to visit, more control over their treatment from a single provider and of course often time reduced amount of surgeries. The alternative population patient demand for biological surgery like ceramic implants, and autologous (this means from your own body and not from a donor) bone grafting with platelet rich fibrin (“PRF”) spent much of my early years in intensive surgical training programs and residencies in bone grafting, implant placement, full mouth reconstruction and sinus lifts to become proficient and be able to offer patients everything in a controlled surgical environment with biological protocols. This is one of the main reasons that patients near and far travel to us, in additional to our specialty in ceramic (zirconia) dental implants which few dentists in the country and internationally have expertise in. In addition, because many of our patients have autoimmune disorders our staff is trained to guide patients with issues like Lyme Disease, CHF/ME, Dysbiosis/Leaky Gut, Sjogren’s, IBS/Crohn’s and other inflammatory diseases and how they will experience surgery and healing differently than those individuals not affected by such conditions. When seeking a holistic dentist, make sure to ask what your biological dentist’s level of surgical skill is, whether he performs surgeries himself, and whether he refers out to other practitioners or has specialists come into the holistic practice. This will help you assess whether the holistic practice will meet your biological surgery needs.
4. Focus on Esthetics & Safe Cosmetic Dentistry
While one would think that all dentists are trained to restore teeth and make them look natural, nothing could be furthest from the truth. While most dentists are taught to resolve cavities and diagnose infections, only the most discerning dentists can achieve remarkable esthetics, which is often very difficult and time consuming to deliver. The patients that seek out care at Natural Dentistry, spend a lot of time researching their treatment and when they often determine they are ready to begin the journey to remediate their oral conditions with a biological dentist, they expect (as they should) beautiful and natural results. One of the biggest complaints I often hear from patients is that the dental work they had done from a holistic dentist may have resolved their issue, they didn’t like the way it looked as it didn’t look natural. Another area that is overlooked by others in the holistic arena is “safe” cosmetic dentistry which are procedures that result in transformative esthetic results yet with less risks than invasive conventional cosmetic dentistry caries. Some holistic dentists don’t support “elective” cosmetic dental work as they may not be directly related to the patient’s health status but I have a different perspective on the matter. I am not opposed to safe cosmetic elective dentistry because patient history could entail that patient has been affected by issues such as enamel hypoplasia, fluorosis, eating disorders or poor prior dental work and/or their smile causes depression, self doubt, insecurity and/or anxiety. The work I am asked to do by patients in this arena is often transformative and entails placing crowns and/or veneers. Safe cosmetic dentistry means a minimally invasive technique as in reducing the minimal natural tooth structure to save as much of the tooth structure as possible in additional to avoiding all metal (such as not using porcelain fused to metal “PFM” crowns which are esthetically poor and contain metal). My patients will receive biocompatible ceramic and esthetic materials that make crowns look life like. Similarly, for veneers use biocompatible and highly esthetic materials, minimally prepare the tooth and use the top 1% of dental laboratory technicians in the world to create a remarkable esthetic result. Even if we replace missing teeth, the goal of a restorative dentistry should be to mimic nature in beauty and the optimal biology in function for the patient. Ask your holistic dentist how they approach cosmetic dentistry, crowns, veneers, materials and which labs they use.
5. Lasers, Tissue Ties, Ozone Therapy, Sleep Apnea, Jaw Remodeling & So Much More
While holistic dentists perform the same basic dentistry as conventional dentists, like crowns and fillings, not all holistic dentists offer advanced in-office surgery, ceramic implant placement, full mouth reconstruction, anesthetic free and drill free fillings with lasers like the Solea, functional orthodontic jaw remodeling devices like the Advanced Lightwire Functional (“A.L.F.”) appliance, epinephrine free anesthetic, conscience sedation for a relaxed experience, tongue tie and frenulum tissue release, guide patients in oromyofunctional therapy, and treat periodontal issues/infections with ozone therapy.
When you seek care, make sure you spend time on the website and over the phone speaking with the office to really understand the full service offerings and the possibilities of what the office could do for your health and your wellness journey. Whether you fly across the world or drive to see a holistic dentist locally, make sure you feel at home, listened-to and warm welcomed and you’ll know you made the right decision.
For more information on biological dentistry topics, including root canals, ceramic vs titanium dental implant and jaw related infections please visit the website at: https://naturaldentistrycenter.com. If you’re interested in exploring whether Natural Dentistry is the right fit for you and your health needs, please call our new patient line at 860-554-1130 or fill out a form online and a new patient concierge will reach out to you: www.biologicalsmiledoctor.com/NewPatient