Holistic Dentistry: How Does it Differ from Regular Dental Services?
Holistic dentistry, also known as alternative or integrative dentistry, is not a new idea. In fact, the idea of treating more than a dental patient’s teeth and gums has been trumpeted for decades and has produced a lot of positive results for patients suffering from different ailments.
Let’s explore the basics of holistic dentistry and how it can benefit patients. We’ll look at its history and the impact it can have on one’s health and the environment. Additionally, we’ll reveal the truth about mercury, debunking many of the myths associated with its use in dental procedures.
What is Holistic Dentistry?
Regardless of where a dentist received their education, they learned the same methods and practices to take on the oral health needs of patients. From there, a dentist can further hone their skills to develop a speciality like implants, orthodontics dentistry (braces), and/or holistic dentistry. These specialties are the foundation for dentists to build their practice.
Holistic means that parts of something are connected to become a whole. In the world of dentistry, holistic refers to treating the whole person and considering emotional and social factors rather than simply finding a solution to symptoms.
It considers the mental state of a person who must wear braces. It focuses on the biocompatibility of materials and living tissue. It creates plans for patients that includes home care, diet and nutrition. Lastly, holistic dentistry acknowledges that dental procedures can take a physical and mental toll on a patient and does what it can to prevent recurrence, if possible.
The Benefits of Holistic Dentistry
Patients often ask us, “what’s the difference between holistic dentistry and normal dental practices?”
Patients report feeling more at ease after undergoing holistic dentistry and feel better about the methods and chemicals used to heal their gums and teeth. It also attempts to reduce the use of x-ray systems in favour of digital imagery options.
Another benefit is that clinics that practice holistic dentistry can customize treatments based on their patient’s needs, mental state and physical health. It also factors in their homelife to create a comprehensive plan so that a patient can recovery as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
Dental amalgam is a common material used to fill cavities and it has been used around the world for over a century. An amalgam is made of a combination of metals with the most prominent being liquid mercury (approximately 50%) in conjunction with an alloy made of silver, tin and copper. This is possible because the chemical properties of mercury react to that alloy in a manner that allows it to bind and form an amalgam. Most silver fillings are made from this amalgam.
To implement the dental amalgam, the dentist removes the decay with a drill and then reshapes the tooth to prepare it for placement. Then, the dentist combines the alloy with the mercury to form a putty. The putty is placed on the cavity where it solidifies into a filling rather quickly.
The reason this is important to the practice of holistic dentistry is because mercury can be toxic in large doses and cause other health issues in even small doses. Mercury is commonly used because the upfront cost is relatively low but it is more expensive in the longrun due to the health risks and environmental impact.
Environmental Impact of Dental Amalgam
There is a significant environmental impact caused by using mercury in dental amalgam. 20,000 to 30,000 tons of mercury is discharged globally into the environment every year, a portion of which is from the dental industry. 46% of the freshly powdered amalgam in used on patients with the rest being discarded. Even the disinfectants used as part of the procedure release mercury into the environment.
Frankly, clinics that heavily rely on mercury have shown a tendency to poorly manage its disposal. As part of our holistic dentistry methods, we do not use any mercury for fillings or any other dental procedure.
If you have silver fillings that used mercury amalgam, then Georgian Dental offers a service called Mercury Rescue. Evidence suggests that these fillings release trace amounts of mercury, which can be harmful to the patient.
The short-term side effects of mercury exposure include:
- Coughing and sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Increased blood pressure
- Eye irritation
- Vision problems
The long-term side effects of mercury exposure include:
- Loss of appetite
- Vision problems
Developed by Dr. Tan, Mercury Rescue helps patients eliminate the amount of mercury in their mouth to reduce the industry’s overall use of this chemical and to limit exposure. This process involves the safe removal of silver fillings and the placement of durable 3D printed biocompatible dental restorations. Once the new fillings are secure, the attention turns to providing ongoing support.
Dental Materials Compatibility Screening
At Georgian Dental, we work with a reputable and recognized Naturopathic Doctor to gauge how your body responds to a database of materials. The aim is to determine what materials react positively with your body and to use them exclusively in your oral health treatment.
This database includes a variety of materials and ingredients and the results from the compatibility screening help the staff of Georgian Dental know what materials you need to avoid, which you have a sensitivity to and which are safe for you in the procedures you need.
The test is painless and includes a blood sample. This assesses your blood antigen response against a database of 40,000 patients and hundreds of thousands of dental materials.
The goal is to find the best materials to use for your dental procedures so that you are safe and receive the care you deserve.
Half our patients have gum disease that range from moderate to severe, all of which require immediate and thorough treatment. Our holistic approach works to heal the infection while understanding that what impacted the mouth can ripple throughout the rest of your body.
All periodontal infections require treating the body. We do this by opting to use safe and effective non-surgical methods and providing nutritional support as part of the overall therapy. Recognizing that gum disease is primary cause of tooth loss in adults, the treatments provides the same efficacy as other chemical-forward treatments.
The typical treatments are at-home periodontal trays, scaling, root planning, periodontal surgery, laser gum surgery, dental implants and regular checkups to prevent gum disease. These are designed holistically with respect to procedure and after care.
Experience Holistic Dentistry for Yourself!
Patients need to decide what kind of dentistry they want. If you want procedures that consider every aspect of your well-being, from mental health to recovery, then we urge you to learn more about our approach and methods and why they provide a high standard of oral health while remembering that patients are human beings who require care and sensitivity.
Book your free no-obligation consultation today to learn more about holistic dentistry and the other services we offer to better the lives and health of our patients.