Did you look at the title and asked yourself what is a holistic dentist? If you did, you had my same reaction. I have never heard those two words together until recently when I read an article in Experience Life magazine called A Different Kind of Dentistry by Kristin Ohlson. In the article she discussed the beliefs of a holistic dentist, their difference from a conventional dentist and the disagreement between the two. Quotes and facts in this article come from her original article.
Holistic vs. Conventional Dentist
All holistic dentists have also earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and many were conventional dentists before deciding to become holistic with additional training. But exactly what the additional training is, it is up to the practitioner. I did a quick online search and there is the Holistic Dental Association but no specific degree to become one. Therefore, the additional training to become one is left up to the individual. Holistic dentists look at how teeth, gums and jaws affect the whole body and they reject widely accepted procedures such as root canals and amalgam “silver” fillings.
They might ask about other health conditions, about stress, about sleep to see if any of these are causing the problem in the mouth. Steve Green, DDS, a dentist in Miami, FL says “Disease is always multifunctional. When someone comes to me with a toothache, I see two problems. One, there’s a sick tooth. And two, the patient is rundown. A healthy person can carry a sick tooth for years, but if they go through a divorce or lose a job, their immune system suffers, and the tooth quickly becomes intolerable.”
While dentist remove healthy teeth to make space for straightening misaligned teeth, holistic dentists try to avoid the removal by using expansion and realignment methods to create space in an overcrowded mouth. When using braces and retainers they may use alternative material and designs to avoid the carcinogenic properties of nickel. They avoid “silver” cavity fillings, which can contain up to 50% mercury, because various studies have shown that the mercury can leach into the body. They avoid root canal, where an infected tooth is stripped of its nerve and pulp and then sealed, as they say it is impossible to sterilize the interior of the affected tooth and therefore it can harbor bacteria. For those that argue that the conventional methods and material are safe, they respond that smoking and asbestos were also once considered safe.
Will I Switch Dentist?
I like that holistic dentists look at the bigger picture when it comes to tooth ache, and not at just fixing the visible issue. Will I stop going to my dentist? I don’t think I will stop going to a conventional dentist yet, but if I ever need fillings or braces I will for sure ask for other materials; and if I am ever told I need a root canal, I now know I have other options to avoid it. If you are ready to try a holistic dentist visit the Holistic Dental Association website at www.holisticdental.org and talk to various dentists to see which one has the beliefs and studies that you agree with.
About the Author
Aris Akavan, ACE certified Personal Trainer & Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, is owner of Body Fitness by Aris. Her mission is to assist others in leading a healthier lifestyle by balancing exercise and proper eating habits to achieve the ultimate body & mind wellness. Aris leads by example as she practices what she preaches. She leads an alcohol free and smoke free lifestyle and has worked out while following proper nutrition practices for over 10 years. In the last few years she also started participating in 5k races, adventure runs and triathlons. You can visit Aris at any of her following: