Holistic dentistry is generally considered a great approach to dentistry, but there is some confusion as to exactly what holistic dentistry entails. This short guide should help to clear up some of the confusion and explain how holistic practice differs from more conventional dentistry:
- Holistic dentists generally do not perform root canals.
Root canals are not necessarily bad, and in severe cases may be the only way to preserve a tooth. However, it is nearly impossible to remove all bacteria from the tooth. Any bacteria remaining in the tooth after the root canal space is filled can cause frequent and painful infections, often requiring painful and expensive procedures.
- Holistic dentists do not use mercury fillings.
Mercury has long been known to be highly toxic, so it’s not hard to explain why holistic dentists refuse to place the substance into the mouths of their patients. The mystery is why, with all the advances modern dentistry has made to creating alternative materials that are safe and just as durable, other dentists still use them. The good news is many holistic dentists can safely remove your mercury fillings and replace them with alternative materials, and do it without placing you at risk of unnecessary exposure.
- Most holistic dentists do not recommend high fluoride toothpastes or fluoridated water.
Recent studies have linked high levels of fluoride to bone disease and certain types of cancers and can hinder bone development. For this reason, many holistic dentists do not recommend their use. Some holistic dentists may still offer topical fluoride on the basis that it can help to strengthen teeth. Other holistic dentists do not use it at all, on the basis that such benefits are unproven and not worth the potential risks. On the whole, however, holistic dentists do not support internal use of the toxic substance through fluoridated water.
This is not an exhaustive list of ways that holistic dentistry differs from traditional dentistry, and not all holistic dentists approach every aspect of dental practice in exactly the same way. What you can be sure of is that a holistic dentist will do everything possible to practice in a way that protects not just the health of your teeth, but your overall health. If your dentist doesn’t use the holistic label, understand that does not necessarily mean holistic ideals aren’t followed. It is important to discuss all of your concerns with any dentists you see. You owe it to yourself to find a dentist who can assure you that he has your best interest at heart.