Did you know there are around 8 dental practices in Kenmore but only one holistic Kenmore dentist? Each dentist will essentially work in a very similar fashion but all will have different approaches and philosophies when it comes to their style of dentistry.
One of the biggest differences in philosophy occurs between traditional and holistic dentists.
The word holistic is not a reflection of the practices and techniques, but of an overall philosophy of the role of oral care. Truly holistic dentists will educate patients on the importance of overall health and how dentistry can play a role in wellbeing.
A holistic dentist will also aim to perform dentistry that is good for the body as well as the teeth and gums.
As a holistic dentist, my philosophies may be quite different from the dentist just around the corner in Kenmore but the techniques, methods and treatments that I provide are essentially the same.
As a holistic dentist, I believe that what goes into your mouth can affect your entire body and therefore only use composite filling materials as well as different more biological materials for other procedures such as root canal and crown and bridge work than a traditional dentist might.
I also believe that how you are with your body will also affect your teeth and gums as I understand the impact of lifestyle, diet, and illness and disease have on your oral health.
Because I choose a holistic approach I do not use amalgam mercury fillings or advocate the ingestion of fluoride. I understand the importance of adhering to strict protocols to ensure that my dental team, my patients and I are not inadvertently exposed to mercury during our treatment procedures.
In addition, I aim to educate and empower my patients to make the best lifestyle choices for their oral health and overall wellbeing.
What do these holistic philosophies look like in day to do general dental practice?
I do not use mercury fillings (dental amalgam) as even though traditional dentistry advocates that mercury amalgam fillings are safe, long lasting and hard wearing I am deeply concerned by the high mercury content of amalgam. Mercury is a toxin and even small amounts present a risk to the body and your overall health. So I choose not to use amalgam and follow strict safety guidelines and protocols for removal of amalgam mercury fillings.
Another difference arises when it comes to my thoughts on root canal therapy. Root canal therapy is recommended as a technique to be able to “save” a tooth that has suffered severe decay, has died or is beginning to die. The root canal is seen as a technique that has been proven safe and effective as a means to keep a natural tooth. However many holistic dentists do not typically recommend or perform root canal as there are research studies that show that it is impossible to completely sterilise the canal of bacteria which can lead to adverse health effects. There are also concerns that some chemicals used for sterilisation and filling the canal are toxic.
For me, the jury is still out on this subject and I do continue to perform root canal treatment where appropriate under the guidelines set out by IAOMT using materials that are more biocompatible and thus less toxic.
You will not find any fluoride treatments in my practice and nor do I advocate ingesting fluoride, yes there is research that indicates it decreases decay rates in areas where the water is fluoridated, however, there is research linking ingested fluoride to cancer, thyroid conditions and various bone problems while other research has shown no benefit to the teeth from ingested fluoride.
Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis and I feel that fluoridating public water supplies is enforced medication of the general public and therefore is a questionable practice from an ethical viewpoint.
Some holistic dentists are for topical fluoride and some are against it, in my opinion, this one comes down to personal choice – personally, I prefer a non-fluoridated toothpaste as I grew up in a fluoridated area and now also live in one since Brisbane added it to the water supply a few years ago.
Traditional dentistry could be seen as treating the symptoms in the teeth and gums and attempting to prevent such problems from reoccurring.
Holistic dentistry, on the other hand, focuses on treating the underlying problems that cause symptoms in the mouth so as to eliminate those problems and thus prevent the symptoms from reoccurring, while ensuring the work done in the mouth does not have an adverse effect on your overall health.
For me, the true differences between holistic dentistry and traditional dentistry come down to our philosophy and approach to patient care with one taking care of the teeth and gums and the other applying a whole body approach.
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