A biological dentist, also known as a holistic dentist, takes a more natural approach to dental care, considering the whole body and how dental treatments can affect it. These dentists often use alternative materials for fillings and other restorations, and they may also incorporate nutritional counseling and other natural therapies into their practices.
Now, you might be wondering if holistic dentistry is legitimate. While some aspects of holistic dentistry may be controversial, such as the use of alternative materials or the belief in the oral-systemic connection, there is evidence to support some of the practices used by holistic dentists.
For example, many people are sensitive to traditional amalgam fillings, which contain mercury, and may benefit from alternative materials like composite resin or porcelain. Additionally, there is growing evidence to support the idea that poor oral health can contribute to systemic health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
A healthier mouth leads to a healthier life
Many people are aware of the health benefits of exercising, eating right, and avoiding destructive habits like smoking, but few realize that proper care of teeth provides all-round health benefits. In fact, studies suggest that people who practice proper oral health live longer than those who lose their teeth by an average of 6.3 years.
Research has also linked the loss of teeth due to gum disease to diabetes, heart disease, and preterm births, among other health problems.
Another study reported that 40% of individuals with serious gum disease were also at a high risk of having a chronic condition. The bacteria that bring about tooth decay can also cause damage to other areas of your body, which makes your oral cavity a true indicator of your general health.
Principles of Biological dentistry: Pros and Cons
Biological dentistry, also known as holistic dentistry, is a type of dental practice that takes into account the whole body’s health, not just the oral cavity.
Its key principles include the use of:
- Biocompatible materials
- Minimally invasive procedures, and the
- Recognition of the connection between oral health and overall health.
Biological dentists believe that oral health can affect the body’s overall health, and vice versa. They may also use alternative approaches such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and nutrition to promote healing.
Benefits of holistic dental practices
- The use of biocompatible materials that reduce the risk of allergic reactions or toxicities
- Minimally invasive procedures that preserve natural teeth,
- The overall recognition of the connection between oral and overall health.
Risks associated with holistic dental practices
- Use of non-conventional treatments that lack scientific evidence
- Risk of incomplete removal of infected or damaged tissue during minimally invasive procedures.
It is important for patients to discuss their concerns and preferences with their dentist, and to research the credentials and experience of any dentist practicing holistic dentistry.
Holistic dentistry for optimal oral care
With the assistance of a holistic dentist, you can manage your health problems, in addition to getting your teeth fixed. Unlike traditional dentists, holistic dentists provide overall patient care, including physical, emotional and mental health.
Early detection of oral problems
One of the key benefits of holistic or biological dentistry is that it bases its treatment options on ongoing research, which is increasingly showing considerable health benefits tied to maintaining oral health. For instance, an experienced dentist can easily detect periodontitis, an infection that has been associated with diabetes and 91% of patients with heart disease.
Treatments geared at improving your general health as well
Holistic dentists know that your mouth can affect your body when bacteria build up on your teeth making your gums prone to infection. As such, they ensure that you understand this correlation, as well as the importance of holistic dentistry treatments to achieve both oral and general health.
Manage migraine headaches
Your dentist can also help to ease some forms of migraine headaches. Holistic dental practices, such as TMJ therapy and craniosacral therapy, have been known to help alleviate crippling headaches in some patients. Additionally, some biological dentists may take a more comprehensive approach to patient care, addressing potential underlying causes of migraines such as sleep disorders or nutritional deficiencies.
Mercury-free dental fillings
In addition, biological dentistry does not support the use of mercury amalgam fillings due to the potential long-term effect they could have on the patient’s body. Instead, holistic dentists provide services for the removal of amalgam fillings.
Preparing for your first visit with a biological dentist
What to expect during your initial consultation
During your first visit with a biological dentist, expect to undergo a thorough examination of your dental and medical history, a full examination of your mouth, and possibly diagnostic tests like X-rays.
The dentist will use this information to create a personalized treatment plan that takes into account your individual needs and goals.
Your biological dentist may also discuss with you their holistic approach to dentistry, including their use of alternative materials and treatments.
Questions to ask your biological dentist
To ensure you are comfortable with your biological dentist and their approach, you may want to ask some questions during your consultation, such as:
- What specific holistic approaches do you use in your practice?
- How do you approach preventive care?
- What are your qualifications and experience in biological dentistry?
- Do you have any recommendations for natural remedies to support dental health?
Preparing for any necessary treatments or procedures
If your biological dentist recommends any treatments or procedures, ask them to explain the procedures and any potential risks or benefits. You may also want to ask about the use of anesthesia or sedation during the procedure.
Additionally, you should ask about any special preparations you should make before the treatment, such as dietary changes or medication adjustments.
Make sure to follow any instructions given to you by your biological dentist to ensure a successful and safe procedure.
What to look for in a biological dentist
When searching for a biological dentist, it is important to consider several factors to ensure that you find a qualified practitioner who aligns with your values and priorities.
A. Credentials and qualifications
Look for dentists who have completed specialized training in biological or holistic dentistry. Some may have additional certifications or memberships in professional organizations, such as the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.
B. Range of services offered
Biological dentists often offer a wide range of services beyond traditional dentistry, such as nutritional counseling, detoxification protocols, and biocompatibility testing for dental materials. Consider what services are important to you and ensure that the dentist you choose offers them.
C. Use of alternative materials and treatments
Biological dentists may use alternative materials such as ceramic, zirconia, or composite resin for fillings and crowns, and may also offer ozone therapy, laser dentistry, and other alternative treatments. Ask about their approach to amalgam removal, as well as their use of fluoride and other potentially harmful substances.
D. Reviews and patient testimonials
Look for feedback from previous patients to gain insight into the dentist’s skills, bedside manner, and overall patient experience. Check online reviews and ask for referrals from friends and family who have had positive experiences with a biological dentist.
Overall, finding a qualified and experienced biological dentist can take some research and due diligence, but it can be a worthwhile investment in your dental and overall health.
How to find a holistic dentist near you
There is no definitive list of dentists who take the holistic approach to oral health, since there are no American dental schools that offer holistic dentistry as a course. Practitioners who prefer to offer alternative treatment options must attend numerous hours of classes at multiple centers across the nation.
The recommended way to find a biological dentist in DC is to check the list of active members provided in the websites of organizations that attend to their concerns, and then find out their specific clinical methodology and services offered to determine whether or not they suit your needs.
To find a biological dentist who aligns with your values and priorities for dental care, then a typical process may include:
- Searching online for biological dentists in your area – You can use search engines or specialized directories to find dentists who promote themselves as practicing holistic dentistry.
- Checking directories of holistic healthcare practitioners, as many biological dentists are likely to be listed there.
- Asking for recommendations from friends and family who may have experience with biological dentistry
- Contacting local dental associations for referrals.
It is clear that the body and mouth have a strong relation. Holistic dentistry treatments seek to address these concerns using alternative approaches, and by following these steps, you can find a biological dentist near you who can provide your family with the natural, whole-body approach to dental care that you’re looking for.