What is biological/holistic dentistry and How does it differ from the conventional approach? - Karen Berrios

What is biological/holistic dentistry and How does it differ from the conventional approach?

Biological or holistic dentistry is a type of dental care that emphasizes a treatment approach that considers your oral health in the context of your overall physical health and well-being. It is also known as biocompatible dentistry or alternative dentistry, and involves the use of non-toxic restoration materials. This type of dentistry recognizes and promotes the connection between oral health and an individual’s nutrition, immune system and nervous system. Holistic treatments are designed to be biocompatible and minimally invasive, working with your body to produce the best results and promote your overall general health.

All biological dentists have gone to dental school and have a DDS or DMD degree like a conventional dentist.  Holistic dentists also offer traditional dental services, like bi-annual cleanings, cavity fillings, and treatment for periodontal disease as well as orthodontic care.  The biggest difference between these two types of dentists is their approach to the practice of dentistry. A conventional dentist often treats symptoms, while a biological dentist tries to find the root cause of the symptom.  For example, if you have a severe TMJ disorder, a holistic dentist may look at biochemistry, diet and lifestyle, the neuromuscular function of the mouth, emotional or spiritual issues, and stress to make a diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Holistic dentists may also collaborate with other dental or medical professionals to provide treatment.  The type of materials used to treat patients is another significant difference between biological dentistry and conventional dentistry. Holistic dentists use organic, natural, and biocompatible materials that are non-toxic and safe for human consumption, whereas, conventional dentists still use toxic mercury, nickel, fluoride, and other materials that can negatively impact overall health.

Holistic dentistry may include a wide range of treatments. In general, holistic dentistry is understood to include any metal- or mercury-free treatment.  “Mercury-free” means that a dentist does not place new mercury (amalgam) fillings in a patient’s mouth. However, mercury-free dental practices also have to handle silver fillings when they need to be removed or replaced, which is where “mercury-safe” treatments become available. There are strict protocols employed to minimize the patient’s and the practitioner’s exposure to mercury vapor and particulate and prevent mercury from polluting the environment so that everyone can remain safe and healthy.  The protocols for removing mercury safely are set by the International Academy of Biological Dentistry & Medicine (IABDM) and the International Academy of Oral and Medical Toxicology  (IAOMT).  Most biological dentists are members of one or both of these organizations.  Once the mercury is removed, a biological dentist will use composite resin or ceramic fillings as a safe and natural alternative to dental mercury. The removal of amalgam fillings has become a sought-after procedure in the holistic dental industry.

Biological dentists are also concerned with biocompatibility.  By definition, biocompatibility is the interaction between a patient and a medical treatment, and evaluates the safety of those treatments for specific patients.  Factors used to determine biocompatibility include:

  • Chemicals and materials used for the treatment
  • Tissues that will be exposed during treatment
  • The duration of exposure

A biological dentist doesn’t necessarily use the same materials on each person. They typically test certain materials for compatibility before any treatment is administered.  This process ensures that a patient won’t have an allergic reaction to a procedure. A patient’s entire medical history and health status are taken into consideration before a decision is made.  It is common for your holistic dentist to use blood samples, stress assessments, and applied kinesiology for biocompatibility testing.

Another difference between conventional and biological dentists is that a biological dentist will use techniques designed to preserve the tooth and often will avoid drilling whenever possible as each time a tooth is touched by a dental procedure it can cause trauma.  Most biological dentists do not perform root canals or use fluoride.  Root canals can expose harmful bacteria to the bloodstream, and chemicals used for sterilization during the procedure may result in long-term health complications.  Holistic dentists use non-toxic materials for sterilization of the mouth, such as ozone (O3), which is simply oxygen with a third molecule.

Many health-conscious patients have discovered the adverse health effects of their previous dental treatments. Now, people are seeking help from biological dentists to repair the damage that was done in the past and prevent additional harm.  The sooner you can begin treatment with a biological dentist, the sooner you will be able to address and, hopefully, reverse any adverse health issue related to your previous dental treatments.

Now that you have a better understanding of how biological dentistry differs from conventional dentistry, we recommend you find a biological or holistic dentist near you for a consultation.  If you'd like to reach Dr Dollins office please click link here: https://www.karenberrios.com/dr-ruby-ann-dollins/

Author: Dr. Ruby Ann Dollins

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