Monday, 22 June 2015

Are All Holistic Dentists Equal?

Is there a difference between holistic dentists?  The short answer is yes.  While there are many areas of concern in holistic dentistry, some holistic dentists focus on only a few of these areas. Others try to address many or all of them.  These areas of concern include but are not limited to:

  • The use of mercury in dental silver amalgam and the potential negative effects of mercury on a patient’s health.

Dental material compatibility, which is unique to each individual and needs to be tested.  If the patient has an allergic response or any sensitivity to a dental material, it should never be used in restorations.

  • The use of dissimilar metals in the presence of an electrolyte (saliva), which causes a small electrical current. There is some evidence that this electrical current may have negative effects on health.
  • The systemic cause and effect of chronic inflammation, connective tissue breakdown and excess free calcium, all of which are associated with disease including periodontal disease (also known as gum disease or pyorrhea) and heart disease. There is evidence that poor oral health can increase risk of heart attack by 2.5 times.
  • The cause and effect of acidic saliva and its connection to dental disease and other systemic health problems.  If the saliva is acidic, the body’s chemistry is out of balance and this can contribute to disease.
  • The presence of a biofilm (a film of microorganisms including bacteria and fungi, also known as plaque) and its relationship to periodontal disease that damages the gum tissue and the jawbone supporting the teeth. There is special concern relating to routine treatment of infected periodontal pockets with antibiotics, since bacterial resistance to the antibiotics is increasing.
  • The presence of a biofilm associated with abscessed teeth. This bacterial infection can spread to dentinal tubules in root canal treated teeth and potentially harm systemic health.
  • The role of stress in TMJ, which is characterized by degenerative joint disease of the jaw, tooth grinding, headaches and facial pain.
  • Malocclusions, or a dysfunctional bite, that cause worn teeth and cracked or broken teeth.  This condition leads to increased need for crowns, root canal therapy and eventually to tooth loss and resulting bridgework, implants and dentures.
  • Areas of decreased bone density in the jaw’s bone marrow, called “cavitations.” These cavitations may be associated with poorly healing extraction sites or other areas of decreased blood flow in the jaws and are sometimes sources of facial pain.

The quality of the dental care and treatment provided by holistic dentists can vary significantly.  There is no set of rules or requirements necessary for a dentist to be a holistic.  So patients must be good consumers and educate themselves prior to making a choice.

 

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