People often ask me "what do you do?" When I tell them that I am a holistic dentist.The next question is what is that?
A good definition is the one given by Dr Weill. He says that "Holistic dentistry, also known as biological dentistry, takes into account a person’s entire state of physical and emotional health. Holistic dentists use natural therapies (often in combination with conventional ones) to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases of the oral cavity." This is a pretty broad definition. I find it sad that it is the definition of a certain kind of dentist. Shouldn't all dentist (and health practitioners in general) approach patient care that way?
To the above definition I would add minimally invasive to boot. Removing and replacing mercury fillings carefully. Performing root canals, preventing cavities, and gum disease. These are all things that dentists should do but most don't.
It is doing Dentistry with an eye on what you use and taking into account the whole patient.Again pretty much common sense.
In my practice we emphasize prevention strongly.That I have to mention this is just a sign of the state of dentistry. We monitor our patient's closely. I would prefer to prevent a problem than to cure one. Decay and gum disease can be prevented. They can be reversed in some situations and sometimes they have to be managed.
Diet has a huge impact on the health of the patient not to mention the oral cavity. If a patient returns and returns with decay then something in their life is not being dealt with.
Exercise, medications, life/work balance, systemic health. These are some of the things we ask about and investigate.
I guess it is a rejection of drill and fill. It is a realization that companies are out to make money that is their nature. This is not a repudiation of capitalism and this is definitely not the place I comment on the structure of economics and society. It is a statement of fact. The statement recognizes that companies are not for your betterment, but to sell you things, period. Since "I am piggy and I have the conch", The Lord of the Flies mentality prevails and the I really don't trust them to think about what they put in their products and the government seems to steer clear of regulation. I feel that people need an advocate as to what should be used.. So this is Holistic Dentist.
The other day I was talking to a patient about what to do with a loose tooth. It was a upper front tooth and she didn't want to touch the teeth on either side. The teeth that were on either side had nothing wrong with them and we didn't want to cut them down to put a bridge there. If you cut down teeth to put a bridge on, the chances of needing a Root Canal in the future goes up by 25%. We then talked about implants which are a great option if a patient wants to replace a tooth without involving adjacent teeth. The argument against is having to wear something that comes out while the implant integrates. There is a method of putting in an implant and putting on a temporary crown while the implant heals. The downside? The success rate is a little lower. We finally decided to use a Maryland Bridge. This treatment allows you to glue a fake tooth in the space the same day we took the tooth out. It is permanently glued. If you want to place an implant, the Maryland Bridge will be glued in place and when the implant is ready then the bridge can easily be removed and a temporary crown placed on the implant. Walk in with a permanent tooth walk out with a permanent tooth. The process is simple. You take an impression of the tooth that needs to come out. The lab makes the Maryland Bridge. Next appointment the tooth comes out and the bridge is cemented in place. No muss no fuss and done with a two step.