Holistic dentistry, also known as biological dentistry, aims to deliver comprehensive care by considering your oral health needs as well as your overall health and wellness.
Whereas a traditional dentist typically focuses on providing the right solution for a specific problem, a holistic dentist will treat the problem at hand and go one step further to identify the factors that contributed to its development, as well as any steps you can take to prevent its recurrence.
The fundamental concept behind holistic dentistry is that your oral health is not separate from your overall health, and vice versa.
Here at Smiles of Atlanta, we believe it’s impossible to maintain optimal oral health without considering other important aspects of your health and well-being. That’s why we’re proud to offer holistic dentistry to patients of all ages.
What is holistic dentistry?
Holistic dentists are highly educated on the effects that good oral health has on the rest of your body, as well as how certain physical and mental conditions can impact your oral health.
To some extent, all dentists understand that maintaining good oral health is important to preserving your overall physical health. It’s commonly understood, for example, that patients with gum disease have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Similarly, most traditional dentists understand that patients who are prone to depression are more likely to go through periods of time when their oral health habits aren’t as good.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a traditional dentist will touch on these issues during routine cleanings and exams.
By comparison, a holistic dentist strives to get to know the whole patient, not simply piece together information about their oral health from an exam and previous dental history.
This means that in addition to offering regular cleanings and exams, holistic dentists spend time providing comprehensive consultations that cover your complete medical history and lifestyle, including what your diet is like, whether or not you smoke, and how much you exercise.
What are holistic dental practices?
Although holistic dentistry employs many of the same treatment approaches as traditional dentistry — both use fillings to treat cavities, for example — holistic dentistry is committed to avoiding toxic materials, even in small amounts.
For example, a true holistic dentist won’t use amalgam fillings, which contain mercury. Even though amalgam fillings are easier to place and typically last longer than composite fillings, which are tooth-colored resins, holistic dentists won’t put any amount of mercury in their patients’ bodies -- even if the American Dental Association and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration both say that fillings that contain mercury are stable and safe.
Here at Smiles of Atlanta, we haven’t used amalgam filling materials that contain mercury for more than three decades. What’s more, we only use composite resin fillings that are BPA-free, to help limit our patients’ exposure to this known hormone disruptor.
Holistic dental practices also extend to the methods used when removing and replacing older amalgam fillings. Although traditional dentists do take some precautions to prevent their patients from exposure to mercury during the removal process, holistic dentists make it a top priority.
At Smiles of Atlanta, we use a rubber dam to isolate the tooth with the amalgam filling, provide a nasal hood with oxygen, and use high-volume suction to remove any mercury vapors that may escape during the removal process.
What else does holistic dentistry touch on?
Holistic dentistry considers how far-reaching certain lifestyle decisions can be on both your overall health and your oral health. To that end, you can expect to discuss your lifestyle habits, including your nutritional habits, sleep habits, and exercise habits.
At Smiles of Atlanta, we’re not going to simply tell you that smoking isn’t good for your health — you already know that anyway, right? What we’ll do instead is educate you on the exact ways that smoking impacts your overall health and your oral health, and we’ll help you find the support and the tools you need to stop smoking for good.
Holistic dentistry emphasizes optimal nutrition and helps patients understand what a healthy diet looks like, and which nutrients are most important to good oral and health. This includes the inclusion of vitamin and mineral supplementation, such as:
- D-3 and calcium, for teeth and bone strength
- K-2, which offers many oral health benefits, including strengthening your dental immune system and preventing gum disease
- Magnesium, which aids the body’s absorption of calcium for strong bones and teeth
- B complex (especially for women), not enough vitamin B can result in bad breath and mouth sores
- Probiotics, which helps prevent leaky gut, improve digestion
We also recognize the Importance of proper body PH Biocompatibility of dental materials, and understand how maintaining a healthy body weight reduces your risk of obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic condition that’s linked to cardiovascular disease.
Because patients with diabetes are more prone to gum disease, holistic dentistry emphasizes optimal preventive care measures and more frequent checkups.
If you have questions about holistic dentistry, or if you’re looking for a dentist who can partner with your primary care physician, come and see us at Smiles of Atlanta. Call our office today, or make an appointment using our convenient online booking tool.