The term holistic dentistry is used to describe dentistry which takes an integrated approach to dental care by incorporating alternative, biologic dental care. This approach takes into account one’s oral health and how it relates to the rest of the body and its systems. Not only does a holistic dentist look at how treatment affects the mouth, but how it might impact one’s overall health. We see you as a total person, not just a set of teeth and gums.
To accomplish this, we screen for impact on other areas of the body that might be dysfunctional or affect the mouth and create a treatment plan which suits your unique needs as an individual and what suits you best biologically. This is because your physical health can impact the mouth and treatment received. So whatever treatment is used for the oral structure is evaluated for its impact on the whole body. The aim of holistic dentistry is to work side by side with the biologic systems to support your overall health. Our goal is not to simply address a dental issue but to protect your long-term health in the process.
Holistic dentists not only have accredited dental degrees but also have additional training taking into account the whole-body systems. There are traditional methods of dental treatment that use materials which can leave behind toxic substances, so with holistic dentistry, we strive to minimize this as much as possible by working with the body’s natural healing systems.
Wherever possible we rely on biocompatible materials that are body-friendly. We also run in-office tests to learn which materials you might be sensitive to and encourage using dietary improvements to help protect the immune system, benefiting both the mouth and the whole body.
What this means for our patients is forgoing mercury amalgam fillings and restorations which use mixed-metals that might react negatively to the body. Mercury-silver amalgam dental fillings emit mercury vapor which is then inhaled into the bloodstream and lungs and absorbed by the body. Holistic dentists prefer using composite, or white dental fillings which are not only healthier for the body but also naturally blend in with the teeth.
While the American Dental Association and official government agencies continue to advocate using amalgam fillings asserting that they only release small, safe levels of mercury, holistic dentists are concerned that mercury is still toxic even in tiny amounts, resulting in adverse conditions to the body. And the concern is valid. For example, mercury can affect one’s organs, including the kidneys, lungs, liver, and brain, resulting in a weakened immune system. Not only that, but forensic autopsies have shown a connection between mercury levels in brain tissue and the amount of mercury amalgam fillings a body has. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease has been connected to the level of mercury in the brain. In addition, mercury amalgam can cause mood swings and impact one’s personality.
Traditional dentistry initially operated on the premise that mercury was not released into the mouth. Later, it was determined that the amount was so low that it wasn’t negatively impacting the patient’s health. But the issue lies with tolerance levels. Patients have varying degrees of tolerance to toxins, so what might affect one adversely may not affect the next patient. In effect, holistic dentists support those who might be highly sensitive to their environment and help protect their overall health.
Another issue with metal fillings, such as gold, is the electrical current produced between it and a nearby amalgam filling. Picture having a battery in your mouth, and your saliva is an electrolyte which helps generate the current. If you happen to be sensitive to electricity, then you may experience health issues including insomnia, hair loss, exhaustion, lightheadedness, or bone pains, to name a few.
Dentists who still support the use of amalgam fillings point out that they last longer than composites. But the problem is, they also place excessive pressure on the affected tooth which ends up weakening the tooth’s structure. So sometimes the filling is still going strong when the tooth itself deteriorates. Proponents of amalgam fillings point out that they are easier to place than a composite filling and is often covered by insurance, that doesn’t help those who have a sensitivity to the metal. For all these reasons, holistic dentists use mercury-free white or zirconium fillings when treating cavities in our patients.
But mercury fillings aren’t the only thing that sets apart holistic dentists from their traditional dental counterparts. When it comes to saving a tooth from requiring extraction, root canal therapy has long been used as a common method of saving a tooth ravaged by decay and is close to dying. Holistic dentists assert that to work effectively, the canal must be sterilized completely and left bacteria free. However, studies have proven that it’s not possible to sterilize the canal 100%. Not to mention that the cleaning agents used to sterilize the canal, including formaldehyde and chloroform, are toxic themselves. Any whatever bacteria left behind harms the body over time, potentially contributing to cardiovascular disease or breast cancer. For this reason, holistic dentists prefer extracting the damaged tooth.
Another area of dentistry which sets apart holistic dentistry from traditional dentistry is the use of fluoride treatment to fortify tooth enamel against decay. Fluoride is typically applied directly to the teeth or taken internally via fluoridated drinking water or ingesting fluoride drops. But research suggests that fluoride doesn’t come without risk to the body. Taking fluoride internally contribute to a weakening of the bones and even cancer. In addition, over-fluoridation has been linked to fluorosis (white spots on the teeth).
We are pleased to offer minimally invasive procedures to help preserve a tooth’s structure and facilitate the healing process. One of the ways we do this, along with other restorative options is by using ozone therapy. This also helps us minimize the use of antibiotics, and and the very least, keep it as a last resort. You can learn more about how we use ozone therapy in our practice here.
Overall, when you visit a holistic dentist, you can be sure that a) we are here to help your oral health thrive and b) are here to support your whole body in the process. To facilitate this, we have in-office tests to determine the biocompatibility of the treatments and tools used and may offer options like homeopathy and vitamin C to help heal the system after an invasive surgical dental procedure. Our goal is to ensure that the treatment is safe and minimize potential side effects.
If you would like to have our dentist, Dr. Julia Gorelik and our team treat your oral health issues, we invite you to call 704-553-1627 with the confidence that we will be looking at your overall health and well-being. At Gorelik Dentistry, we look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve in Charlotte, North Carolina.