My sister’s been going to something called a holistic dentist. She keeps talking about how important it is I do the same. She gets a little weird about health sometimes and uses the oils for medicine, calling it natural. Now she’s saying this dentist is natural too. I’m worried she’s getting taken in by a quack. I don’t mind her using the oils, they won’t hurt her, but I’m concerned if she doesn’t get proper dental care it will have long term consequences. What do you think? Are they even really dentists? Will they take care of her teeth?
Hunter W. – Tennessee
I love that you’re looking out for your sister. It shows how much you love her. Let’s start by putting your mind at ease. If the dentist has a DDS or DMD by their name, they’re a dentist. A holistic dentist isn’t like a naturopathic doctor, which aren’t always doctors. Holistic dentistry is more a philosophy of treatment, but they’re actually dentists. They’ll clean and check her teeth, treat cavities, do root canals, extract and replace unsavable teeth, and do all the other things imperative for a healthy mouth.
It’s a belief that diseases of the mouth affect your overall bodily health and vice-versa. Recently, studies have shown a substantive link between gum disease and heart disease. Holistic dentists believe it’s important to avoid using harmful substances in dental care. Some dentists believe it’s all about the teeth, but if you’re using something that may help their teeth, but could negatively impact other aspects of their body it’s unacceptable.
You’ll mostly see this put into practice with dental fillings. A holistic dentist will not place an amalgam (ie. silver) filling. Why not? Because they’re made mostly of mercury. Sure they’ll fill the cavity and help your tooth, but mercury is a known toxic substance. Why introduce it into your body when we have a much safer, healthier, and I would add a more effective option with composite (white) fillings.
You may also find they are more determined to save natural tooth structure. While some dentists are perfectly fine with extracting and replacing teeth, a holistic dentist will strive to keep the natural tooth for as long as possible.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kasia Lopez.