Dentists: why should you care about “Alternative” dental approaches? Because large segments of your dental market care. In these tough economic times, it pays to know enough about these alternatives to be able to discuss them intelligently when patients ask questions about them. From a dental marketing point of view, it is imperative that you treat these questions with respect.
Do you know exactly what holistic dentistry is? How about “biological dentistry”? What about things like dental homeopathic medicine, Dental Somatic Integration™, and mercury chelation therapy?
Well, this week I’ll walk you through some of what “alternative dentistry” has to offer…
Dr. Weston Price, DDS (1870-1948) is the dentist often considered the father of the holistic dental movement. In comparing “modern” cultures with traditional, tribal peoples, he concluded that our modern diet leads to all manner of health and dental problems: caries, impacted wisdom teeth, allergies, fatigue, and even cancer. [Learn more about Dr. Weston Price]
Holistic dentistry (sometimes called “wholistic dentistry“) – like all types of holistic medicine – dictates that the patient be treated as a whole person. This view of the holistic dentist is somewhat at odds with today’s widespread concept of dentists as oral health practitioners who have little to do with the rest of the body.
Nutrition and body chemistry are key concerns of holistic dentistry. Holistic dentists may use blood tests or hair samples to monitor patients’ nutrient levels, offering nutritional supplements or dietary counseling.
Holistic medicine strives to meet the psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of its patients, helping to tap self-healing potential. It also views the whole person as deeply connected to the person’s physical and emotional environment. [Learn more about holism]
Some holistic dentists also use homeopathic medicine, which is a particular form of alternative medicine. Based on the concept of “like cures like,” homeopathic medicines are successive dilutions of a natural substance that causes symptoms similar to those the practitioner is trying to cure. [Learn more about homeopathic medicine]
Though most often practiced by chiropractors, applied kinesiology issometimes used by holistic dentists. Dental Somatic Integration™ is based on the idea that fixing tooth problems can heal pain or injury in other parts of the body. [Learn more about Dental Somatic Integration™]
TMJ patients may be offered “cranial therapy“ (also known as “cranial osteopathy” or “craniosacral therapy“) to relieve TMJ pain. This therapy involves manipulating the bones of the skull and jaw as well as the “rhythm” of the cerebrospinal fluid.
Biological dentistry focuses on using bio-compatible dental materials, acknowledging that different patients may have different biocompatibility. The biological dentist is particularly concerned with mercury and other metals used in dental restorations, both in terms of toxicity and “oral galvanism” (electrical currents generated by these metals). Biological dentists also argue that many patients have areas of decay and dead tissue, known as dental interference fields or foci. [Learn more about Biological dentistry]
Mercury-free dentistry (not quite the same thing as mercury-safe dentistry) has perhaps gained the most widespread acceptance. A number of dentists (according to our survey on mercury amalgam fillings, up to half of dentists) feel that mercury amalgam may not be a safe treatment. Most commonly, these dentists offer composite fillings instead. Some actually recommend patients have existing silver fillings removed. A few even offer chelation therapy as a way of removing toxic mercury from the body.
Want to learn more? Here are some links you may find interesting:
- Quackwatch: Stay Away from “Holistic” and “Biological” Dentists
- Holistic Dental Association
- International Academy of Biological Dentistry and Medicine (IABDM)
- National Board of Homeopathy in Dentistry
- Holistic dental articles from holisticdentist.com