Holistic Dentistry: Methods for the “Alternative Dentist”

Holistic dentist: alternative dentistryDentists: 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]

Dr. Price also campaigned passionately against root canals, arguing that they leaked bacteria and other toxic materials into the body. To this day, many a holistic dentist opposes root canal therapy.

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:

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

  • Your readers may be interested in the role that the father of modern day PR, Bernays, had in the acceptance of fluoridated toothpaste here:


    You are right. Many dentists get extremely irate with their patients who refuse fluoride. Many dentists ridicule these patients on the internet. Some in person. This isn’t the greatest of marketing tool in these economic times. And it never was clever professional attitude.

  • Also check out http://www.IAOMT.org. It is an organization based on scientific evidence for each of its postulations.

    Good job on the article, Jim. There is indeed a demand from the public for this type of dentistry.

  • The farther I have gone along in dentistry the more I learn about the individuality of each patient: how a healthy orognathic system appears and functions, the oral:systemic connection, i.e. how developing periodontal health can improve blood panel markers as well as how their general health can influence that of their mouth. Also, attitudinal differencew that can influence treatment within the above parameters either positively or negatively. In other words, if your interest in your patient, driven by an innate curiosity to learn about the essentials of oral and general health takes you beyond being “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,” it places you into a more holistic paradigm. I don’t know if I’m a holistic dentist or if there is a proper word for what I do, but it prompted me several years ago to develop a website with all articles authored by me to allow anyone interested in my outlook on dentistry to gain a heads up before they make their new patient appointment. One of the articles is entitled “Holistic Dentistry” that explains how I view the word, which I preface with a dictionary definition of the word itself. I receive lots of new patients through the website and have zero no shows for their first appointment with a pre-paid reservation fee. Ask any dentist what the most frequently missed appointment is and they’ll tell you that it’s the new patient appointment. I believe that this is the most important appointment of all, as it sets the stage for all that lies ahead. Many have typed holistic, alternative, etc., as I don’t think even they know what to call what they want – they want something different from “oral health practitioners who have little to do with the rest of the body,” as many of them have had problems with even “good dentistry” that didn’t regard their uniqunesses with subsequent problems. They make great patients, never miss an appointment as they have been given the time to be heard and then educated, therefore we become partners in their health with mutually agreed upon developed goals rather than “a crown in operatory 2”

  • D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

    Doctors can certainly mislead themselves as well as patients if they stray from science.

    Bloodletting was a profitable fad for hundreds of years.

  • Nutrition and a strong, intact immune system are integral to both common sense and healthy dentistry. Practitioners of Biological and Holistic dentistry have always been ahead of the learning curve beyond their fellow colleagues who are for the most part, unfortunately, bound by clinical dogma.

    Excellent comments follow great posts and Dr. McBride (above) provides sage advice on the topic. For those who are listening, his suggestion to obtain a commitment BEFORE the initial appointment is sheer genius, on several levels.

    Readers, visit his website on Holistic Dentistry!

    BTW, the website you mention above, Quackwatch, is operated and written by a shill for Big Pharma. It/he is but one of many efforts to dissuade the public from understanding or accessing healthy medicine and to continue the flow of billions into his masters’ coffers.

    John Barremore
    Houston, TX

  • My name is Karl Muzikar, DDS. I graduated from UCSF in 1984 and I have been practicing chairside restorative dentistry 50 hours per week for 25 years.

    I am in the camp of Dr. Pruitt: What is profitable may not be actually in the best interests of each patient. When patients come to me with ideas that are “on the fringe”, I often let them give me their spiel and if I believe that I am causing no harm, then I will go along with the “fringe treatment” that they ask for. If I believe that they are postponing the inevitable, then I will not allow them to waste their money in my office.

    For example, a patient presented with a parulis on the buccal of #19 where the prior dentist had just placed a crown. The radiograph showed a 1 cm PAR and there was frank pus oozing out from the margins (perio/endo complication). I referred the patient to an endodontist, but he told me that he was self-treating the situation with “colloidial silver therapy”. He said he would return to the prior dentist instead of an endodontist and a year later he returned with a new crown and a 2 cm PAR ! Even though I did not agree his “fringe approach”, I didn’t insult him or talk down to him about it. I did talk to him about “evidence based dentistry” and pointed out to him that his “colloidial silver therapy” apparently doesn’t fit into this category. I recommended again that he see an endodontist as the prior dentist is not addressing the issue no matter how many times he changes the crown.

    As health practicioners we also have to be careful not to direct patients to “fringe approaches” because in court they will as what another “prudent dentist” would do in a like situation (even if the patient consented to “fringe treatment”). Nobody needs a malpractice suit that cannot be defended by expert witnesses just to make a little money off the “fringe patients”. The question that I always ask is whether this is what I would want to do for myself or my wife. If you can answer that question positively then you are probably on the right track.

  • Again, I cannot accept at face value the statement of John Barremore because he doesn’t even state who he is or what is the foundation of his assertion: “Quackwatch, is operated and written by a shill for Big Pharma.” How does he know this and who is Big Pharma? He’s got some explaining to do before I would entertain his comments as grist for the mill. Karl J. Muzikar, DDS

  • When it comes to Holistic or Biological dentistry, don’t forget the Cavitations that are performed in jaw bones where supposedly there is a loci of infection dwelling unseen by panoramic film. The holistic dentist will drill in with a slow speed while the assistant irrigates and sometimes there may be a spcialist in Jhin Shin Jhitsu who holds the patient’s hand and who is then able to tell the dentist which way to drill! These cavitations are used to help cure such things as cancer,chronic fatigue sydrome and multiple sclerosis. It is preying on people that Western medicine has not been able to help.

  • Hi Karl,

    Allow me to introduce myself (again). My name is John Barremore. I’m an SEO and Web Master and I live and work in Houston, TX helping dentists all over The United States make better use of the Internet.

    FYI, Big Pharma refers to the “pharmaceutical industry” at large and it’s disproportionate influence over the FDA, the CDC, the media and the overall diminishing health of Americans.

    If you’re interested, there’s plenty of information available about Quackwatch. Please take some time to research the topic for yourself. Here’s a few sites to get you started.

    QuackWatch – Fraud Site funded by Pharmaceutical Companies

    Quackbusters Overview

    Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch Exposed

    QuackWatch, A Shill for the AMA

    Thanks for listening,

    John Barremore, SEO
    Houston, TX

  • In order to compete in today’s dental market, dentists need to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Alternative dental approaches are one way to distinguish yourself.

  • I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed at once. They gave me local anesthesia during the surgery. My wisdom teeth were impacted into the jaw. The surgery itself wasn’t painful, it’s the week after that’s most painful lol. My cheeks blew up to the size of softballs.

  • can anyone tell me how popular holistic dentistry is here in united kingdom – i can’t locate anyone near me ( canterbury )and to be honest i don’t even know if it’s practised over here in blighty.

  • here you go emma – there is a list of the best dentists in canterbury near where you live – check them out to see if there is a holistic dentist near you.

  • It is sure that as dentsist knows about it they will gain more customers and besides these can also be as effective as what treatments they do……

  • Marketing is all about catering to one’s audience, and I think you’re right, that a dentist opening up his mind and possibilities can gain more clients and reputation.

  • Great post and some excellent comments. There’s hope for our profession yet!

    Joe 😀

  • I like the new direction that dentistry has taken over the past few years especially. There can only be new discoveries and better practices with research and I’m glad more and more people are going against the norm when it comes to dentistry and expanding their knowledge.

    Keep up the good work

  • Nice topic and concept. I’ve been agree to a holistic dentist also.

  • It is great to alternatives to raise peoples awareness. Research, Research, do your research. The web is a wonderful place, there is such a vast amount of information. It is great to see such an abundance of good topics, but with that said, Remember, That anything can get posted online. Just because it is on the web doesn’t make it fact, right or wrong. Research, question, learn.

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